Archive for the ‘Storytelling’ Category

Do You Write With Feeling?

January 29, 2020


It almost goes without saying that every person uses themselves as a yardstick to figure out what another person is feeling.

This includes readers for your characters in a novel. No matter the situation or genre of your novel or short-story fiction, your reader will try to fill in the blanks about fictional characters based upon their own life experiences.

As a writer, you can aid this process by adding sensory detail. No amount of fancy plot tactics can compete with your reader’s brain to create empathy for your characters.

When your readers empathize, they put themselves in the character’s shoes. Once they’ve done that, readers will follow your character through any obstacle, hardship, or conflict because, if you’ve done it right, they are in the story, they are your character.

The elements you need should be fundamental and unalterable to your character. They have to feel authentic. Tacked-on frailties just don’t work. Choose very carefully and build-in the crucial elements from the start.

Remember those compare-and-contrast school assignments?
Give your character a seemingly inescapable social, political, or economic disadvantage. Readers want to see the character overcome those obstacles.

Context is how you use comparison in your story. Compare your hero’s strengths to those of other characters. Hopefully, your reader will have been admiring your hero’s skills and strengths.

When those are put to the test by someone bigger, smarter, or more adept, your reader feels the difference.

The structure of almost every story includes an element of vulnerability. Sometimes everything is tilted to make your hero’s strength a vulnerability. You shed new light on your character, and your reader reacts.

The reason is reader empathy.

This technique is so powerful, you only need to do it once. You don’t need to overdo vulnerability, one instance in your story is all it takes. Every reader is human. The key is to make the reader make the connection to your hero’s emotional frailty. When they see vulnerability in your hero, it strengthens the connection.

This works in any genre. The way a reader comes to know your character is similar to the way we come to know people in real life. Create a vulnerability in your character, then use it at the appropriate plot point to keep your reader engaged.

Weave your hero’s vulnerabilities into the story. Use your plot to find the high points where frailties will have the most impact. Those vulnerabilities in the middle of the story keep readers engaged with your protagonist as you move the story toward the ultimate conclusion.

Give it a try, and you’ll keep your readers to the end of the story.

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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.

Why Write During the Holidays?

December 27, 2019


For a long time, I wasn’t a very consistent writer. I figured whenever inspiration struck, I would write. Until then, I preferred to do other things with my time.

As a consequence, I didn’t get much better at my craft.

However, several years ago, I started forcing myself to write a little every day, and I was shocked. Pages that once took three hours only took thirty minutes, and my writing got much better.

It became my new mantra. If I wanted to get better at my craft, I had to write every day.

Even during Christmas? You might think, “Oh, it’s okay if I don’t write today. It’s a holiday.” But, I think you’ll be missing out on a huge opportunity, and here are three reasons why.

You’re Going to Be Around a Lot of People
Good creative writing is always about people. During the holidays, many of us spend more time around people than any other season. What better time is there to study their mannerisms and actions?

You’ll be talking to many people, so ask them questions. Pay close attention to the details of their actions. Paying attention to people this week could inspire dozens of new stories.

Holidays are Transformational
The holidays leading up to the New Year are periods of liminal space, which means it is often a period of transformation.

How does this apply to writing? The easiest way to put it: fiction is almost always about watching a character change.

For instance, Elizabeth Bennet (in Jane Austen’s 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice) starts the story prejudiced…and ends up in love. Jean Valjean (the protagonist of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel Les Misérables) begins as a criminal and ends a saint.

The idea is the same in either case. We love reading about people who change, and the holidays are all about change. So, pay attention and see how people around you have changed this Christmas.

This includes you!

You Pay More Attention to the Details During the Holidays
For instance, the other day, while watching the bird-feeder outside my dining room, I saw several little birds on the railing of my deck. There was also a blue jay and red-headed woodpecker.

I watched for a long time as they seemed to take turns at the seed-filled block of suet on the bird-feeder pole next to the deck.

It’s been there all fall, but I always chose to ignore it. I realized it wasn’t that I had more time now to notice these things. I just finally took the time to breathe in deep, sip my coffee slow…and look.

You should give it a try and, if you’re smart and lucky, you’ll even take a little time to write about it.

Happy Holidays!

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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;

**********

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.

Do You Know the Most Important Thing About Storytelling?

November 25, 2019

readerPhoto Courtesy of Pexels

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.

**********

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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