Do You Know the Most Important Thing About Storytelling?

November 25, 2019

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As I get ready to go full tilt into the holiday season with my family, I thought I’d mention one more time, to every wanna be writer out there, the most important thing I’ve learned about being an author.

It’s important to understand there is a difference between a good writer and a good storyteller.

A good writer is focused on the literal qualities of writing, but a good storyteller is someone who tries to see and appreciate the story in everything. As you can imagine, when you have a more open mind towards what is a story, your skills associated with storytelling improve, because you’re challenging yourself.

Write Often
The truth is, you cannot become a good storyteller unless you practice writing and telling stories often. How often you should write is up to you, but it should almost always be more often than you think you’ll be comfortable with.

For instance, I write a little almost every day. If writing every day feels like a challenge to you, please keep in mind one of the key benefits in writing often … whatever that might mean for you … is making a conscious effort to think about your stories. One of the biggest benefits I saw in my writing life came from writing daily.

Fairly quickly, I realized I didn’t write daily because I had inspiration, or always knew what was happening next … but because I was forcing myself to think about my stories. This, in turn, led to me thinking about my work and finding solutions in my subconscious. So, first and foremost, I suggest you ask yourself if you’re writing often enough.

Read a Lot
No matter what type of writing you do, you absolutely need to be reading. I’ve said this before, too, and it’s not an option. In studying the prose of others, you can learn how to craft a beautiful sentence, to pace a story, and create abstract meanings with personification, paradoxes, and other literary devices.

Finally, good prose teaches storytellers how to break all conventional rules and structures, and still tell a believable story, which is why you should always be reading regularly.

Look for the Story in Everything
As a writer, you should look for the story in everything. In doing so, you’ll often find solutions for your characters that didn’t seem to be available at all. You will discover they really are out there, waiting for you to find them.

Take some time to people-watch. Listen to the way they talk. Not only will it help you craft believable dialogue, I’m convinced you’ll find, within a few minutes, you can create an entire scene just from two people together.

Once you learn to pay attention and discover these everywhere stories, you’ll never be short of ideas, and your readers will find it hard to put your stories down.

Keep writing, and have a safe and happy holiday season.

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I will be joining other local authors signing books from 10:00am-4:00pm at the Rochester Hills Public Library Author Fair on Saturday, November 30, 2019.

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Gentle Readers, my books have all garnered some terrific reviews. You can see all of them by using the Amazon link below. Check them out. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;

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You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show, or see my three local television interviews. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

What is a Writer’s Ego?

October 11, 2019


Even when I was little, I dreamed of being an author. In 1965, the year I turned seventeen, I submitted my first short story, and I imagined myself being the next Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451).

By the time I entered my twenties, I wanted to make people think of me as some sort of “great” writer, like the one making headlines at the time, Michael Crichton (Andromeda Strain).

While this fantasy faded with age (or maybe it was just reality closing in), for a long time I still held onto a specific image of myself, imagining my work would someday be studied in college classes, while young people wondered how anyone could write something so good.

Talk about an ego.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not bad to want those who read your work to enjoy it. Nor is it bad to hope that someday your work is good enough to be associated with the greats you’ve always admired.

But that only comes through dedicated effort, and if you obsess about people’s admiration, winning awards, and your persona as a writer, that thing called a writer’s ego will take over your life.

It happens when you become more focused on yourself than on the stories you tell. It’s not a bad thing, just a regrettably human instinct.

You become afraid to step out of your comfort zone.

However, if you want your stories to be read forever, you need to challenge your writing in new ways.

If you started writing thinking it was for the money, perhaps you’ve already discovered the fact you picked the wrong career. Wanting to live off your writing isn’t a bad thing, but only a relative few ever succeed that way (just ask my wife).

Besides, as writers, we produce better work when our goals are rooted in self-fulfillment and not money or awards.

I’ve won several awards and received a lot of positive reviews for my work. I won’t lie to you. It’s hard not to get caught up in such things.

But ask yourself this – if your story was one day incredibly well-loved and highly regarded, would you care whether or not your name was on the project?

Even now, I’m not sure I could pass that test.

Many stories are remembered before their authors because readers become lost in them, and that makes those stories special. If someone likes you as a writer, they like the stories you’re turning out.

Think about that a moment. They like the stories.

It has little to do with you as a person. It’s part of the odd relationship between an author and their reader.

Good stories reflect real emotions and paint realistic narratives about life’s events.

So, the better you get at banishing your writer’s ego, the better you’ll be able to serve those readers and create stories that thrill them.

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I will be attending the Rochester Writers’ Conference at Oakland University on Saturday, October 19.

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I will also be joining other local authors signing books from 11:00am-5:00pm at the Leon & Lulu Books and Authors Event in Clawson on October 20, 2019.

**********

Gentle Readers, my books have all garnered some terrific reviews. You can see all of them by using the Amazon link below. Check them out. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;

**********

You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show, or see my three local television interviews. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

Ever Consider Writing a Memoir?

August 18, 2019

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I was talking to an old friend recently, and we were both having trouble remembering details from our high school years. Neither one of us could remember the name of our home room teacher.

One of the comments made that had us both laughing was, “well, there goes the memoir.”

But is that true?

So what if you have trouble remembering specific details from the past? After a long passage of time (and going back to my high school years certainly qualifies for that) things can be rather fuzzy.

If this were enough to stop people from writing their memoirs, there would be no such genre. However, memory only acts through the act of remembering. And what does that require?

Only an imagination.

Something most good fiction authors have tons of at their disposal.

I’ve written about this before. The subject of all memoirs, after all, is memory, and memory cannot exist without the imagination.

I like to think of the people in memoirs as characters. A great memoir pulls you into their lives; shows what they struggle with, what they are successful at and what they wonder about.

Many of the best memoir writers focus on a few key characteristics of their characters, allowing the reader to get to know each one in depth. After all, your readers must be able to either love your characters or hate them, and you can’t provide too much detail.

Also, good memoirs introduce intriguing settings and show readers the locations you describe. Don’t be afraid to evoke emotions. Readers need to experience your story, almost as if it was their own.

You need imagination, not in the sense of inventing things, but in binding together the facts. What you know for a fact is one thing; but what you remember matters every bit as much.

Leave your readers with their mouths open in awe, laughing hysterically, or crying with sadness – or, better yet, all three. Take them on an emotional journey that provokes them to read the next chapter, and then tell their friends about your book when they finish.

Is There Any Risk?
Fiction is frequently inspired by real people or events, but it’s still ambiguous. Memoir, on the other hand, is direct and explicit, and carries some definite risks.

For instance, no matter how carefully you try to avoid it, a memoir is bound to annoy someone.

To be true to yourself, you should not use this as an excuse not to write a memoir. “I can’t write this until so-and-so dies” is more likely a crutch than a valid reason not to write.

Consider the possible ramifications, sure. But write for yourself. I believe in writing what obsesses you. It may be why I have three new novels in the works, with my own memoir already coming to a slow boil on the back burner of my mind.

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I will be joining other authors signing books from 1:00-4:00 at the Orion Township Library Local Artist & Author Fair on September 28, 2019.

**********

Gentle Readers, my books have all garnered some terrific reviews. You can see all of them by using the Amazon link below. Check them out. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;

**********

You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show, or see my three local television interviews. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

**********

Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.


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