Staying Grounded in Basic Storytelling Principles

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This last year I’ve really gone ‘dark’ as they say, which means I’ve been very quiet (and unproductive) on all fronts. It’s been a good break, a needed break so I could recharge and take care of myself, but now it’s time to get back to work.

When I’m struggling with a section in my WIP (work in progress for you non-industry folks), or trying to re-wrap my mind around my story I return to basic tools for guides out of that self-imposed darkness.

Larry Brooks, who if you don’t know him yet, you should – who writes writerly-how-to books is one of the gurus (via his books and blog at Storyfix.com) that I return to over and over again. Not because I’m that stupid (well, not always) but because stories, characters, plots, themes and all the magic elixirs that make up a story world, are fluid, changing, often morphing into something completely different from what I thought I started out to write. So back to the basics I go. If I don’t go back to those grounding basics of storytelling; premise, concept, plot, theme and so on, then I get lost in the words. SO MANY WORDS! And when I get lost in the words it takes FOREVER to finish a project, be it novel, short story or essay.

Oh, and when I said my story could ‘often morph into something completely different’ I meant it. I recently had a conversation with Hollywood script guru, Michael Hague (author of too many books to mention here) who asked me which aspect of my story fascinated me the most, because, he said, that’s where your passion lies and that’s what you should follow. My answer shocked the baggeebies out of me. So, with that answer, which I wont’ share here…maybe later in another post – changed my entire story. After the initial shock, I was happy our conversation happened when I was only 150 pages in.

When a local writer friend, Pam Carter (Writer, Producer and Playwright) asked me about premise,

            From Larry Brooks Workshop materials

I realized during our conversation about hers that I actually needed to re-consider my original premise now that the story had changed so dramatically, and so revisited all my information on premise and concept. Again, back to Larry Brooks

 

who teaches this stuff like hell fire and damnation from a preacher ablaze with the truth. If you’ve seen him live you know exactly what I’m talking about.

So while I press through; re-entering my story world, getting back into a writing groove, editing, re-outlining and all the other blue-collar work a writer does to create a story-world and narrative that will be of interest to readers, I wonder, what tools do other writers return to time after time, and why? Okay, back to work.

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8 thoughts on “Staying Grounded in Basic Storytelling Principles

    RedheadedBooklover said:
    June 9, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Hi there! I never normally do this but I had to comment and tell you how much I adore your blog! I just came across it now and I am so happy I have, it is so wonderful and you truly have a great blog. I am going to follow you so I can keep up to date with all of your latest posts. Keep up the great work!

    Like

      Mindy responded:
      June 9, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Well thank you! I just took a gander at your site and love it as well. Dragon Tattoo is one of my favorite books of the last decade, and the movies (both English and Swedish) are fantastic. If you’re ever in need of another novel to read check out mine (thriller/love story) at http://amzn.to/2reLupH it’s free on Kindle unlimited this month only. Thanks for connecting. Cheers, Mindy

      Liked by 1 person

        RedheadedBooklover said:
        June 9, 2017 at 7:59 pm

        Aww you are so welcome! You have a wonderful blog. Do you have Twitter or Instagram? I just made accounts and would love to follow you!
        Thank you for your kind words! I am so happy that you adore dragon tattoo it is epic!

        Like

        Mindy responded:
        June 10, 2017 at 3:50 am

        Let’s connect: Here’s twitter https://twitter.com/
        and here’s my Instagram https://www.instagram.com/mindyhalleck/

        Liked by 1 person

        RedheadedBooklover said:
        June 9, 2017 at 7:59 pm

        You’re book sounds wonderful, if you like you could email me about reviewing it. I do have details and a review policy but if you emailed me we could discuss it (:

        Like

        Mindy responded:
        June 10, 2017 at 3:48 am

        I’ll do that. Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

    Behind the Story said:
    June 11, 2017 at 5:11 am

    I, too, return to my favorite books on writing over and over again. It’s a good way to get back on track and see what you may be missing.

    Like

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