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It’s How I Roll

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I’ve been doing this whole “author thing” now for a couple of years, more or less. Lately, I’ve become very much tied-in with the many on-line writer’s communities on the Internet/Social Media. It has afforded me the opportunity to see how others are creating their individual works, as well as to get some critically needed feedback on my own work. (By the way, working alone is wonderful but occasionally it’s nice to get a “reality check” from others out there.) here are a few things I’ve discovered about my own creative process:

1) I write cinematically. What does that mean? No, I am not writing screenplays/scripts for Hollywood. What it means is that I write what I see in my mind’s eye. If you have learned anything about me through these disparate writings, it is that I have been involved in photography most of my life. From early Brownie cameras, to the old C110 Instamatics, to 35mm still film (Color and B&W), to 16mm motion picture film, all the way up to Digital Betacam, I have been involved in recording life and the world in still or moving images. I have learned that when I write, I do so as if I am shooting a movie. The story plays out in my head and I just record in words what I am seeing and hearing. I don’t know if anyone else writes like this but it seems to work for me.

2) I paint with words. Weird when I realized this, because one of my early influences in my film/television career was Gregg Toland, the cinematographer responsible for, among other films, CITIZEN KANE. His great written work was titled PAINTING WITH LIGHT and it influenced how I approached my visual work. It is also how I approach writing. When a painter prepares to create a painting, they don’t sit down and just start slapping paint on canvas. They sketch out the work first. When they get it the way they want it, then comes the palette and the paints. This is how I write. My first draft is nowhere near to what the finished product will be. It’s the “pencil-and-charcoal” sketch at the very beginning, the preliminary attempts to get an idea of what picture I am going to paint and what it is going to look like in the end. Once I have that where I want it, then comes the “paint”. I have approximately 92,000 words written on my first novel. Or, I should say, I have 92,000 “pencil-and-charcoal lines” sketched in. When I get it in the general form I want, then will come the real work. Then come the adjectives, the adverbs, the color, and life of the story.

I’m not sure any of that will make any sense to anyone other than me. If it does, I’d like to hear from you. If anything, I am gaining new insights every day into how my mind works as I pursue this little thing called WRITING.



  1. Harry M VanHoudnos III says:

    I hear what you are saying! For me, when I write, I see the chapters in my minds eye, as I do them on MS word before I either print them out, or post the chapter on a site like or, if I am working on a chapter for Code Ragnarok, Twisting the Hellmouth. In fact, sometimes, I have ideas for chapters before I even WRITE THEM!


  2. Musings from a writer's life says:

    I write cinematically too 🙂 and for me it has to be written chronologically – like I would see a real movie.


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