Tag: storytelling

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.

All You Zombies by Robert Heinlein

A story stranger than fiction

“I’m going to tell you the strangest story you ever heard.”

Thus opens a famous fantasy story by Robert A. Heinlein. How could I not read the original story after watching the movie version entitled, Predestination?

As we watched the first fifteen minutes of Predestination (streaming on Netflix), my friend related, “Oh, I read this story as a teen. I think this is the same story. Back then, I thought it was the best short story I had ever read. I think this is it.” After watching for another ten minutes, he paused the movie to explain that the story and characters came from Robert A. Heinlein.

A short fantasy fiction entitled, “All You Zombies.”

Available on Amazon
What is predestination?
"Learner's definition of PREDESTINATION: the belief that everything that will happen has already been decided by God or fate and cannot be changed" Merriam Webster, anEnglish Language Learners Dictionary

pre·des·ti·na·tion prēˌdestəˈnāSH(ə)n/ Google
noun (as a doctrine in Christian theology) the divine foreordaining of all that will happen, especially with regard to the salvation of some and not others. It has been particularly associated with the teachings of St. Augustine of Hippo and of Calvin.”

The subject of predestination, as an article of Christian faith, ruled my life. As a bookish child, I read often. Looking back, my study of the Bible had been colored by the church I attended. I began attending Sunday morning services with my beloved grandmother, Alice. I remained in that church from eight years old until the age of fifteen. As a solemn introvert and serious thinker, I attended Wednesday night Bible study along with friends. As preteens go, we lived in our heads and looked like nerds. In mid-week Bible study, we discussed the idea of predestination. We grappled with why an all-powerful God allowed free will, why that same one God let innocent babies and young children suffer and why God gave humankind the choice to commit violence, war and torture.

Fast forward a year or two, the church that baptized me, split in two! Feeling shocked, hurt and confused, the Bible study group  ask me to choose between them and the mother church. By this time, the Bible study group believed that humanity did not have free will, that God predestined individuals for salvation or damnation. Could I stay where I began my study and belief in Christianity?

Did I believe in predestination?

In hindsight, I chose the wrong church. The new one held the belief that God creates all human beings and either predestines them for salvation or damnation. This idea of God seems twisted and cruel. Why would God send the bulk of all mankind into sin and suffer an eternity in hell? That’s not what I believe now. But the idea that humanity lives without free choice, comes as a premise in the bizarre and fascinating story, All You Zombies.

Robert A. Heinlein at his desk reading
Robert A. Heinlein
Living in a time loop?

After seeing the movie, I got busy and found a paper copy of Robert A. Heinlein’s at my local library. Now I find I want to read all the stories so I will be looking for my paperback copy. Living in a time loop, what would that mean to you? Would you repeat parts of your life to figure out what happened and why? Would you relive your best times over and over? Would you live all the parts of your life, playing different roles, such as your best friend, your father or brother?

By the way, the story opens from the barkeeper point of view with data as to date, and time and setting. The movie opens and ends differently. I liked both versions, the original short story and movie. The only spoiler I will add is that the movie has been stretched into an action thriller. Thus the close character point of view seems weakened, yet I found the end of the movie an example of how to end a story splendidly.

Could you read just one?

 

Predestination, a movie take on All You Zombies-

Ethan Hawke Is A TimeCop

“The most famous story of time travel and predestination is getting a movie adaptation, starring Ethan Hawke. Robert A. Heinlein’s “All You Zombies” features a guy whose very existence is a time paradox — but the movie looks like more of a gritty, noir-influenced thriller. The movie entitled Predestination comes from Peter Spierig and Michael Spierig, the Australian brothers who previously directed Hawke in the futuristic vampire film Daybreakers.” In the movie of Heinlein’s All You Zombies

A bit more that I read on this movie from the site link above:

“Peter Spierig and Michael Spierig, the Australian brothers who previously directed Hawke in the futuristic vampire film “Daybreakers.”
The new movie, made from Heinlein’s story, received mixed reviews and a weak response, but we enjoyed it for the story and the bareness of the filming. No special effects were used, an exception to the rule of thrillers. The film focuses on the plot and doesn’t let us marinate in the characters’  internal conflicts, yet the characters become unforgettable.”

You will find available as an Amazon e-book with four other fantasy stories by Heinlein,  “All You Zombies-“: Five Classic Stories by Robert A. Heinlein Kindle Edition

The image of Heinlein at his desk came from “Robert Heinlein and the Harsh Politics of Science Fiction.”

Thanks for reading and sharing, Deborah Taylor-French

Bonus: Blast from the past band, The Hooters, singing (of course) “All You Zombies.”

Clever story hints from Shakespeare

Story hints

“The point of view, or narrative mode, Shakespeare uses in his plays, like most plays, is the third person objective view point. We know that plays are narrated in third person because we do not see the play through one character’s perspective; we do not frequently see the word I appear in the play.” Tamara K.H. on Notes.com

A limited third person point of view

In a limited third person point of view, an author does not have access to his characters’ thoughts. This strengthens the illusion that the acting on stage is similar to our lives. A well-done limited 3rd person play persuades and enthralls with its lifelike believability. The characters try to keep their secrets and pretend to go along with mischief or the follies of friends.

a truly great storyteller
Portrait of William Shakespeare

Shakespeare, a limited third POV?

From a storyteller’s point of view, Shakespeare pretends to have a limited third person point of view, thus drawing in his audience. This approach allows audiences to imagine that they witness a world that stands alone. Yet this master playwright, who holds himself outside of his creations heads, tips characters into disclosing intimate details, foibles, morals and thoughts through cleverness. He causes his characters to lie. Then he makes others find out a lie and force out a confession. Shakespeare’s characters, a points of stress, have an aloud chat with him or herself. An well-known example occurs in Hamlet when Prince Hamlet gives his famous “to be or not to be” soliloquy.

What can I do? I’m not Shakespeare.

I say that depends on what genre you write in. What type of story you want to tell? 

  • comedy = happy endings, people get married, renew love and hope
  • tragedy= a death, a war, a huge loss, etc.
  • history = fact based story
  • myth & fantasy = a mixed bag of hopeful beginnings & terrible hurts

William Shakespeare wrote poetry and plays. He wrote plays in the history, tragedy and comedy categories. He also added bits of fantasy as in the dream scene in Midsummer Nights’ Dream. Of considered a writer’s writer or the best of all English playwrights, Shakespeare’s genius has been lately questioned. Some scholars challenge the idea of one man writing the massive volume of works attributed to William Shakespeare. Other scholars, of course, argue that a single man, named Shakespeare, wrote plays for a theatre troupe he knew well. The plays tend to use character types and one playwright would unite the plays by the talents and strengths of specific actors. Thus  a single playwright wrote all the plays attributed to Shakespeare.

What do you think? Was Shakespeare a rare genius or a name put to poetry and plays written by more than one man?

Tragedy, comedy and poetry
William Shakespeare

Poems of William Shakespeare #free downloads

10 Shakespeare Quotes that you can use in Modern English

November 2, 2015

Write Monday: risk it all like Shakespeare

Shakespeare on a Monday?

 (yes, afraid so)

 Shakespeare love creating characters to tell his stories

As writers, I know, we can remain in our heads, do a great deal of thinking, plan and plot, imitate other writers we like, and spend much of our time being in love with words.

Yet to produce work, to write, to make new story, we must to use old and repeated word packages “cut to the chase,” “jump of a bridge,” and “wring out a story.”

Often feel as if I’m asking for pain, that I might cry out something like this to write.

“Light a fire under my feet!”

For those of you would have watched the movie, “Shakespeare in Love” the opening scene sets the stakes for the story, and those stakes could not be more memorable. I who do not watch much in terms of movies, who does not know the name of the latest top earning or popular movies, recall that first scene like no other movie opening.

Bill collectors surround a man, whose feet they hold over a flame. As they roast his feet, they boil with gleeful jests, promising further and far worse punishments. Eventually, we learn that the poor man owes them money! In a few short minutes, the story unfolds showing this victims of flambé of sole works as a theatre manager. A theatre that does not make money, as often stage venues fail to do in live theater staging  new plays (some things never change). The villains have bound and hung is thinly booted feet over a small fire. They continue deliberately inflicting severe physical. They fry his feet until he promises them a full partnership in a new play by Shakespeare.

This poor man, the theatre manager with roasted soles, must produce a successful play to pay off the greedy loan sharks. Thus begins a story of extremely high stakes. The stakes and the pressure falls on the playwright, William Shakespeare, to complete his current work-in-progress, and insuring a BIG HIT at the box office of the Globe Theater in England. Most importantly saving the poor theater manager, a victim of sadistic businessmen who must be paid or will take a pound of flesh.

By the way, Shakespeare loved and used narrators to tell his stories. We’ll talk about that more next Monday.

cropped-banner-no-title-jpg2.jpg 

Writing a book is a bit like surfing . . . Most of the time you’re waiting. And it’s quite pleasant, sitting in the water waiting. But you are expecting that the result of a storm over the horizon, in another time zone, usually, days old, will radiate out in the form of waves. And eventually, when they show up, you turn around and ride that energy to the shore. It’s a lovely thing, feeling that momentum. If you’re lucky, it’s also about grace. As a writer, you roll up to the desk every day, and then you sit there, waiting, in the hope that something will come over the horizon. And then you turn around and ride it, in the form of a story.” Tim Winton, Australian short story writer and novelist.

Reading a lovely blog on Women’s Writing Circle Web site. Author, editor and mentor writer Susan G. Weidener created this site to support writers in the Philadelphia area.

Why this west coast writer cares about east coast writers

Inspiration for the writer’s road tends to be long and lonely.

Oak savanna of Marin County hills
Are you alone on the writer’s road? Look around. See me on the road too?
Are you on a writer’s road?

Give someone else what you wish to receive

  1. Support her by buying & reading her books
  2. Respect her skills and experience by sharing her workshops & book launches
  3. Acknowledge her talent and dedication in a comment on her blog
  4. Give her word of mouth endorsement
  5. Write a good review of her book and post it to Amazon, GoodReads, Facebook, etc.

A little on Susan G. Weidener, her education, writing experience, published memoirs and her novel, I quote from the biographical note on her ‘The Power of Story’ workshop which will begin in October. Wow! Susan teaches a free four-week class beginning Oct. 19 at Lower Providence Community Library in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

“My goal is that by the end of those four weeks, everyone who takes this class will leave with a rough draft of their own memoir.” Susan G. Weidener

Susan G. Weidener received her BA in Literature from American University and her MS in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. She joined the staff of The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1991 and worked as a reporter in the Inquirer’s suburban bureau until 2007. Susan started the Women’s Writing Circle, a critique and support group for writers in suburban Philadelphia. She is the author of two bestselling memoirs, Again in a Heartbeat, a memoir of love, loss and dating again and its sequel, Morning at Wellington Square. Her debut novel, A Portrait of Love and Honor, based on her late husband’s memoir, takes the reader from the halls of the United States Military Academy at West Point during the Vietnam War to an inspiring love story between two people destined to meet. Susan offers writing workshops and talks on memoir and has appeared as guest speaker at universities and libraries throughout the Philadelphia region.

Lucky writers and those who want to tell their stories in Philadelphia should jump at this free four-week workshop, I would. So please share this post and help others in that region learn of her workshop this October 2015. Memoir Writing Workshop and ‘The Power of Writing.’

Do I need a narrator?

At three minutes to midnight by our planetary Doomsday Clock does it matter?

No, most likely not. But if you have a good story to tell outloud or to write down and share, you need to know about your options. What choices do you have for story narration? Upward to several hundred but let me help narrow that down for you.

A few memorable narrators

  • Cousin Mary in “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The self loathing man telling “Notes from Underground” by  Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Alec (a fourteen year old boy) in The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

  

    So far, these narrators happen to also be main characters but do not let that fool you! 

      As I began this new series “Write Monday” I gave an example

      I started with a storytelling example by one of my favorite contemporary authors. A brief introduction: this a unique writer who writes novels both for adults and children, also an author who’s fame owes much to the Broadway stage adaption of his novel, Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West,” Gregory MacGuire.

      Wicked…written in the third person pronoun, nevertheless this novel entralls me, due to a strong narrative voice. As a reader I felt instant curiousity for a storyteller who dared tell the story of an longheld character defined as “evil.” 

      Not being a longsuffering reader, I refuse to any boredom in a novel, but will stay longer in a nonfiction book, reported to teach a valuable stream of knowledge! 

      Yep, I read like a hopeless snob! 

      Wink, wink. I write fiction. I hold myself to a near impossible standard of excellence, I know “…the better is the enemy of the good.”

      What do narrators do 4 stories?

      A short list of narrator benefits

      • The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
      • Rivet readers by their voice
      • Layer story POV
      • Take a story to a larger world
      • Shift a story into a new time frame
      • Questions strengthens or foolishness of characters
      • Scatter clues, false or true
      • Make judgements on the plot, the character or the secret history 
      • Add complexity & other stories designed to enrich the central plot or readers bond with characters
      • Make readers love or hate the main character more

       

      It's not whar u look at that matters
      Vincent van Gogh painting
       

      Would this postman make an interesting narrator? I imagine he would speak at least three languages and take his job seriously.

      Thanks for reading & sharing Dog Leader Mysteries. Deborah Taylor-French