Tag: Monday blogs

NaNoWriMo Sustained Story Mind

“William Faulkner’s conviction that the writer’s duty is “to help man endure by lifting his heart” comes to mind — storytelling is still literature’s greatest duty.” Susan Sontag, Sontag on Storytelling, BrainPickings

Thoughts of my writing friends moved me to write this morning. Shout out to my friend, poet, scientist, and animal lover, Briahn. Another shout to Redwood Writers, a branch of the California Writers Club. We need inspiring and thought-provoking quotes. I hope you find in this post a kernel of encouragement.

I am a storyteller writing novel-length fiction.

Like most of you, I continue reading a variety of nonfiction in the form of news, writing craft advice, history, and biography. This day I find myself charmed by a post on BrainPickings.  BrainPickings brings together both sides of my mind. Currently, it is the only email subscription I read daily. You might want to pop over and steal a few minutes to read the full post.

“Be serious.” By which I meant: Never be cynical. And which doesn’t preclude being funny.” Susan Sontag

“Serious fiction writers think about moral problems practically. They tell stories. They narrate. They evoke our common humanity in narratives with which we can identify, even though the lives may be remote from our own. They stimulate our imagination. The stories they tell enlarge and complicate — and, therefore, improve — our sympathies. They educate our capacity for moral judgment.”

Hi-fve or low fi, I love music.
You’ve got dog music?

By the way, I have thrown caution to the winds and jumped into my third National Novel Writing Month. Although I “won” the two years I entered, this year seems a wilder breast to get a handle on. On one hand, it does not matter if I write a 50,000-word manuscript again in thirty days but on the other, I want my Dog Leader Mysteries book two in good shape to go in 2018. Book one in the series sits on the editor’s desk, and hopefully, I will have a final draft off to copyeditors early next year.

Remember, it is not how many words you write.

Think of it as how many story arc’s you keep. Only keep the parts of story action, theme, and words in your story that matter. The revision comes much later. Keep writing forward in your first draft,  add all the details the story needs.

Later, like months later, you will revise by creating a new document draft to fit your dreamed-first draft story vision. Keep going. You didn’t learn to walk in one day. No one writes a novel in one day either. One page, one step, and fall. One page, one step, and fall not as far. Two steps, find your balance in your story world. Look around inside, write what you see. Fall.

Write what you envision and keep going. Feel your story. Write each day in a state of expectation that your dream story can be caught on paper.

If you stop writing, don’t beat yourself up.

Start again.

Be glad for starting. Be grateful for the story mind in you that wants to know the deeper story you write or want to write.

Get closer to your vision (outline or synopsis) in your story mind

Do not let go.

  • Keep asking, where does my character want to go?
  • Am I lifting my reader’s heart?
  • What happens next in this story?
  • What do my main characters want and need?
  • Where do I see this story ending?
  • Try out a few endings (early to see where it is headed).

Do you read novels? What fiction do you enjoy? Do you write stories? Are you taking on National Novel Writing Month this year?

Thanks for reading and sharing,  Deborah Taylor-French

Don’t miss this Wednesday’s post by Cindy Grant.

You will want to see and read it. High-quality informative writing from a writer who loves pets. Plus fab professional dog photographs,

 

 

7 story start tips : Write Monday

What type of story do you want to tell?

I can think of dozens of types of stories, mythical, cultural folktales, fairytales, cautionary fables, historical or generational stories. Yet most stories will boil down to what the story leaves the audience or readers feeling. Happy or sad? I can think of happy endings in war stories, family sagas or generational stories. Romance and fantasy could end either way, even if contemporary fiction genres tend to lean romance to happy endings. But truly if you live through the loss of your first BIG love, you know romance does not promise happy endings. So you the story-teller or writer must make this first and huge choice, happy or sad.  

A sad or happy story?

Well, of course, there is the option of leaving the ending open to interpretation. You could leave your characters hanging, waiting for a phone call, not dying after being shot or wishing he had killed the guy, and wondering if he did? Yet the bulk of stories are looked at as happy or sad. Do you like to watch happy TV shows and movies? Do you enjoy sad endings? Some people do.

Alex Hair Flip

How to add emotion to a story

  1. Start with an undo character, fighting for someone else’s safety
  2. Hurt your main character either physically or emotionally early in your story
  3. Begin your story with a loss for the character, family or village, etc.
  4. Have your main character suffer a social rejection at school, within a town or by a good friend
  5. Show your main character fighting for emotional or physical control (We love grace under pressure.)
  6. Create challenging “bad” weather” that stops your character just as he or she starts wanting to achieve, learn, etc.
  7. Set up a worthy opponent or “bad” guy or girl early in your story 

For more ideas on helping your live audience or readers feel emotions from your story

visit “How to Add Emotion to a Story” at WikiHow.

See WikiHow post below on “Adding Emotion a novel your are writing.”

We love our readers.

Do you love rainy nights? Do you love telling stories that turn your audience’s expectations up-side-down? Do you love include weather references that set up one idea, such as a dark and stormy night and turn it into the best night your main character ever had?

Think of your story as a slice of an ongoing story.

Things have happened before we start listening or reading.

Know that things will happen after listeners or readers finish with your story.

Please share if you enjoyed our

“Write Monday” Dog Leader Mysteries blog post.

Readers, please suggest stressors for my list.

What’s your story? Write Monday

Listening to your story

Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth. ― Rumi

 What an idea! Are you living your own story?

How do you know if you are?

How to tell if you are living your own story quiz

  1. Do you wake up glad to be alive?
  2. Do you ask yourself what you want to do for fun?
  3. Do you plan fun things to do each week?
  4. Do you make time to talk with friends and family?
  5. Do you smile at people?
  6. Do you listen to others stories and enjoy them?
  7. Do you often remember good dreams?
  8. If other’s boss or control you, do you stand up for what you want?
  9. Is what others think of you more important, most of the time?
  10. Can you be lazy and enjoy your dog for most of a day (without feeling guilty)?

___________________________________________________

Add up each “yes” answer for 10 points each

Extra Credit

  1. Make time to do regular exercise? Add 10 points
  2. If you have a score of at least 70% or above, you are living your own story.
  3. If you have a lower score, how about adding more kindness, exercise and fun to your life?

A Pair of Noses

 Share your story at NPR.org Story Corps

oooOOO000

What stories do do others tell about you? Are you listening? Do those stories fit? Is it time to tell a new story?

Go give StoryCorps a try. I hear that the app is free and helps make interviewing a family member or friend easy. Do you want to know more about someone in your family?

A few of my life stories, odd & true

You can read some of my true stories on two of my blog pages, Adopt, save the life of a dog or a child and Long Distance Dog Mystery: Grief Plus ESP.

 

Write Monday: a Guggenheim Flash

Does this start a story? Self portrait inside Guggenheim designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Do spirals have a focal point?

A blasting cold wind sent us inside that autumn. Entering the Guggenheim Museum in New York, we became disoriented to the point that we began to whisper.

The power of visual art to hush the human mind, is that what changed everything that day? The sheer power of an utterly unique building silenced inner chatter. Other people whispered, too.

Clusters of people meditated on form and color,  magnifying a zen like experience. Considering the history of human art, that humans began drawing figures in soft earth, then painted magical or sacred figures in red ochre on cave walls, may have been a factor in our experience. Our human drive to commune with and express visually has not slowed. Looking upward at the circling ovoid dome, I felt grateful for the chance to visit the Guggenheim.

When it comes to paintings we happen to share preferences for cultural forms, historical periods and specific artists. Art history had sparked a lifelong love of painting and history. Not being a stranger to museums, I was alarmed that standing on the ground floor of the Guggenheim I  felt disoriented. I tried to reclaim my balance in this off balance building by holding still and listening to the hushed voice echoes. Where there any echoes?

Do spirals have a focal point? As we walked up the ramp, a sense of vacuum lead our curiosity. Spans of titled walkway seemed to vary into an ever expanding open space. The contemporary art installations drew clusters of viewers. We joined a group of a dozen, puzzling over meaning and intent. What does this artist do? Using negative space, words on a wall drew a crowd. A clever installation artist literally nailed the wall with a cry for help.

Awe felt in the presence of greatness? Beyond the sweeping structure, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, New York, holds a treasury of Kadinsky’s paintings. Each painting compresses what appears to be a complete and alternate visual world. Each of these worlds pump, fall and rise with action. Each painting tumbled in a play of color. The Kandinsky Gallery burned memories intensely alive. The brilliant colors of each painting enthralled. The passion of the painter Kadinsky opened eyes and revived sensations of childhood running and leaping. Such active swaths of black, blue, yellow and red.

It was then I saw the man guiding a blind woman by the arm. A lightning second of recognition hit my eyes, then he guided me to the next painting, whispering descriptions so shameless that I followed him for the rest of my life.

The End

A few glimpses at what we saw at the Guggenheim.

FullSizeRender

Once in a lifetime visit the Guggenheim 

The Guggenheim, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Kandinsky Gallery Guggenheim

Guggenheim Blog Architectural Digest “Visit the Guggenheim from your own home”Frank Lloyd Wright

Dear Reader,

I love comments and questions. “Write Monday” posts center on storytelling. Instead of writing about storytelling, I’ve written you a story. I want to know if this flash fiction entertained or made you curious.

Thanks for reading Dog Leader Mysteries,

Deborah Taylor-French

Big big Dog

Write Monday: a story must have legs

A story must have legs

I believe this phrase comes as part of a fable or joke, if you know the origins please leave me a comment. A big part of my day ended up being in learning mode on human and mammalian evolution. We even took a turn into the engaging long galleries on dinosaurs, filled with families taking photographs and selfies posed before the bones of many an extinct creature.

So we sit, still in Act I, our opening for creative nonfiction or fiction. Of course, the legs our stories need do not have any real component, these legs we think about help us to define, form and structure our story like an animal that can stand up and walk. Why do I suggest our stories need to walk on their own legs?

Can you believe these were herbivores?
Can you believe these were herbivores?
Writers need surprises, too

When a story has good or great bones, it can walk, swim or fly off into surprsing territories. Once you examine what type of animal or genre you write. Much of your headaches settle in the area of telling the story. No matter what Act you happen to be writing, knowing the bones of your story makes the writing come much more easily.

  • bones give shape to stories
  • bones help stories walk, crawl, swim or fly
  • bones help writers pace their stories in readers hands
  • bones lend mood to stories & hint at the ending
  • bones can glow in the dark, long after the story has end
Does this start a story?
Am I looking down or looking up through a mirror?

“…no surprises for the writer, no surprises for the reader.” Robert Frost

Comparing stories to stage plays

We can also look at stories and compare them to types of performance art or stage play. Choosing wether your story leans into comedy toward laughter, romps, mixups and ending in marriage and song, or if your story leans toward tragedy bring tears to our eyes and ending in the main character’s death, or for that matter if your story fits a hero’s journey full of challenges, action, thrills, fear. death, mystery and triumph. Defining your genre or story type helps the read know right away what type of a story he or she has landed in.

Tune in next Monday for more on Act I

I promise to talk about POV or what is known as point of view and choices available to writers as they being a story of any length. If you write for adults and an educated audience, then switching points of view can work well. Often writers of fiction tell stories from multiple points of view. Your first choice does not have to limit you in your revisions, but it helps to have a solid idea, through reading many, many books like the one your are working on, to gage what works effectively for you as the reader.

  • First person point of view uses the pronoun, I..
  • Second person point of view uses the pronoun, You…
  • Third person point of view uses the pronouns, she, he, and they,

    Does this dog look fearful?
    What’s the story here?

Thanks for reading, caring and sharing, Deborah Taylor-French