Writing A Novel: Loves Of Life

Writing A Novel: Loves Of Life

Today’s exercise in the process of writing a novel is another notecard project. This time, the question requires you to probe deep inside to fond times in life. It should be a good exercise.  If you’re not in the process of writing, maybe this will help, too, in the process of self-discovery and reflection.

Go buy several stacks of 3 x 5 notecards and keep them with you where ever you go.

Go buy several stacks of 3 x 5 notecards and keep them with you where ever you go.

The question is simple:

Who have you been in love with and how did they affect your life?

I’ve been asking readers to take out a stack of 4′ x 6′ notecards in doing these exercises and write down thoughts that come to mind. I’m in the process of writing a novel and these lists, like the ones we’ve been working on the past month, are going to hopefully come in helpful when I get to a point where I’m doing character sketches and needing to add meat to the bones of my characters so they’re realistic, life like and sincere.

At heart, I’ve always been a romantic and hopeful for true love. Unfortunately, throughout much of life, I’ve had a hard time finding it for one reason or another. Moving because my dad was in the air force didn’t help. We moved from one place to another and back again constantly, meaning I got good at getting to know people and starting relationships, but not getting to fulfill them or engage in them long term.  Yeah, that has made for a lot of later pain in my life. But it seems the more the days pass I find that those who didn’t move as much as I did have had their own share of similar issues, so maybe that really isn’t it.

But back to the exercise of the day.  Who have you been in love with? How did they affect your life?  You can add another set of cards for defining what love means to you.  That should take you through several days of reflection.  And remember, this isn’t something you need to do for five minutes and be done with. Each of these cards and questions for them are something one can do over time and will be much more helpful and powerful if it’s done that way.  Remember, life is a marathon, and so is writing a novel. They don’t just pop up out of no where and write themselves. It takes lots of time, effort and thought. Story is a metaphor for life, says Robert McKee. And so goes this exercise.


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This is an image of the tree line from the new County Road 510 Bridge near Marquette, Michigan.


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Donald J. Claxton | The Timberlander, a selfie from camping for 13 weeks in 2022 on the Claxton family land in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, northwest of Marquette.

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