NURTURING ARTISTIC TALENT takes many forms. Photography provides a creative outlet for me that can often work wonders to alleviate writer’s block. When I do the things I love–traveling, hiking, gardening–I can drift toward a more zen-like state which makes writing more likely to happen. The ways we tend to our creativity know no bounds. Today’s guest Rick Pipito is here to offer some words of wisdom on the topic.
Nurturing Artistic Talent
Artistic talent comes in many forms, and fortunately I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in most of them. My life in Philadelphia has enabled me to meet some amazing talent along the way. Music, art, and movies have always played an important role in my life, but my main focus over the past few years has been my own writing.
What inspires me to write? All of the above. I am a musician at heart, so I’ve been writing songs with bands for more than half of my life now, but the ideas in my head expanded beyond that. Now, as I turn my ideas into stories, my style has slight hints of influence from various external sources.
As a child, I’d sit in my room for hours. My brother and I would have comic books scattered across the floor, and while he (being the artist that he is) would look at the pictures, I was interested in the plotlines. A good story always captivated me, and while the art was always fun to see, it was how the characters acted and spoke that grabbed my attention. I wanted to know because when we’d play with our action figures, I needed to know exactly how someone like Spider-man would handle a situation. Was he sarcastic? Was he mean? What kind of a personality did he have? Those were questions I needed to know, and that is what helped me to develop the scenarios that Dan (my brother) and I would set with our figures.
As time went by and I grew out of the comic book phase, I kept wanting to connect with characters, but became more focused on plot. Movies did this for me. I didn’t necessarily want spoilers, but needed to know the hows, whys, and whens of story progress. The characters set up a scenario, and you knew that the good guys would usually win, but how did it all happen? I took particular liking to stories where I cared about the characters that were put in these situations.
When movies hadn’t been enough to fulfill my craving for extraordinary situations, I began reading. My mother is a Stephen King fan, so I began there. It took me a book or two to like reading, but once I found the type of novel that I enjoyed, I couldn’t put them down. It had evolved from characters and plots to mystery, suspense, horror and action. I wanted it all, and couldn’t get enough. From Bob Mayer to Dan Brown to Dean Koontz, I had an arsenal with which to discover more.
It was because of this that the next logical step beyond music was for me to write. I approach writing with an amalgamation of what I learned:
1) My characters need to be relatable. I want them to be so that the reader can either see themselves in the characters’ shoes, or know someone that they could see with that personality. I want people to love or hate a character with no holds barred. It is this connection that makes step 2 work.
2) The scenario and setting of the story has to be threatening to certain characters. And what about all of the mysteries of the past? Things like Easter Island, The Garden of Eden, King Arthur, and the disappearance of Amelia Earhart are but a few of the intriguing moments in history. I strive to explain or extrapolate on these events, while having the audience want to know more. Why does this work? Because like me, the reader wants to know a “potential” explanation; even if it is fiction. Hours and hours of research can be tedious to make these things work, but it all pays off in the end because I feel I’ve done it right.
3) Having a beginning and an ending to each book is necessary. I’m talking beyond the pages. Sure, a book has a front and back cover, but what if it is a series? I want someone to be able to pick up book 3 in my series, and be able to understand what is happening, even if they haven’t read book 1 or 2. To do this, each book needs to focus on one thing, and at the end of that book, that one thing needs to be concluded. Then I add a little teaser as to what’s to come; like a cliffhanger. It makes the reader go, “Oh, there’s going to be a new direction. I wonder what will happen next.” In this way, I can bring in new readers at any point, and keep the old ones at the same time.
These are the main ingredients with a sprinkle of other techniques here and there that I think captivate my audience, and me. At the end of the day I write for me. I think about what I’d like to see on screen, or read and that’s what I go for. The bonus to it all is the fan feedback. Whether it is positive or negative, I take it all in, and strive to better myself.
My first book gained me a big audience, and it has grown since. Heck, the first book’s reaction is why I decided to do a spinoff series, but in comic book form. From there, my brother and I formed sCrypt Comics to expand my stories and his art, in conjunction with other people’s talents.
Life itself is the biggest influence in everything that we do, and this is evident especially in writing. I admire the talent of my fellow writers, musicians, foodies and artists. If I can impress that same influence on just one other person, then it is all worth it. Tune in for lots of great things I’ve got in the works. I promise that this is just the beginning of a long and wonderful journey.
What steps have you taken to make sure you are nurturing your artistic talent?
Rick Pipito is an author, on air personality, and musician from Philadelphia, PA. His ever popular FLESH AND LEFTOVERS horror series has placed him in to the top 25 of independent authors on authors data base. He also worked with his brother to form sCrypt Comics, where he strives to help other indy artists and writers by creating graphic novel spinoffs of his main books. In addition to his writing, Rick is also the CEO of Homemade Delish, a place where all foodies can go to follow his wife’s amazing talents. Follow Rick on Twitter and instagram @Rickpipito. Check out Scrypt Comics.
His works can be purchased in print at Lulu or for Kindle at Amazon.
Permission must be granted by Rick Pipito to use the author image in this post. The featured book cover is for promotional purposes only and complies with fair use guidelines.
NOW AVAILABLE: Please check out my latest proofreading project Claudia Must Die by T.B. Markinson and my latest copy editing project Stealing Time by KJ Waters. She also just released a calendar Men of Steel Featuring Models From Blondie’s Custom Book Covers.
Wow… Very nice story. In telling the story about yourself it provides an example of story telling. 🙂 Anyway, nice to meet you! As for nurturing my own creative talents I purchased a semi-professional camera and I am working on a cook book with my husband, and of course still writing the blog.
Thanks, Cheryl. Do you have a link to your work? I’m always interested in seeing other people’s talents. My wife is a major foodie, so I can relate. 🙂 Best wishes.
Seems to me that if one can craft such an artful story about their own journey, then they already have a pretty good start:) Pleased to meet you in this space. In terms of nurturing artistic talent, I write something every day even if it is unrelated to the novel I am crafting. It could be part of another one day. Though I love and appreciate photography, I am not a good photographer myself!
Jacquie, I agree. I think everyone has a story that is worth telling, and it all adds to one’s own creativity. Whether you believe you are a good photographer or not, I hope you still take plenty of pictures if you love it. That one picture out of a thousand could be the one that everyone talks about. 🙂 Good luck!
I, too, have an artistic background. Although I’m a slow reader, I’ve been reading since I was 4 years old. My mom is an abid reader and just couldn’t imagine her two kids not reading, so she worked with us as toddlers until we were sitting around reading Golden Books. I was in the church choir at the age of 5 and was playing instruments by the time I was 8. I wish I was good with a paint brush, but I’m just fair for an amateur.
Rick, you childhood sounds a lot like my brothers. He had a small ‘club house’ in the backyard chalked full of comic books.
Glynis, there are classes around that I think run about 20 bucks a pop where you have a glass of wine with friends and paint. It is a social thing, but becoming huge (at least in Philadelphia). Even the people who believe they are the worst of painters actually create some really beautiful things. You should check it out in your spare time if they have it near you. Thanks for the comment.
I think you make a good point that creativity can come from all kinds of aspects of life, rather than just sitting down and forcing yourself to write. But I think your second point, about needing conflict is really the heart of a novel. And yet when one becomes wrapped up in character development, and you want to show their everyday life, then conflict can be hard to maintain. This is more the case in character driven novels, but the opposite can be true in plot driven books.You can have the best plot in the world , but as you say if people can’t relate to the characters then who cares? Balance is the key, in both fiction and life, and the hardest thing to find sometimes. Thanks for an interesting post.
Couldn’t have said it better, A.K.. I made mistakes in my first novel, and as popular as it became I still look back and realize how my writing has evolved for the better. Thank you for your input 🙂
Enjoyed reading your thoughts on writing and nurturing your creativity, Rick. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks Michael. Coming from a man who has similar tastes in genres that means a lot. 🙂
Thanks for all your great advice. It gives me hope to keep writing! Good luck in your future endeavors ! I love to listen to Music when I write. I also like to write in the library and at home. It is quiet and peaceful at both places. However, I am always down to learn from fellow artists about what gets their creative juices flowing.
Crystal, never give up hope to keep writing. Every great writer has their doubts or feels like it’s all for naught sometimes. Music is a great avenue for creativity. It inspires. I also enjoy writing in the quiet atmosphere of a library, though I can get that at home late at night, so that’s my office. Keep up the good work. And if you are interested (and Jeri allows) here is a link to my personal soundcloud page where you can enjoy some of my original music. It’s fitting for someone who likes to listen. 🙂 https://soundcloud.com/everyonelovesmahoney
Hi Rick, Nice to see you here on Jeri’s blog. I really appreciate your sharing your tips and techniques on how you captivate an audience. I too can appreciate a book where the characters are relatable and you end up really caring about what happens to them. In fact you don’t want to put the book down because you just have to find out what is going to happen to them in the next chapter. Now that is what makes a good book to me. 🙂
Thank you, Susan. I’ve read plenty of books where I just can’t put it down. I know I’ve had that effect on some people as well, so I’m happy to be a part of Jeri’s blog for this article 🙂
I didn’t know I had an artistic bent of mind, may be because I didn’t possess that big a vocabulary till I felt a connection to music, nature, photography and characters. I can understand now why I felt drawn towards these. Had I got the right opportunities, I could have been a photographer or a musician!
You are so right Rick, as a reader I feel that the characters should be able to speak to me, win my love, sympathy or hatred. I like such characters who become a part of my journey while I am reading. Yes, how they handle the situations they are placed in, makes a good story! You understand the readers so well! You must be a good writer! Nice to know you! Thanks for sharing some wonderful tips.
I’m blushing. Thank you, Balroop. In my mind a character that is unrelatable to the audience isn’t worth keeping around for good story telling. Even minor characters need some sort of connection to the real world. Keep reading!
I found it so interesting to hear that Rick’s desire to read came after he found that movies didn’t always inspire him enough. That’s encouraging to me when I wonder if my kids will love to read as much as I do. Even if they love movies more now, they may grow to love reading more later. This is such an inspiring topic, and I think we all can relate to wanting to nurture our creativity a little more. Sneak peak: that’s actually the topic of the ebook I’m working on. You’ve certainly inspired me to get back to writing it!
Hi Meredith! What’s the ebook called? I’d like to check it out when you finish. As far as your kids reading it is just a matter of finding the right topic for them. My brother, like I said, never liked to read a whole lot, but he loved movies. It wasn’t until I started writing about things that interested us both and presented it to him, that he actually got into it. The way I write is the way I picture things on a screen in a tv show or movie, at least visually. Bob Mayer is an author that did that for me. I start reading one of his books and can’t put it down. Thanks for the compliment and comments.
There are so many things that I feel contribute to your growth as an artist, no matter what your particular form of expression is, that I sometimes feel overwhelmed in not being able to read all the books I want to read or see all the movies I want to seem, etc.
Not enough time in a day, eh, Ken? I know the feeling. lol.
This was a terrific guest post, Rick, and thank you for sharing him with us. My first Stephen King book I read was The Stand…so, I got off on the right foot with him 🙂 I like two things especially that you mentioned – the love/hate relationship in characters (I also don’t want any of them to be safe from being written out of the series). And that your book series allows a reader to pick up in the middle and know exactly what is going on. The best of luck to you in the future, Rick! 🙂
Thank you, Mike. The Stand is one of his best IMHO. I really enjoy making it not safe for characters. It makes it more realistic to me. Any “hero” can meet a horrible fate, and I like the twists that leave a reader going, “What the hell just happened? I can’t believe it.”
What mesmerized me about this post was the author’s ability to bring on the creativity in a progressive way… Starting early with the comics moving forward into the films’ realms and then going straight into the books themselves…
I particularly agree with Pipito’s words when he states firstly that ‘the characters need to be relatable’. And further on that ‘Having a beginning and an ending to each book is necessary… Probably to fulfill the bookish writing experience and to guarantee it (even before it’s written, hence creatively speaking: in advance)
I really enjoyed the feature, Jeri… Thank you very much for sharing.
Have a great week!!!, Aquileana 🙂
Aquileana, in response to your progressive comment about writing, I do believe there is an evolution to any great aspiring writer. I’m sure even Stephen King has moments where he still says, “I can do this better” based on past experience. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. 🙂
Great introduction to an interesting young writer. I see many similarities between writing and sculpturing – in both you constantly add and subtract and then once you have the form the way you want it, you begin the polishing. Don’t really think of nurturing, other than posting pieces on Wattpad, a free site where you get lots of feedback from other writer and readers! Best of luck with your writing RIck! Jan
Hi Jan, I never thought of the similarities between writing and sculpturing, but I see it now thanks to you. I guess all art should be approached in the same manner. Thanks for your input.
This was a great piece and inspired me to continue pushing towards finishing my book. Just one question though Rick: Did the book build your audience or did you have an audience before hand? How did you get the word out or did people just purchase your awesome words? 🙂
Anyway, I really enjoyed this perspective. Thanks for giving us another great guest post, Jeri!
I’m glad I can be an inspiration. Thank you. I had no audience when I started. Social media helped, and the fact that I had word of mouth from friends. My wife has certain celebrity pull as well, so recently I’ve had quite the influx of people taking interest, which helps. But from the beginning it was all word of mouth. Over time it grew, yet still not to the top of the sky where I’m aiming. 🙂
Jeri, I wanted to thank you again for having me guest post. I’m happy that the article has gained such great reaction and inspiration. 🙂
Rick, it’s great to have you here and my readers are some of best in the support they offer 🙂
I can see that. You’ve got some great followers 🙂
My first love was music and I have a degree in piano. Music permeates my days although I no longer play professionally. I love all the fine arts. I have some very nice paintings and other pieces which enrich my life as does attending concerts and plays and operas. I love to read and appreciate many different styles. In my own writing, I try to keep in mind the interests of my audience and hope to enrich others’ lives.
That should be the goal of any great writer. Nice words, Beth. Keep up the great work.
Hi Rick and Jeri – nurturing my artistic talents, hmmm. Right now I am learning all I can about blogging, how to make posts interesting and how to take good photos to add. Once I’m satisfied with that, I’ll move on to the next phase which will be promotion. Thanks for sharing this info. Helps with the learning part.
Lenie, I wish you the best. Promotion is the next phase, but you don’t have to wait to start it. You can do a pre-promotion of sorts if you begin spreading the word about what you are planning to do before actually completing the product you are trying to sell (in this case your blog). You’d be surprised how much support you can get just through social media alone. 🙂
In particular, I found the story of you with the comic books analyzing the plotlines to be of interest! It was like a mini story within the post about storytelling 🙂
Christy, I found it amusing myself when I finally thought about my inspirations dating back to childhood. The art always caught me in comics sure, but I was more interested in knowing how they’d exist in the “real” world, so I guess that’s where my need to know came in. haha. Thanks.
Inspiring and I could relate to spending hours in his room as a child except I was by myself and painting. I began as an artist and somewhere long the like shifted to writing. Now I’m trying to find my way back to painting again.
Marquita, I wish you the best with the painting and writing. 🙂
These are all insightful observations, especially about the setting. That had never occurred to me! It does make it more intriguing right away if a character isn’t at home, or in hiding. You know something’s in the works, and the reader wants to see it unfold. You learn about a character by the way they respond and behave in tight situations, so that’s another plus. And who doesn’t relate to being in a hostile environment at one point or another??? Wise advice!
Thank you, Krystyna. When I work on settings I began by using places where I was familiar with the surroundings. Philadelphia, Florida, Brazil, Canada, etc were all places I’ve been. Then I of course created my vision of places like Heaven, Hell, Eden, and Atlantis. I think that as a writer, we can best portray a place by describing what we’ve seen in person. When I ran out of places that I’ve been I began asking friends who’ve been elsewhere: London, Spain, etc… Glad you enjoyed the article.
At the moment I am trying to nurture my blogging skills…besides that I love to read!
Best of luck with the blog, Noelle, and keep reading! 🙂
Great post and Congrats on your writing successes! I think it’s great that you and your brother could combine your talents to create your sCrypt Comics.
One of my favorite quotes is, “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” Henry David Thoreau
My life experiences, travel, cooking, it all plays a role in my writing. All books carry some truth regarding the author. When I run into writer’s block, I get back to reading. It’s always been the best teacher for me. I can see the do’s and don’ts, and it triggers an idea.
Denise, thank you. I do the same thing. When I come into writers block I start reading. It gets me motivated with creativity. Best wishes to you:)
Hi Jeri! Here’s wishing you and yours a terrific Thanksgiving!
Phil, right back at you! Gobble, gobble!
One thing I do is allow myself to be creative in more than one way. Sometimes I rearrange furniture or my entire home. The more imagination I use, the more I have.
Deidre, anything that gets the creative juices flowing is my motto 🙂
You are one talented woman!
I have no keen interest in horror or the paranormal but I can appreciate your skills and expertise.
All the best!
Good examples of how to nurture artistic talent, Jeri. Have done everything under the sun but most of the time I’m not deliberately trying to advance creativity but happen to do so by coincidence. When we are open and let circumstances impact us we are on the right path.
Thanks for sharing this post, it was very interesting. I think I need to give my artistic side some nourishment! Taking photographs really helps though,and I guess blogging too, but that kind of takes time from doing other writing, which is a shame.
Really nice to know you here. Very nice examples of nurturing talents. I feel that what actually you want to do in future has impression from start as you have told how you were interested in books.
I try to experience everything from arranging my home, doing some recycling, crochet and sometimes making sketching etc. I feel everything helps me to be if not more at least little bit creative and this is a way I try to nurture my artistic talent.
Spinning off into comics is a great step. I grew up reading comics too.
Jon, my heart with writing will always be novels, but it’s great to reach back into childhood and do these spinoffs on occasion. Thanks for the comment.
I think it was being indulged by my parents to be creative and also to educate me. We did not have much money when I was a child, but my parents made sure I got all the books I wanted. This allowed my mind to expand and see the world from different points of view. I owe them a lot of thanks.
It also helps to have a compelling title — and Flesh and Leftovers certainly meets that criteria! I also think that you need to allow the reader to figure some things out herself. It helps to weave in a little ambiguity and not dish up everything on a platter.
Thank you, Jeannette. The title, Flesh and Leftovers, came to me while eating dinner one night. My wife is an amazing cook and there were leftovers while I was proofreading my first chapter of the book. Then it popped in there for a title and I went with that theme for my novels… haha.
Great post. Yes, I couldn’t agree more: life itself is the biggest influence; we just need to be ready to take what she has to offer.
I, too, enjoy doing or admiring several forms of art (photography, music, etc.) as a way to keep the creative engine running. All the arts share a harmonious connection… just like the Muses are all related 🙂
Thanks for sharing the article about Nurturing Artistic Talent by Rick Pipito. Very interesting article. I liked it. Great point included in the post. And I completely agree with you. Once again thanks for sharing views.