Story Structure: Why Some Stories Fall Apart & Fail to Hook Readers – Written By Kristen Lamb

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.

This said, if you’ve read my last two posts The Quest: The Hero’s Journey Meets Memoir and Narrative Style: The Heart of Storytelling we didn’t ONLY talk about memoirs. Rather, we discussed where some fundamentals for writing great memoirs apply across the board to other types of storytelling.

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?

Structure.

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.

CONTINUE READING HERE

Narrative Style: The Heart of Storytelling & Why It Also Matters in Memoir – Written By Kristen Lamb

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.’

CONTINUE READING HERE

Finding Our Focus During Crazy Times: Only So Many Ducks to Give – Written By Kristen Lamb

Another fantastic article, published by Kristen Lamb, author, speaker, self-acclaimed ‘professional troublemaker’ and wonderful person! Thank you, Kristen!


Finding our focus has never been easy. Many of us have always lacked direction and fallen short on “clarity.” We’d multitasked ourselves into a daily fugue state long before COVID and quarantines and Zoom upended our lives.

Time somehow seeped through an unseen hole, leaking away one errand, email, trip, chore, or event at a time.

Ironically, I wrote a blog post Quiet: Have We Forgotten to Be Still in a World That Never Stops? back in February.

Um, so yeah. Oops. #CarefulWhatYouWishFor

Yet, to be blunt? At the time I wrote that blog, our Normal meant living life strapped to Hell’s Tilt-A-Whirl every…single…day. That is NOT healthy. We needed rest, quiet time and peace, yet we were threadbare and run ragged.

 

focus, stress, COVID-19, new normal, Kristen Lamb

 

I apologize for not posting for a while. It’s been VERY odd, especially since I’ve posted religiously no matter what for almost fourteen years. Suffice to say, this year—which started with yet another death in the family—had me ground down and exhausted. I seriously needed a sabbatical to recharge.

Moving on…

CONTINUE READING HERE

Advice: The Great, the Bad & Good Intentions Turned Toxic Dogma – Written By Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb, wonderful person, talented author, patient supporter and humorous advisor in one attractive body, provides us with a new great blog post! Thank you, Kristen.


Advice floats around everywhere. We get it from friends, family, cutesy memes, gurus, life coaches, books, television, podcasts and…bloggers *giggles*. We’re subjected to advice, whether we want it or not.

Please, let me be clear. Wise counsel is a good thing. Definitely.

We certainly don’t want to try and do this “life thing” with zero guidance. But the influx of so many opinions can be confusing, maybe even make us a tad crazy.

But these days, advice has gotten out of hand. It’s even invaded fortune cookies. Our FORTUNE COOKIES! Yes, we’ve been ordering a lot of take-out recently.

Remember those who persist enjoy success.

Okay, I’m throwing a flag on the play. THAT???? Is NOT a fortune cookie. Fortune cookies don’t offer unsolicited advice. I have a mom for that (I love you, Mom).

A fortune cookie is FUN and something we know is probably bunk, but would be super cool if it were true.

You will soon have good fortune in your endeavors.

CONTINUE READING HERE

 

 

Creating a Story-Worthy Problem That Will Captivate an Audience – Written By Kristen Lamb

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.

CONTINUE READING HERE

 

Ideas Collide: Powerful Storms are the Center of All Great Stories – Written By Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb once again teaches us about writing and how storms are the center of all great stories. Thanks so much for a new blog post and your education, Kristen!


Every story begins with ideas. Alas, stories can only be created when at least two vastly different ideas collide. The place where these ideas meet is the BOOM, much like the weather.

Storms erupt because of two very different bodies of air meet…and don’t get along.

Only one idea, however, can win. In the meantime, lots of metaphorical rain, lightning strikes and maybe some tornadoes. After the powerful storms, the landscape is altered, lives are changed, some even lost.

It’s the same with powerful stories. Yet, instead of weather fronts colliding, differing ideas are colliding.

It’s wonderful to have a great story idea. Alas, an idea alone is not enough. It’s a solid start but that’s all. Loads of people have ‘great ideas’ and that and five bucks will get them a half-foam latte at Starbucks…one day when it reopens.
Ideas are everywhere…especially now *sighs*

What differentiates the author from the amateur is taking the time to understand—fundamentally—how to take that idea and craft it, piece by piece, into a great story readers love.

Continue Reading Here

 

Quiet: Have We Forgotten to Be Still in a World That Never Stops? – Written By Kristen Lamb

Today I discovered that article on Kristen Lamb’s blog, a post I can fully relate to. She speaks from my heart! Thank you for that post, Kristen!


quiet, busy, productivity, business culture, Kristen Lamb, benefits of rest, rest and creativity, burnout, stress

Quiet. It’s a rather strange experience if one has grown too accustomed to the go-go-go pace of the modern world.

Recently—well, not too recently—my grandfather died. I was raised by my grandparents, so when a week and a half before Christmas he suddenly passed away? It was a blow.

Sure, he was 93. But, he was feisty like me and was far from the typical elderly person. He’d golfed (and played the entire course) until he was 90 and even a bit past that. He played cards and continued to battle crabgrass in triple-digit Texas summer heat armed with only a hand-sharpened garden hoe.

I kid you not, I went to visit one day and my sweat-soaked grandfather was digging up holly shrubs in 102 degree heat. He was almost 90 at the time. I suppose part of me expected he’d live forever. I’d at least expected to have him until 100.

Anyway, I caught a cold this past October, which, because I refused to slow down ‘enough’—which ‘slow down enough’ might as well be a friggin’ Leprechaun for me since I’ve yet to spot it—the cold turned into bronchitis in November.

This already had me down.

Continue Reading Here

The Synopsis: Why Love Hurts & Pain Can Be Good for Our Writing – Written By Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb provides us with an excellent blog post about ‘The Synopsis’. There is still a lot I have to learn and I’m grateful for Kristen’s advice. Thank you!


There is one word known to strike fear into the hearts of most writers. Synopsis. Most of us would rather perform brain surgery from space using a lemon zester and a squirrel than be forced to boil down our entire novel into one page.

Yes one.

But alas we need to embrace the synopsis for numerous reasons. First and foremost, if we want to land an agent, it works in our favor to already have an AWESOME synopsis handy because the odds are, at some point, the agent will request one.

Sigh. I know. Sorry.

A Quick Aside

When it comes to synopses, I lean toward the, ‘Better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission’ camp. Which is where already having a seriously spiffy synopsis helps.

Think of it this way. E-mail sucks. Getting lots of emails and having to juggle it all sucks. Agents get a lot of emails.

Since I am also a person who gets a ridiculous amount of email, I can tell you with conviction that I LOVE people who save me work. They do this by saving me steps.

Continue Reading Here

 


 

Don’t Advertise, PADvertise: Catch Readers With Their Pants Down – Written By Kristen Lamb

With her usual humor and direct way to say things by their proper name, my favorite blogger and teacher posted an article about ‘PADvertising’. Thanks a lot for that one, Kristen Lamb!


Seems writers are always looking for some new way to advertise their books, which is fine…but some folks have gone more than a little bit cray-cray. I finally fled Twitter, by and large, because it’s next to impossible to locate real hoo-mans among all the automation. My email has pretty much gone feral as well, but meh.

Today, let’s have some fun at the bots’ expense, shall we?

Okay, any of you who regularly follow my blog know that I am totally out of my mind a bit eccentric. I’m reposting this blog because a) I’ve been flattened with bronchial pneumonia b) I have to travel and c) this post never stops being funny…especially if you’re like me and have the same sense of humor as a fourteen-year-old boy.

This post was inspired when I was speaking in Idaho. I’d excused myself to the ladies’ room and, as I closed the door to the stall, I noticed all the advertising on the back of the bathroom door. This cluttered wall of ads made me think about all the authors spamming non-stop about their books on social media and via email.

Writers were becoming worse than an MLM rep crossed with a Jehovah’s Witness. Could the author book promotion get any more invasive?

Wait…

Maybe it could.

CONTINUE READING HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Sales or Lackluster Sales: It Isn’t the Reader, It’s the Book…Really – Written By Kristen Lamb

I discovered a new, brutally honest, but still in her unique style humorously written blog post by Kristen Lamb where she tells us about lacking sales of our books. Thank you very much for your advice, Kristen!


No sales or lackluster sales. It isn’t the reader’s fault. It’s the book. Really. This is tough to hear. I know.

It’s a writer’s worst nightmare. You researched, you wrote, you finished, and then published your book. You wait for the sales and….

*crickets*

This is something that can happen to any kind of author, traditionally or nontraditionally published.

We think we have a hit on our hands only to later be checking our work for a pulse. What happened? Why did everything go sideways? Where are the SALES?

 

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