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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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?
Maybe it could.
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….
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?
Kristen Lamb, one of my very favorite bloggers whose wisdom and helpful educational blog I appreciate very much, published an amazing post about writers and the Holidays. Thanks so much, Kristen!
It’s the holiday season, and this is a tough time for most people. For, writers, it’s peace hell on Earth, largely—though not entirely—due to the whole ‘having to wear pants’ thing.
We authors, historically, have been a misunderstood group of people.
Burned as witches. No holiday there. Survival rate after a political coup? Close to zero. Odds of being shot? Pretty much hundred percent, which correlates closely with odds of keeping mouth shut #FunFact.
Friends and loved ones still invite us to holiday gatherings. Sadly, no ‘burned at stake’ or ‘firing squad’ option. Those require pants, but less talking and no prerequisite to bring some dumb@$$ ‘White Elephant’ gift and a nut-free appetizer.
*makes note to hunt down and murder person who invented ‘White Elephant’ game’*
*Why is the elephant white and not pink?*
*makes note to google that later*
*makes note to put that in novel and kill it*
*along with the person who invented it*
Where was I? Oh yes, holiday stuff. Writers. Why writers should be able to qualify for service animals every year. Holiday honey badgers that bite.
Kristen Lamb provides us with a great blog post about selling books offline. Thank you very much for this very helpful post, Kristen!
Unplugged and Internet-free. Sounds like heaven to me. Why am I posting on this? Well, someone in the last post commented and asked me to blog on how to sell books without the Internet or social media. If it was even possible.
Is it even possible to sell books unplugged? Good food for thought. Of course, my first thought was, ‘Is it even possible to get unplugged in the first place?’
Funny to think that it wasn’t too long ago that a half-baked plot with a terrible love story captured our hearts. A horrible movie (by all accounts) made us all misty-eyed, because of these three words…
Kristen Lamb provides us with a great blog post about villains and how evil they can be. Thanks so much, Kristen. You know we all enjoy your posts!
Evil has been one of the most fascinating topics among humans since we created the ability to have heated conversations. Humans would gather to argue over roasted mammoth after the hunt was over.
Was Urg’s son, Perry, simply hard to handle or evil? If he was evil, then why? Had the gods cursed him somehow? Too many blows to the head?
Maybe the parents were to blame.
Granted, Perry’s mother, Yell, was better with a battle club than her husband. Urg preferred chewing mammoth skins and decorating hides.
Yell was awesome at killing stuff and the whole tribe was on a list for Urg to renovate their caves, but all this aside?
Young Perry was simply terrifying.
To be fair, Perry’s insatiable urge to kill small animals kept them all with plenty of snacks. He also loved to set these things called ‘fires’ and those had seriously come in handy, but still.
No one trusted him near the small children and babies, mostly because they tended to go missing.
Kristen Lamb published a very interesting, fascinating and relentlessly honest blog post about a lack of talent and authors. Thanks so much for sharing your point of view with us, Kristen!
Talent is so utterly subjective. How can we know if we actually have it? Recently, I was chatting with my cousin who’s an incredible artist.
She mentioned how, no matter how many compliments or how many sales, she can’t help but feel like an imposter.
I, of course, responded that authors suffer the same malaise. Imposter syndrome is alive and well, and it doesn’t matter how many books we write, the titles we earn or how many books we sell. For a lot of us? We still can’t help but feel like a fraud.
That we don’t actually have any talent. Oh, and that any moment someone might find out we’ve fooled the world and have no talent at all.
All of this posits the eternal question…
Are there just some people who simply lack the talent to be a successful author?