Kristen Lamb published an article about story structure. She writes as educational and informative as always – and with just as much wit and humor as usual. Thanks for another helpful and funny post, Kristen!
Story structure is a HUGE deal in all stories. The last couple of posts, I’ve mentioned memoirs and how they can utilize a variety of structures. This said, there are so many variegations for the memoir, that I just can’t do them all justice here.
Since I am at least sharp enough to know when to defer to people much smarter than me…AND because I am #1 at HUMBLE…
At the end of the post, I’ll give y’all some links to people who ARE memoir experts and can do a much better job explaining all the structural styles available.
Whether we’re writing a memoir, novel, short story, essay, or even screenplays…structure matters.
If we keep starting out with great ideas that ultimately end up haunting our hard drives unformed and unfinished?
Or, maybe we finish books, but no one seems to want to read them. It could be the glut in the market. OR it could be that the core idea is GOLD, but the structure isn’t such that it fully reveals what our story has to offer.
There are many reasons our writing might be stalling, stumbling, fumbling or failing. Yet, in my 20 years editing? It’s almost always, always a problem with story structure.
My favorite blogger Kristen Lamb has published a post about narrative style, the heart of storytelling. Thank you so much for another educational blog post, Kristen.
Narrative style is the beating heart of writing. While our voice might remain consistent from a blog to a non-fiction to a fiction, narrative style is what keeps our work fresh and makes it resonate.
Developing a strong narrative style is especially critical if we decide to write a memoir because the style will need to not only reflect the personality of the author-storyteller, but also hit that sweet spot in tone that is appropriate for the story.
But what IS IT?
Last post, I opened the discussion about memoirs. Memoirs are not only becoming increasingly popular, but with the implosion of traditional publishing, there’s good news. Anyone can write and publish a memoir. There’s also bad news…anyone can write and publish a memoir.
Before we talk about the various structures and types of memoirs, it’s a good idea to first discuss the broad concepts. Last time, I mentioned that superior memoirs frequently DO reflect The Hero’s Journey.
That was our first meta-concept, so to speak. The second meta-concept is narrative style. This aids us in connecting with audiences and generating long-lasting resonance.
Narrative style can be one of those amorphous concepts that’s tough to define directly. Sort of like black holes.
Scientists don’t per se observe a black hole directly, as much as they suspect they might have a black hole because of what’s going on around a certain area in space (the behavior of light and nearby planets, etc).
This said, all creators would be prudent to keep some core principles in mind when writing anything from a blog, to a non-fiction, to a memoir. These principles lay the foundation for what we think of when it comes to ‘narrative style.’
This week Nicholas Rossis was busy blogging… I couldn’t decide which tones to re-blog – and decided to just publish his entire collection. He has fascinating and informative posts and this way you can decide for yourself which ones are interesting to you. Thanks a lot, Nicholas!
As anyone who’s been following my blog for a while surely knows, I love puns and bad dad jokes (often the same thing). And I often use them in my work, especially in my children’s books. Which becomes rather problematic when translating them into Greek. How can someone translate puns decently?
Rick van Mechelen, aka “that translation student“, recently shared an interesting post on this very subject. He cites Dirk Delabastita 1996 work* to divide puns into four categories of ambiguity. These are homonymy, homophony, homography, and paronymy, each of which is better suited to different forms of communication:
A pun where a word with multiple meanings is used to give multiple meanings at once.
A hard-boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.
A pun using two words that sound identical, but have different spellings.
First, a caveat: the Middle Ages lasted a thousand years in places as different as Iceland and the Holy Land. So, things differed from place to place and from time to time. After all, did your grandmother get married in a similar way to you?
No matter where and when, though, a general fact about marriage in the Middle Ages is that it was usually an economic affair.
This is not to say that the parties to a medieval marriage inherently lacked affection, passion, or sexual attraction. However, economic considerations played an important role in marriage negotiations and contracts…
This is a guest post by Daniela McVicker. Daniela is a contributor to Essayguard. She has a master’s degree in English Literature and is truly passionate about learning foreign languages and teaching. Daniela works with the students to help them reveal their writing talent and find their one true calling.
7 Tips to Write a Killer Book Presentation
Sometimes, a book you have written draws enough attention that you are asked to speak about it to an audience. You may be asked to present as a subject expert, talk about your material at a conference or convention, present at a book fair, or give a quick presentation as part of a book signing.
As they say, more people are afraid of public speaking than of death. Which means that most people would prefer being in a casket than giving the obituary.
My Ph.D. thesis, Design in the Digital Age: In Search of a Collaborative Paradigm, was all about finding novel ways to help designers interact with their clients. I had envisioned a tablet-based Virtual Reality environment with Augmented Reality elements for the client, thus allowing them to better understand what the architect or designer was trying to achieve. As for the architect or designer, Artificial-Intelligence software would significantly speed up the design process.
My thesis was published in 2000. Unfortunately, my vision has yet to be brought together by a software company, even though most of the elements I was describing are now widely available.
However, that doesn’t mean that technology hasn’t changed in other ways. As an article in IndiaCADworks explains, in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industries, new technologies are advancing with each passing day that makes the process of construction smarter, more streamlined, and indeed futuristic.
Thanks a lot for this great and educational blog post, Derek Doepker! This is definitely something to think about.
on Build Book Buzz:
Audiobook sales are booming.
In fact, Written Word Media said that audiobooks are the number one publishing trend of 2020. With this increase in audiobook popularity, savvy indie authors can reach a whole new audience of readers by creating audiobooks.
Just about every indie author can benefit from having audiobooks. There are a few exceptions, of course, including cookbooks and technical manuals. However, most genres make great audiobooks. This includes fiction, nonfiction, and children’s narrative books.
If you’re in one of these categories, read on to discover five reasons why you’ll want to tap into the audiobook market.
Kristen Lamb provides us with a blog post about creating a story-worthy problem that will captivate an audience. She writes this post in her incomparable unique witty way and still educates us. Thank you, Kristen!
The story-worthy problem is the beating heart of all superlative fiction.
Unfortunately, creating this central core can often be overlooked. This is particularly true for writers relying on school training.
English teachers didn’t mind we used twenty-five metaphors on one page because their goal was to teach us how to properly use a metaphor…not how to write successful commercial fiction.
Creating the core problem and then—possibly (depending on genre)—the many overlapping layers and misdirections, is tough mental work.
Story as Structure
Like any structure, a story demands a strong foundation and sturdy frame. Without structure, it’s easy for author (and audience) to become lost.
Without those elements? The story caves in. But, foundations and framing aren’t nearly as fun as picking out paint, furniture, or drapes.
Face it, for most of us, decorating a house is much more fun than building one. This can be the same for stories. Crafting the perfect sentence, poring over descriptions, tinkering with dialogue is fun.
Ari Meghlen published a fascinating and educational blog post, written by Tobias Salem of writing about a character with depression. I found the post very useful and highly interesting. Thank you Ari and Tobias.
Since I don’t have a guest post today, I thought I would put in one of the A Writer’s Guide articles I received since this series is going to be put on hold for a while, I wanted to share the last few I had.
This is part of the series of blog articles called “A Writer’s Guide…”. The purpose of this series is to give detailed information on skills and occupations that writers can use when creating characters.
Check out today’s article by writer Tobias Salem is on writing about a character with depression.
by Tobias Salem
It makes sense that, as writers, we may be expected or feel compelled to include accounts of psychological illnesses in our fiction. Maybe, like me, you are dealing with your own mental illness.
Or, perhaps, it’s your partner, parent, sibling, or child. After all, an estimated 25% of the global population will contend with a mental illness at some point.
Another informative and educational blog post by my favorite blogger Kristen Lamb. Thank you very much for your work, Kristen!
Get your head out of your ‘but.’ Yes, that’s ‘but’ with a singular ‘t.’ If we want to accomplish anything remarkable we have to own all of it—the good, the bad, the ugly. Often fears, doubts, insecurities, and bad habits wriggle in, and they’re so sly it’s frequently tough to notice them. How do we SPOT these dream killers?
It’s all in the ‘but.’
How do you know if you need to get your head out of your ‘but’?
You might find yourself saying things like:
‘I wrote as much as I could for NaNoWriMo, but this is just a really bad time of year and so busy.’
‘I was going to go to the gym, but there were all these emails I had to answer.’
‘Sure, I thought I had it in me to be an author, but it’s impossible to sell books these days unless you have a massive marketing budget.’
One my favorite authors, teachers and bloggers, Kristen Lamb, has published an informative blog post about 7 brilliant ways to finish your story. The ideas are fantastic and I thought it would be great for as many writers as possible to read it.
Image via Flickr Creative Commons courtesy of Pedro Travassos
Today we have a special treat from Dr John Yeoman, PhD Creative Writing. He’s going to give us some ways to tackle one of the biggest problems plaguing writers—the inability to finish what we start.
Take it away, John!
Do you live in a world of unfinished stories? Across the year, you’ve jotted scraps here and there, stuck an opening scene beneath a flowerpot, a closing line in a shopping list and a great cameo incident… well, you’ve forgotten where it is now but it was awesome.
Join the Club of Interrupted Scribes
Image via Drew Coffman courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
You’re not alone.
We all know what happened when Coleridge was interrupted, when finishing Kubla Khan, by ‘a person from Porlock’. All that remains of his epic is an unfinished scrap.
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