Renaissance: The Nora White Story

Dear Ms. Morrison,

Now that I’ve actually finished the first draft, received some feedback, and am on my way to the next part of the process, I’ve changed the name of my upcoming novel. I am almost brave enough to share some excerpts with you! Time permitting, I’ll be releasing chapters this fall and all that fun stuff.

New Title: Renaissance – The Nora White Story

Log-Line: “A young woman seeks to pursue a writing career in The Harlem Renaissance Movement. Meanwhile, her parents search for their daughter’s disappearance.”

I’ll have a full description of what this book is about at a later date. Stay tuned.

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Said is Dead

Writers check it out! Some words you can use to tighten up that dialogue instead of the dreaded said:

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Note: I want to edit this post to include something a blogger reminded me of in the comments because I think its important. It was something I woke up with on my mind and it occurred to me that I forgot to mention it in this post. So I hope you all don’t mind me adding it here:

Using said is still (and always will be) good just not too much as to make the dialogue sound monotone. Boring basically. However, you don’t want to go overboard with words that do nothing but show that you have an advanced vocabulary. All of these words must be used, obviously, with wisdom.

Excel At Being Yourself: Redefining Success

A man and his son were on their way to town. On their way they ran into different people. The first group thought someone should be riding the donkey. They thought it silly that the man and his son had a donkey that they were not riding. So the old man decided to ride the donkey. The next group thought the son should be riding the donkey. “How could he have his son to walk?” they thought. So the son climbed on top the donkey. Another group thought, “Poor Donkey. You two should carry the donkey,” they thought. So the old man and his son tied the donkey to a pole and carried him. The final group just laughed and laughed. “Why are they carrying the Donkey?” In the end, the Donkey finally got frustrated and ran away. So read a children’s book.

A man wrote a book. He Self-Published this book, and spent 200k on a book launch that failed. According to him, he didn’t make The New York Times Bestsellers list. Sure, he made other awesome lists and made enough money to quit his job. But he didn’t make the NYT so the launch failed, or so he said.

A Bestseller could be a book that just keeps selling. A book that people cannot stop talking about. A book that, years from now, will continue to make money. How much? It doesn’t matter. What matters? People keep talking about it. At least this is one definition of a bestseller.

Success is when you excel at being who you are and doing things the way you want it done. Perfecting your invention is what makes others want to invest in it because its original. Its something that hasn’t been done before. Why hasn’t it been done before? Because you hadn’t been born yet. Instead of figuring out how everyone else has done it, how about we redefine what it means to be successful by investing in the visions we’ve been given and perfecting them? How about we sharpen our blogging, writing, photography, or whatever skills we have and release this greatness into the world? How about we become professionals because we’re good at what we do and not because the status quo deems it so. After all, what is a professional anyway? More so, who told you that’s what it was?

Building – When The Writing Begins

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Writing does not begin until I can see the entire story, even the end. It is a must that I can see how the story ends. You see for me writers are builders, architects if you will. A book starts with an idea, but not all ideas should become books. Not all ideas are story fabric. Some ideas are meant to be stored for a later time, while others require immediate attention. When an idea enters my mind, I first examine if it’s worthy enough to mature into something more. Is it powerful enough? Can it change lives? Is it different? In short, an idea has to be special, like a rare diamond or a spring of water in the desert. Can we want for it? Does it make us hunger? Does it make us thirst? Not only is it a nice idea, but is it necessary? For me, it has to be something so powerful that it has the potential to grow; an idea that is without potential to grow is not an idea that is fit to become a book.

When I have an idea that is worthy, the writing doesn’t begin just yet. I mean sure, there’s a paragraph here, a sentence there, a potential character name somewhere over there. Lots of things can change as I am seeking to stretch the idea into something more; to mold it into something tangible. The title may change, the name of the characters may change, the setting, plot. I am picking out pieces and adding some. I am changing colors and creating lives. I am an examiner of bricks and mortar to see what fits. Restoring and conserving ideas, coming up with new ways to use them. It is even possible that I may begin to sketch out a stretch of chapters. However, the writing has not yet begun. It does not yet begin because I cannot see the entire work on the page, just shades of pencil and splashes of ink but there’s no real story there. No, words on a page does not mean I have written just yet. Words on a page are merely the sand on the shores, the bricks in the pile, the outer frame of a building with no substance.

When I can see the story move in my head; when I can see it walk its way around from camera to camera; when the dust kicks up and there are actually footprints in the plot; when I can see people speaking and acting and living, that moment when the wind blows for the first time. This is when the writing starts for me. The writing begins when I can hear the story breathe. When I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, the full construction on the page. Even how the book will end and this is when I can truly set out to navigate my way though this world. I am a spectator to a movie that has already begun, a director who must choreograph each scene. This is when I’ve began to write the first draft of a book. It is the moment when I know that the original idea is strong enough, and has the potential to be story fabric.

For Rose – A Story in a Single Image

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The city never afforded her body the chance to be this intimately part of creation in the way to which her eyes were now experiencing. The sun danced splashes of yellows on her skin and the light immersed her body into the landscape. Forty-two acres of earth welcomed Chelsea until her eyes were not big enough to hold all of it at one time. The sun seemed to come down from the sky to personally greet her and she felt a closeness to the heavens like never before. It was as if she could reach up to the sky and capture the wings of angels in the palms of her hands. A treasure of luminaries in a bowl of black dirt. The only sounds audible were locust and grasshoppers that leaped through the air like children playing hide and seek with the clouds and the growling motors of cars racing by. The land did not reach any homes on the right or the left for at least a mile or two nor were there any houses in front of her. Chelsea remembered feeling lonely and yet the way the trees stretched its branches wide reminded her of a mother’s embrace. Only Forrest stood across from her, a gate closed her into her grandmother’s inheritance, and community spoke like laughter beyond Sara’s womb. She bent her knees and crouched closer to the ground, plucking handfuls of grass from the rich dirt. She had to touch it to make sure that it was real. How could something so beautiful be the result of something so painful? What Grandma Rose left to her would nourish generations of children and her heart ached that Nana would not be here to drink glasses of lemonade on the front porch of their country home or eat tomatoes fresh from the garden. “Rose”. She said it below a whisper and let the smile crease into her face and wrap itself around her cheeks. It had been weeks since she smiled. Nana always knew how to do just that. Amazing how she consoled her even beyond the grave. The woman let the emotion wash over her and the tears race down her face and drip from her lips. The sun bowed its final curtsy before lowering itself into sleep for the night and Chelsea cried for the last time. Her tears all courage shaped in her throat. Finally, the grief had come to an end.

Knowing Where To End Your Story

Good advice. I would add that for me even just knowing where my story will END helps me to find my way to the beginning. Usually, if I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, then I can write the story.

YOURS IN STORYTELLING...

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The other day someone asked on kboards just what they ought to do if they knew where they wanted to END their story, but not where they wanted to START it from.

This is basically how I answered that question.

For me, a story is a little like a journey. It really helps if I know WHERE I want to start off from and WHERE I want to get to. It is kind of like that whole Google Quest map thing where in order to get directions you have to punch in BOTH locations to find out how to get from here to there, providing you don’t mind driving through that brand new school that was built last month and hasn’t made it’s way onto Google Quest yet.

:)

So – if, as in your case, I just DON’T know where I am starting from – I’d probably just try and…

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