?dark? ?(4????Punk Abstraction? ????? ?? ???Rating: 4.5 (44 Ratings)??538 Grabs Today. 26786 Total Grabs.
??????Preview?? | ??Get the Code?? ?? ???????????? ????Easy Install Instructions:???1. Copy the Code??2. Log in to your Blogger account and go to "Manage Layout" from the Blogger Da BLOGGER TEMPLATES AND TWITTER BACKGROUNDS ?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Social or personal?

Depending on how you pursue it, creativity can be a social or a private experience. It can be an activity you engage in with a huge group of friends, or one which you would only attempt in the privacy of your own home. It all depends on what your interests are, and what your personality is like.
My two biggest passions encompass both ends of the spectrum. Acting for the theater is, obviously, an extremely social activity. Even if you're in a one-man show, you are working closely with the crew and staff of the theater. And one-man shows aren't common--more often you're in a cast with at least a few other actors. Writing, on the other hand, tends to be a very personal engagement. You sit at your computer or notebook and put your thoughts on paper (or word document), usually in solitude.
However, being the social creature that I am, my writing is much less solitary than it could be. When I'm cultivating a new story idea, one of my favorite steps is sharing the idea with my family members and seeing how they respond to it. Sometimes I'll hand out copies of the first chapter of my latest work-in-progress and let my parents and brother "beta test" the story for me. And when I finish a story, I often read it aloud to my little brother, to see for myself which parts make him laugh or catch his interest.
There's other ways to make social a very personal activity like writing--for instance, I know of writing groups or clubs where authors will get together and share their latest masterpieces with each other, looking for feedback and constructive criticism. I knew a writer who wanted everyone who read her novels to fill out long, involved questionnaires about what they thought of them. There's online communities where you can post poetry and stories and get feedback from around the world.
In this last half a year or so, I've had the opportunity to experience social writing in another form. A fellow writer who is a very dear friend of mine and I decided to do a collaboration and write a novel together. It's been an amazing journey--my co-author is much more experienced than me, both in writing and in marketing finished stories, but the method with which she tackles her writing is similar to my own. We work well together.
When we started out, neither of us had any preconceptions about what the story would be about. My co-author proposed that we write a sci-fi novel, and I agreed--I tend towards the fantasy genre, but I'd been wanting to try out sci-fi for awhile anyway. She suggested that we both agree on a setting and a few major plot points, then go off and separately create a few characters. Then, without much set-up, we'd jump right into the writing section.
This is by no means the only way to do a collaboration. I'm sure there are as many methods for working with another author as their are authors. But this method worked for us, as we both tend to focus on our characters when we write (as opposed to focusing on either the plot or the setting) and we wanted our story to be mostly a character study.
We sat down and discussed the basic fabric of the story, and within a few hours we'd come up with our conflict and setting. We decided how many characters were needed, and what kind. Then we disbanded and spent some time working on our separate characters--she created one, and I created two. We exchanged the basic information about our characters (name, job, appearance, etc.)--the kind of stuff the characters would already need to know about each other--and without further ado, began to write.
We took turns writing sections for the story. She would do a few scenes, then email me her piece; I would write a few scenes, and send it back; and so on. Sometimes we would write 20,000 words within a week; sometimes the story would remain untouched for a month. We both wanted to remain unpressured, so we made sure not to rush each other--this was a fun side project, not our jobs, and we both had lots of stuff going on outside the story. We took our time and let the characters develop at their own pace.
The key element I want to stress here is communication. That was what made this work so well, in my opinion. It sounds obvious, but there you go. :P We constantly were sitting down together and having conversations like: Me: "I know we need to have such-and-such happen soon...do you want to write that scene, or should I?" Co-author: "I've got to finish up my scene with so-and-so, then you can write it, if it'll fit into your section." Me: "Sure--I just have to make sure I work in this other such-and-such, so my section might run a little long." And so on. We weren't territorial about our characters--even though I created and oversaw the main parts involving Characters A and B, my co-author wrote them into her scenes frequently, and vice versa. And we were careful to check with each other to make sure we were writing each others' characters the way they wanted.
Anyway, the point is, we're coming up to the final stretch of writing here. The climax has been and gone, and we're working on the big finish now. Once the actual writing is completed, my co-author will edit it thoroughly (she loves editing), we'll make our re-writes, and then beta-test it on our family members and friends. After that, it'll fall to me to do most of the marketing. It's been a ton of fun writing with someone else, and we're planning to do more collaborations in the future.
Oh...and I forgot to mention that my co-author doubles as my mom. :P Hey, my passion for writing had to come from somewhere, right?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spotlight on theater: Much Ado About Nothing

Tomorrow and Saturday evening, I'll be attending a live theater event which, if you're in the area, you won't want to miss out on.
Heartland Actors' Repertory Theatre is returning for their second year at White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis in an event called Shakespeare in the Park. This year's production will be William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. There will be two performances at 8:30 on Friday and Saturday evening (July 31st and August 1st.) It's an outdoor event, so bring your trappings for a picnic. The best part is that it's absolutely FREE! No cost for admission--just sit yourself down and enjoy the show.
I attended last year's production of The Merchant of Venice, and I was absolutely astounded. The acting was truly incredible. I was in tears at one point. Despite the fact that I was unfamiliar with the play, I had no trouble following the storyline--the cast expertly interpreted Shakespeare's sometimes-tricky-to-understand language and made it effortless for the audience to do the same.
I'm personally accquainted with several of the cast and crew members in this year's production. I've taken theater classes with the actors playing Margaret, Leonato, Don John, and Claudio, and I've met the director. I can vouch for all of them-- they're talented AND great to work with. Which, as we all know, are both equally important when it comes to theater.
So anyway, if you're in the area and have an evening free, this would be a great way to spend it. Incidentally, here's the page for White River State Park, which also has directions from different sides of town: www.in.gov/whiteriver/
Keep creating!


www.dictionary.com defines “creativity” as such:
“The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination: the need for creativity in modern industry; creativity in the performing arts.”
I’ve taken classes from an actress who has a unique way of tackling a script. When she’s given her lines, she goes through them one by one and marks every word that interests her, that she’s unfamiliar with, or that seems important. Then she takes the first word she marked and looks it up in four or five dictionaries—starting with a modern dictionary, and working her way back until she’s using an old English dictionary. She methodically finds every possible definition for the word in question, and looks at how each different definition might affect her reading. She does this for every word she’s marked—it’s her way of finding complex, intricate layers in the language of the script.
I can’t claim that I looked up the word “creativity” in five different dictionaries, but I did search around a little bit, and this was by far my favorite definition. There’s a lot going on in just those few little sentences.
“The ability to transcend traditional ideas” is a good beginning. Looking past the “norm” of the world around us isn’t creativity in it of itself, but it’s certainly the first step. Living by the guidelines that society (and tradition) have set up for us can be difficult enough without the added challenge of seeing around those guidelines. I also love the word “transcend.” I mean, come on, that’s just a rockin’ awesome word.
But the second part of that sentence is the meat of this definition: “to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.” This is what creativity is all about—creating a story out of nothing but your own thoughts; weaving an image on a canvas that, before, was nothing but a white blank; strumming a chord on a guitar and choosing words to accompany it. Creating something out of nothing, something that needs to be shared with the world.
And the word “meaningful” jumps out at us, too. Creativity doesn’t have to mean taking on the Big Questions, or the current issue of the moment. Creativity doesn’t have to leave the audience with tears in their eyes, or walking away murmuring, “That was so powerful.” What creativity does have to be is personal. Maybe you’re writing a story about bananas that go to the moon, but if that’s what means something to you, it’s creative. And maybe you do tackle Big Questions, but that’s because they mean something to you. Creativity has to be meaningful—not necessarily to the intended audience (if there is one), but to the creator.
Which brings me to this blog.
I’m a seventeen-year-old who is growing up in the Midwest of America. I’m an aspiring actress/teacher/author who spends a lot of time in community theaters, in my room writing fantasy stories, and making up silly games based on tv shows with my little brother. All three are equally important to me—all three are ways that I am creative. I also spend some time making animated music videos and playing the cello—these are also ways that I express myself.
How are you creative? I can’t begin to imagine. There are a multitude of ways to be creative. Maybe you write music, or dance, or make programs to teach people how to do their job. Maybe you’re creative in ways I’m not even aware exist. However you express yourself, I’d love to hear about it.
So I’m bringing my story to the web. I’m going to express myself in a new way: by writing daily (or as often as I can) updates about what I’m doing to express my imagination. When I audition for a show or get a part in a play, I’ll write about that. When I’m working on a new story or a new music video, I’ll share that with you, too. I might interview people I know who express themselves in unique ways, or review shows, books, songs, etc. that I’ve seen/read/heard. Maybe sometime I’ll write about going vintage clothes shopping with my aunt, because that’s a way that I express myself, too, believe it or not. :P
But the point is, I want this to work both ways. The fun of a blog, I think, is that it’s an open communication. You can read my story, but I can also read yours. Share your blog links here, share your stories, share yourselves. This is all about creativity, and I want to know how other people pursue it.
So to conclude this inaugural post, welcome one and all, and I hope to hear from you soon. :)