I am a storyteller. I was wondering if you had any tips that I can use to improve my work?

#1

Just remember, "Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."
"The best way to become a successful writer is to read good writing, remember it, and then forget where you remember it from."
--Gene Fowler, American journalist, author and dramatist.

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#2

Write about what you know-- unless you're willing to do some serious research for your story, or have the capacity to create an entire world for your characters that has cohesion (like Tolkien), stick to what you know and build from there. Some of my favorite fiction writers like Jean Auel (Clan of the Cave Bear series) and Marian Zimmer Bradley (Mists of Avalon) did tons of historical research to make their fiction seem realistic. What impresses me the most about Auel's work is that she studied anthropology and made assumptions for her characters that have now been proven to be fact about the lives and convergence of Neanderthal and modern humans.
I also love Christopher Stasheff's sci-fi warlock series that blends historical facts with sci-fi fantasy. He did a lot of research to blend the past and present into an amazing planet that any cosplayer would enjoy.
Also, from all the literature I read and dissected in university, I believe that when you know your characters, they write their own story. Often, professors would ask us students if we knew why the author created their characters to be as they were, and my response was usually that greatest stories write themselves, the authors don't contrive anything-it's the characters that tell the author what to write. So use your intuition as a storyteller and let your characters speak through you.

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1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This should have been the text I wrote after "write what you know", but I diverged: James Alfred Wight, aka James Herriot wrote one of the most successful series of books based on his experiences as a veterinary surgeon in England. Louisa May Alcott based her books "Little Women" and "Little Men" on her life growing up in New England during the Civil War. Charles Dickens embellished his life living in Victorian England in "David Copperfield". Write about what you know.

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#3

Read every author in the genre your wanting to write in, and study their techniques. Audit (usually free) a literature class at your local or state university to learn more about storytelling. Read Shakespeare's plays as he's the guy who has literally and literarilly written every kind of scenario that involves every human emotion and action, successfully, and his works have been reproduced to be portrayed in original and modern contexts for hundreds of years. He's THE DUDE of literature. And, I think Shakespeare said it best to inspire us all - - “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy” so let your imagination guide you.

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1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I wish I was a stage or film director because there are a myriad of ways to portray Shakespeare's plays beyond what I have seen, in film or in local productions. "Macbeth" set in a fast-food restaurant was brilliant (Scotland, PA) . In my university Shakespeare class, we had to take 3 lines from one of his plays and make it our own. I worked with 2 classmates and we made 12 lines from "A Midsummers Nights Dream" into a modern scene at a bar. Puck was the bartender mischievously interfering with patrons. I wish I was a film director to réalisé this version of the play. If you're sly enough, you can rewrite any of Shakespeare's plays into a novel-there's no copywrite on his material, but savvy minds will know.

#4

In the opening line of Charles Dickens's 'David Copperfield', David states, “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show”-- and THAT is what draws readers in and keeps them engaged in a story. It's why most people love murder/mystery stories and programs. Whodunit?

I also think this is what keeps most of us motivated in our real lives. Are we our own hero?

Superheros are just regular folk with extraordinary powers. But I think we're all superheroes if we give ourselves the chance.

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#5

"There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages." - Mark Twain (aka Samuel Clemens)

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1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Rewrite, for yourself, a classic story using your own words to retell it. Or, write a sequel or prequel to a classic, like "The Wide Sargasdo Sea" by Jean Rhys, which is a modern prequel to "Jane Eyre". I rewrote Dickens "A Christmas Carol" as if Scrooge was suffering from influenza and had hallucinated the ghosts as told by his housekeeper. I kept the ending the same, but substituted the descriptions of his visits with the ghosts to the experiences of the housekeeper caring for him and how he exhibited his hallucinations while having a high fever and under the influence of medicine available in that era. I had to research the medical procedures in use at that time, but used Dickens for how Scrooge would hallucinate the treatments. My professor loved my originality.

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#6

As an exercise in writing: rewrite a classic story using your own words and vision of the story.

I rewrote Dickens "A Christmas Carol" as if Scrooge was suffering from a fever and hallucinated the phantoms, but from the pov of the housekeeper who witnessed his episodes of delerium and reported his behavior to the doctor.

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#7

Write about your life as a tragic comedy. Tell your audience about how you suffered but humorously managed to survive. It's a classic formula in storytelling.

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1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Honestly, I can give you a ton more of advice on how to be a good writer but I refuse to be a writer despite my history of wanting to be one. I've got stories to tell but I don't have the interest anymore to tell them to anyone. I wish you so much luck and good with your writing. I hope you find success.

#8

Never give up. Just rewrite your expectation.

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#9

“If you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities, and never give up, you will find a way. Follow your Dreams.” ~ Jane Goodall

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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Give your story to a critic for feed back, submit your writing to every publication the accepts independent authors. Don't be afraid! Accept criticism gracefully and as a learning experience. Writers aren't born, they are developed and edited to be best sellers.

#10

Best tip I can give is watch Abbie Emmons on YouTube.
She has really solid writing advice and covers a ton of basic topics.

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