Creative Example

earthDiane Sherlock, good friend and my co-author of Write to Be Heard, posted an interesting article a few weeks ago. In it, she looks to Genesis for the biblical account of creation, and finds three clear steps: separation, organization, and naming.

If I may be so bold, I’d like to add to her thoughts a bit on this. And, if you haven’t had a chance to read her article yet, you should do that now. You may want to bookmark her blog as well. She has some great insights.

Separate: On the first day, God separated the light from the dark. In the first days of writing, we separate good ideas from the bad. We explore which ideas will have a place in our novels, and those that won’t. Which will fit our themes, and which are better suited for another work.

Organize: On the second day, God created the sky. He organized the water into two levels, one above, the other below. Once our ideas have formed, we need to figure out where they’ll come in the novel. At what point will your character have his or her epiphany? When will the climax occur? Do you have plots within plots? When should you reveal the skeleton in the closet? Should you relay the story chronologically? The organization of these details can have a profound impact on your story or novel.

Naming: After creation and organization, God ascribes names to what he’s created—light and dark become “day” and “night.” The vault separating the waters He called “sky.” Of course, the most obvious things in our novels that require names are our characters. However, we also have the task of naming towns and streets, cities and continents, perhaps even worlds if we’re writing science-fiction or fantasy. Names are very important. Lastly, you’ll need to name your novel or story. I’ll suggest that you come up with the title after the story is written. You’ll have a better idea of what themes played out, which ideas are the strongest, and you can select a title that serves the work, rather than the work serving the title. Hope that makes sense.

Incidentally, one of the first jobs God gives Adam is the naming of the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. A cool job, to be sure. As writers, we should take our job of naming seriously as well.

12 Comments on Creative Example

  1. I really like this analogy. However, sometimes as writers the process of separating the good ideas from the bad takes as long as the entire writing process. Can this plot point work? Can I write this secondary character out? Does this idea work with the world I’ve established?
    I find myself doing this a lot. Sometimes you just have to go back and clean up before moving forward.
    As for the organizing, that can also take a while. Sometimes your characters surprise you, and the story ends up going somewhere you didn’t plan. Don’t panic–that’s a good thing. You want the story to develop on its own. You should guide that development, of course, but don’t forget to give the plot and characters room to have a little fun. You might suddenly have an inspiration that works so much nicer than what you had planned.
    Naturally, the name is the most important part of any work. I don’t want to admit how many times I’ve changed the title of my novel, and I’m still not happy with it. I only titled it because it felt wrong not to call the story something other than “my story”.
    Write well, write often.

  2. Katelyn Haeckel | November 14, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Reply

    I sort of plan out my stories. Most of the time i just write whatever comes to mind, then go back and organize it later

  3. When I write my stories I usually plan it out a little before I start writing the whole story. I usually come up with the title before I start writing my story. I like doing that way because I get to plan the story off of the title that I thought of.

  4. Haha, when I write I do kind of feel like a god. I have total control over everything in my world, and writing allows me to express that world on paper. Anyone else feel like a sociopath?

  5. There are so many names where no one but the author knows how to pronounce, also when you name the girl Sam? in real life that might be fine but not in a book where the charector’s gender can be confused.

  6. I don’t really have any sort of structure, i just kind of go at it, which probably doesn’t make me the strongest writer.

  7. I never plan out anything in my stories, it takes me a few days to a week to put all of my random jumbled thoughts and idea into something. The story i am currently writing has taken me a few months and im only on page two. I love writing the feeling of not knowing what will come next.

  8. So basically, good writers are God. Rad. This is a good analogy for writing and made me thing more about how I should “craft” my writing.

  9. Miranda Almeida | December 4, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Reply

    I love the Biblical reference and how it applies to writing stories. I’ve never thought of it like this before. It is important to take the steps of separation, organization, and naming in stories, but sometimes writers take those steps without even realizing it. If we as writers are more conscious in taking these specific steps, it will help enhance our overall writing skills.

  10. I seem to always day dream alot and this is just what ive thought put into words haha. In our own worlds we create we create what we want deep down and personally i believe that storys are day dreams just writen down.

  11. Jake David Van Dusen | December 6, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply

    For me, i usually realize ideas are bad or cliche after i re read my work. In the beginning i do figure out what i want the story to become, but like i have commented on in a previous blog is that i never know what the middle of the story is going to be i only know how i want it to end. sometimes when i am writing i will be half way through a scene and realize that it either will not connect to what i have planned or that it just isn’t something that would happen in the story and it seems far fetched.

  12. Most of my storys I write are based off of my dreams, and in our sleep state our minds are all over the place, so I have to do alot of ‘cleaning up’ on my ideas and sepurating, then I will write an outline and then write my story. So I do think I relate to this post in my writing.

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