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Becoming a Novelist



My first friends, a boy and a girl were figments of my four-year-old imagination. My mother labeled them imaginary friends, more accurately however; they served as my first push to discover a storyteller side of my personality. They were fully formed characters.  After hearing radio dramas, with my dad, I decided this would be a way to get my friends’ tales out. Using a portable tape recorder, I used to record adventures for them filled with romance, adventure, and lots of conflict.

Sometimes the stories went so long, I’d talk all the way to the end, and then have to flip the cassette over to continue. I was never savvy enough to realize when space was running out on a side, so the transitions were constantly rough. Though this was a concern of mine, but I chose not to talk to my classmates or anyone else about this activity, so the recordings remained flawed in execution. However, the passion of exploring motivations and minutiae of life through storytelling has stayed with me my entire life.

The passion for creating scenarios took on a new level one afternoon a year later because of a stomachache. My kind father took me to the movies to try to help me feel better. At the multiplex, I cried and couldn’t sit still, but somehow the visuals stirred my mind. I became convinced my destiny was on the screen. While I had remained silent about the auditory adventures I had conceived, my voice was a permanent marker to inform others becoming a film director was going to be my life’s work. I convinced myself nothing would ever sway me from it. 

My goal of a future career in the film industry became all-consuming. However, when I learned through various film magazines and behind the scenes specials, how long a film took from page to premiere, I never thought I’d have the patience for it. I had quit little league baseball, soccer, and various other activities so trying to convince others and myself the practicality that somehow being a filmmaker would show them I turn this lack of perseverance thing around was an exercise in futility. 

The answer to all the worries came to me when I decided learn the martial arts to defend myself against a growing number of bullies. From the very first day, karate started to awaken a new part of me. I was never the most skilled student, but I enjoyed every minute of class. Just learning how to use my mind and find balance on one foot and within myself. It also planted the seeds of confidence and patience to improve. The determination for self-improvement had gone from foundation, to a place filled with walls to protect me from others’ opinions. Two years in, my mind had built a place where there were windows to see my future, and a door to venture out and grab it.

A decade later while a college junior at Franklin Pierce, I had invited a friend, a flesh and blood one this time to help me tell a story. We had worked well together on a documentary for a class project, so I asked him to join in my quest to make a feature film on our campus. Eventually, we recruited two hundred and twenty-five other people to help us deliver a movie that we felt could move others. It took two years of hard work, and a lot of patience that I had learned in karate to take us ‘from page to premiere’. The greatest moment in my life up to that point was watching the end result play with a full audience in the school cafeteria.

The film never got into any film festivals, and Hollywood didn’t come knocking on my door. Instead, I took a job at a video store to work while I figured out my next move. Not long after I started, I made friends with a co-worker named Rob. When I told him that I was a filmmaker, he wanted to see the movie. I must admit I was pretty nervous feeling that he wouldn’t like it. When he brought it back, not only did he enjoy it, he convinced me to make another.

With him starring, and one-hundred and sixty plus people from across New England performing in front of or behind the camera, I directed this second film. At the premiere years later, one of the people in attendance was a singer on the soundtrack. We struck up a friendship and some time later, he introduced me to an editor via the web. I sent a query to her for a screenplay I had written. She immediately took a liking to it and invited me to send the script on as well.

She enjoyed the story greatly but encouraged me to turn it into a novel and promised to guide me through the process. I realized that writing a novel did share some traits with filmmaking. Laying out a scene on a page was like figuring out where the camera or the focus would be, how you would direct your characters’ actions, and the general mood of each moment, etc. Over the course of the year that followed, we worked on seven drafts of the story. Plus it was very beneficial to have someone reining me back in when I’d go off too far on a certain aspect of a story, as I had on those cassettes many years earlier.

Eventually, the manuscript went out into the world to find a home. While the rejections started to pour in, I got involved with yoga. Similar to karate, with the use of balance and focus, I was centered once again. Though the rejections pile was growing by the day, I never let it get me down for too long. Ultimately, the novel found the perfect place to launch from, MuseItUp Publishing. Being an author for them has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I like to think those three sides of my personality; my love for storytelling, abilities as a filmmaker, along with patience brought on by karate and yoga helped me to become a novelist. This equilateral journey of self-discovery led me to give you Isosceles.    

About the Author: 
While this is his first novel, he wrote and directed a dramatic feature, co-wrote and directed a documentary and wrote for an online magazine. He’s also a trained voice, stage, and screen actor. In addition to his creative pursuits, he is passionate about healthy living. He follows a mostly self-directed fitness quest consisting of weight training, walking, swimming, yoga, and hula hooping. When not working out, he also enjoys cooking healthy gourmet meals as well as playing board games with family and friends with plenty of coffee brewing to keep the fun going until the wee hours of the morning.

You can find out more about Scott R. Caseley, his novel and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at http://tinyurl.com/c85xoz4



3 comments:

  1. Hi Jo,

    Thank you very much for the spot on your blog to tell my journey of 'becoming a novelist'.

    Scott

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very welcome. All the best with your book.

      Delete
  2. Wonderful guest post and inspiring. Thank you Jo for hosting Scott R. Caseley on your site.

    Scott, I used to talk to imaginary friends too. I never thought about recording our adventures though. I did write down the songs we made up however. I have a few still.

    Looking forward to seeing what both of you dream up next.

    ReplyDelete

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