The Joy of a Tale is in the Telling Part II: Magic Beans

During the first ever Adventures in Storytelling Suds and Stories (a real life meetup where community members hang out to enjoy company, beverages, and talking about stories), Amanda described Stephen King as ‘supernaturally talented,’ which is both incredibly apt and an incredible pun.  I can’t give you any proof, but I feel that King’s talent flows from an innate understanding of a simple storytelling truth (a truth that he puts on to the lips of Roland in The Dark Tower series): the joy of a tale is in the telling.

As we explored in Part I, a story is a space where the audience and the author meet and together generate meaning. Stories possess a wonderful quirk that complicates this idea, though. Once a story is told, it continues to exist independent of the person who originally did the telling. That might mean it was codified or recorded in some way, or it may just mean that it lives on in the memory of a person who was listening, but a story becomes an entity unto itself. Continue reading “The Joy of a Tale is in the Telling Part II: Magic Beans”

Adventures in Terminology: Verisimilitude

I’m going to be honest with you. It’s a bit rich of me to be spewing wisdom like “‘show don’t tell’ is reductive and potentially crappy advice” and “ideation is a key to success” because I have absolutely no formal training in writing whatsoever. Everything I know about stories comes from the other side. I have a lot of training in critical thought, and I’d like to think I’m at least adequate at it.

As a result, I’ve made some assumptions about writing in the past. When I make those assumptions, Luke (who does have formal training as a professional writer) usually manages to say something that surprises me. Often it’s insightful wisdom or highly organized, process-based logic, but he did throw me for a loop once. When I went off on a tangent about whether a character would be able to see mountains from where they were standing in a comment on a section of Charlotte’s Journey, I learned that Luke was largely unfamiliar with verisimilitude. Certainly not the concept itself, but the word. I always sorta figured it was writing 101 stuff, but there you have it. Continue reading “Adventures in Terminology: Verisimilitude”

Be Kind To Yourself: NaNoWrimo and Play 2.0

Last month saw the great time of NaNoWrimo, a time that most writers either ignore for it’s impossibility or dive into with the enthusiasm of New Year’s resolutions. I like goals and setting challenges. I like them so much that getting excited and assigning myself something unrealistic has become a step in the achievement process. Which then leads to that sought after end goal being unfortunately missed.

Continue reading “Be Kind To Yourself: NaNoWrimo and Play 2.0”

It’s a Bit Formulaic, Wouldn’t You Say?

Here’s an important fact about me: I stink at storytelling.

I don’t struggle to write. When I have an ongoing project, I write every day. Maybe not the NaNoWriMo-approved 1,667 words, and sometimes not even the Chuck Wendig-approved 350, but I get some words on the screen. I’ve worked hard to cultivate that “thinking comes later” attitude that Luke mentions in his comment on Madeline’s Play 002 post. Continue reading “It’s a Bit Formulaic, Wouldn’t You Say?”

Writing Wrongs: Doing Right by your Villain

Last month, I wrote a section of Charlotte’s Journey that is told from the perspective of our villain, Count Vilnius. When we eventually assemble the jigsaw puzzle and put all these sections in order, “A Vile View of Vilnius” should be the second chapter dealing with our big bad, but in draft format this section was the first time Luke and I had privileged access to Vilnius’ thoughts. It was also the first time I had a chance to write the character at all.

The constant refrain when writing Charlotte’s Journey has been “do something simple very well.” The simple part is so that Luke and I are working in a frame we’re familiar with. The very well part is there so we challenge ourselves in that frame. Although I’ve encountered a number of difficulties writing Charlotte’s Journey, writing Vilnius was perhaps the most difficult so far. As it result, it may also have been the most rewarding. Continue reading “Writing Wrongs: Doing Right by your Villain”

Facing the Challenge of a Disrupted Schedule

Luke and I have been talking a lot about process lately, both here at Adventures in Storytelling and in our conversations with each other. Although the going is slow, both Adventures in Storytelling and Charlotte’s Journey are chugging along happily, so much of our conversation has dealt with maintaining our creative pace. The best strategy seems to be establishing and sticking to a routine. Once again, Luke and I have discovered something that is already well known! We’re accepting awards for redundancy. Continue reading “Facing the Challenge of a Disrupted Schedule”

Planning My Way To Q: a 3-Stage Experiment in the Creative Process

“I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.” — William Faulkner

I haven’t finished a story in… years. Articles, sure. But a full-fledged short story—not since before the end of my undergrad. Even my final creative writing project was handed in as a less than final draft. I would sit down with the beginning of the story and a picture of several neat scenes in my head. I’d muddle through from the start, hoping I’d stumble my way into a setup that would allow those scenes to happen. In other words, I’d have a clear image of scene-Q, I’d formulate a quick, barebones outline to get started, write the first line… And lose my way on scene-D, long before I got anywhere near Q. I could see the parts, but when it came to writing the prose, I struggled to get myself to the finish.

In short: my writing process was not working for me. Continue reading “Planning My Way To Q: a 3-Stage Experiment in the Creative Process”