Storytelling

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Storytelling

This is where I’ll share thoughts about writing and my journey to become a better writer.

September 14th, 2015|Author World, Storytelling|Comments Off on Storytelling

Who Else Wants a Mind-blowing Epic Hero?

 

16490732_sNow, don’t get upset men, I am talking about fiction books or film of course, fantasy really.

Physical Attributes

I struggled with what picture to place with this blog because I know everyone’s has his or her own ideal physical attributes. While searching, I found men of every race, height and size, all with their own appeal. So I opted for some male eyes. And they are quite male! I think we can all agree there are many men who would fit our requirements, so let’s just generally say we want our heroes to light our fires!

Heroic Actions

The heroes in our novels are often mildly heroic. Maybe they save the heroine from a bad guy or two or fight in a few small battles. But we aren’t talking your standard run-of-the-mill hero here. We are talking about a staggeringly mind-blowing epic hero. I want a hero who staggers across an entire continent, escaping capture from villains and overcoming obstacles to drop the ring into the Mount Doom. (The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. By the way, thank you Frodo for doing that!) When, an alien mother ship and its daughter ships hovers over the earth with plans to destroy the human species, I want a hero who will fly into the ship in a kamikaze attack to annihilate it, saving the world from imminent destruction. (Independence Day film script co-written by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin). In short, saving the world is essential.

Personality

I am really tired of heroes who are jerks. A hero who starts out sleeping with every woman in eyesight is no hero at all. A hero who treats the heroine with disrespect sucks as well. Heroes should be at least slightly discerning in their tastes and basically decent chaps, okay? At least the epic hero we are talking about here should be. Do what you want with small time heroes. This hero doesn’t lie, doesn’t get mad for idiotic reasons, and doesn’t change his personality as the story moves through. He is kind, works hard, cares about people, is hopefully brilliant, and we like him from start to end. My mind-blowing epic hero usually starts out as a common man who stands up to do great things when great things need to be accomplished. I’m sure that many of you men would be that hero if the necessity arose.What is your hero like?

Lilo

February 6th, 2014|Author World, Storytelling|52 Comments

Disparaging of Indie Authors is Dead Wrong

 

19547595_sAuthor is a fancy word for storyteller and storytellers have been around since before the written word. In no time in our history as a species have we ever before claimed that storytellers can only be those of the most educated and perfect at their craft. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Stories have been carved into trees, painted on cave walls, printed on bone and bamboo, etched into clay tablets, inked onto skins, and finally written on paper. Even while all this was happening stories were still being told orally in the market, around campfires, around the dinner tables and the family hearths, and in small gatherings after church. In fact, storytellers have been so intrinsically woven into our culture we have developed a multitude of words to describe them; bards, gossips, teachers, historians, singers, preachers, writers, poets, wise men, and even liars.

It is true that until recent modern times, and even now in developing countries, only the most educated were able to write at all, let alone to write proficiently enough to produce novels. Even as publishing came into own in the early 21st century, most people in developed countries were only educated to an eighth grade level. Now almost all people in developed countries are skilled enough to write, or type as you will. Among those who are, there is an entire gambit of skill levels with both the weaving of tales and the elegant usage of grammar and punctuation.

At what point did someone decree that only those most proficient at both the weaving of a tale and the editing of their work should be allowed to tell stories in book form? Is there a new law written that I was unaware of in existence? Did the Angels come down from heaven and sing this truth into human hearts? Perhaps it is simply that some publishers and their contracted authors are upset that their bookstore and internet ranking is being cluttered by independent authors telling their own tales?

Storytellers have never been restricted to the most educated. Even my Great Grandmother with her broken English told stories worth hearing while she crocheted on her back porch. I assure you those stories were worth more than $4.99 and I would have paid that, had she asked. She wasn’t polished, but that doesn’t mean her stories didn’t have flavor and value. It doesn’t mean her stories didn’t entertain and enrich my life.

library-425730_640The only real problem I see with indie authors telling their stories is when a reader expects polish and doesn’t get it. They expect polish because in recent history published books have been screened, revised, and shined up to gleam like gold perfection. But if a reader is only paying 99 cents, should they really expect polish? Logic tells you that a person can’t spend thousands of dollars on editing and break even if they sell their book for only 99 cents. So, how are they to pay for editing? They can’t. So, the reader should beware of a full length novel at such a low price. However, it can be confusing for the reader, because often a well editing, full length novel is put on temporary sale for 99 cents and in that case you can expect good quality.

I see a way to solve this problem and I honestly believe it will happen. We need independent rating agencies that will rate an author’s work (Indies and Traditional Pub.) against a couple of different aspects; such as plot, character development, voice, grammar and punctuation, formatting, etc. The author would be required to submit their work to one of a number of different agencies prior to publishing and they would be responsible for the fee. If they don’t care for the rating, they could revise their work to improve it prior to publishing. The author could resubmit their book again for a new rating based on the new version. The most current rating would be displayed on the work when it is published.

In this way, the indie author would have the opportunity to share their story and the reader would understand exactly what they are getting for their money. This would also be an excellent way for the indie author to get an unbiased opinion of their work prior to the market place without being penalized, so they can decide if they are ready to publish or if another revision is necessary.

Just remember, we are all storytellers in our own way and there is room for all of us.

Lilo

The Gorgeous Crazy Hat Lady (and why you want her in your book.)

 

8421083_s Fiction is primarily an escape from the mundane reality of our normal existence. We are trained to behave as robots, pushed by societal consequences into walking a narrow and predestined path. Often for many, for at least some small space of time, an abhorrence of our monotonous existence begins to fester. Or at the very least, we tire of always meeting expectations and obligations. Let’s face it, life can be boring. However, our books don’t have to be!

Not all stories, but many stories would benefit from the Gorgeous Crazy Hat Lady. This eccentricity isn’t typically a ploy for attention; instead, the character simply dances to their own tune. The rules of society seem to have little impact on them. When an idea pops in their mind, they just do it without inhibition. They exhibit the kind of freedom we sometimes wish we had.

This character is usually colorful in dress or personality, which creates wonderful visuals. However, the truly fun part is that their behavior is unpredictable and electrifying to the story. Sensational scenes or circumstances can be written around the Gorgeous Crazy Hat Lady because she is the most malleable character of all

6099582_sOf course, the character doesn’t have to be gorgeous or crazy or a lady, the hat is optional as well! Sometimes these extraordinary characters only display their unusual proclivities in one aspect of their personality. Imagine a tough burly man who cuddles with kittens or sings opera. What if the uptight secretary goes home to engage in a threesome? Perhaps the Spock-like brainy computer geek has a secret beanie baby collection. The wonder of creative writing is that the possibilities are endless. Even so, we more often then not see characters whose behaviors are limited to the norm.

In the Bluebell Kildare Series one of the supporting characters is a wiry, feisty older woman with enchanting green eyes. She also happens to change her hair color every other day. And by hair color, I mean fuchsia, ice blue, fire engine red, peach sherbet, and etcetera. She coordinates her hair dye to match her outfits and reads fashion magazines during her leisure. She doesn’t cook, but makes outstanding southern beverages instead. The time she saves by avoiding the stove is used to think of outlandish pranks to play against her would-be suitor.

She is in a word, interesting. Isn’t that what a fiction story should be?

Lilo

February 3rd, 2014|Author World, Storytelling|51 Comments

Weak Female Character Rant

 

19339201_sWhy do so many novels feature a weak female Heroine? I DESPISE them! Often the powerless female is paired with an Alpha Male or at least a Studly Hard-ass. I’m not talking about physical strength here. I’m talking about strength of personality, willpower, and circumstances. So many times I have read about the woman who is an abuse victim and the man saves her, or the woman who is poor and a rich man comes to the rescue. Then there is the ever-popular woman who is abducted or pushed around by a man yet ends up in love with him. Let’s not forget the woman who vacillates over her love for the man and stagnates in indecision. Variations on the theme are endless and authors keep writing it into their stories while readers keep buying those stories.

So what is it about people who want to envision a weak woman with a strong man? Is this just the survival of the species instinct where women desire stronger men? Do we women enjoy reading about a woman who is weaker than we are and therefore feel superior? Do we seek validation for our own weaknesses? I really would like to hear your opinions on this!

One of the main reasons I love reading and writing Urban Fantasy is that the heroine often gets to be strong and kick some ass. Give me a woman who knows her mind. Give me a heroine who saves the day. Give me a female character who meets her man on equal footing with comparable strengths. This doesn’t mean that the hero and heroine can’t help each other. They can! Just please stop with the one-way ‘man saves poor weak needy woman’ plots! Uggh! A weak heroine is hardly heroic at all!I believe that reading about strong female heroines helps empower us in our real lives because we get to pretend we are them for a while and eventually we get used to being them.

Lilo

February 2nd, 2014|Author World, Storytelling|50 Comments

The Alpha Male Character

 

27318101_sWho is the Alpha Male? Well, I went hunting for photos of the alpha male and ended up surprised. I expected to land on a photo of a half dressed muscle bound god of a male model that was completely drool worthy and spiked up everyone’s libido. I ran into plenty of them, sure. However, none of them said alpha to me. Why? It was in their face, their boyish quest for approval, their preening for the camera, their seeking of attention. The alpha male doesn’t seek attention. He simply receives it.

So what makes an alpha male? To me it is not physical strength alone, nor is it beauty. It is intelligence, self-possession, confidence, and the ability to accomplish goals. In my estimation, an alpha character is strong internally and doesn’t vacillate between decisions. He doesn’t jump to conclusions. He is admired by other characters and drives the plot.

The image I chose is not a man who is smiling for the camera. It is a man who has is eyes narrowed and appears to be deliberating his next action. He is not waiting to see what you think of him. He is not trying to please you. Instead of troubling himself with the frivolous, he is assessing you instead! In return, you are concerned with what he concludes about you. That is why he has your attention. That is the alpha male.

Lilo

February 1st, 2014|Author World, Storytelling|50 Comments