Are We Losing the Art of Storytelling?

Are we too impatient to write and too impatient to read?

In our culture we want things quick, short and to the point. That doesn’t work well for fiction writers. Fiction readers may still want a book with depth, character development, rich descriptions, fully developed thoughts and a storyline. However, that takes time to write. Time to craft, plot and rewrite.

A writer gets an idea for a story. It can be written out in a few sentences, just enough for them to come back to later and flesh it out. Or, those few sentences can be shared as they are, instant gratification. The reader will have the idea, but not the story. Would they have taken the time to read it anyway?

I’ve been reading older books, written in the 1800’s. I can see a different writing style in them. Different cultures, different readers and different writers give a book the flavour of the time period it was created in. The story telling is influenced by the culture of the times.

This can work against the story, the book. Some of them are a lot of reading with old fashioned words I have to look up in the dictionary, or just ignore and assume I have the general idea. Descriptions can be endlessly long, at least they seem that way to me, reading them now. The story may wind far off track and give a lot of information which seems unimportant to me, as a modern reader of the old tale.

How will our books seem to future cultures? Even now, in our own time, how much of the richness and depth of the story are we losing?

Don’t think it’s just readers who expect a short story. How often as a writer have you cut things shorter? How often have you not had the patience to let an idea grow and evolve before posting or publishing it? We get an idea and push it out there. We rush our stories. We cut our stories down to size, not just because readers are less likely to read them, but we ourselves are less likely to write them. Move on to the next quick post, the next idea, the next project rather than let the current one take up too much time.

This was a short post. Did you read it all, or skim most of the way looking for bolded text to sum it all up?

Who are you When you Write?

You know what you are writing, who you are intending it for and what you hope to achieve with it… but, do you tell readers who you are? Why is your information important, what is your point of view based on?

Writers don’t need to introduce themselves with an official introduction (though you should have an author bio somewhere). You can slip in information about who you are as you write the information. Write about how you were able to get the information. Write about your experience using the information/ product/ idea. Include yourself in what you write. Don’t keep it sterile as if a machine wrote it.

2. Who are you?Writing comes from someone. Are you writing as scientist, reporting the facts? Are you an angry op-ed writer, seeking political action? Or are you perhaps the voice of an institution, putting up an official warning sign in an official place?

Source: Seth’s Blog: Simple questions for writers

Create Personal Door Signs

My personal door sign would be: Silence is Golden.

We have so much chatter, clutter and noise in our lives every day (and I’m one of the few who choose NOT to add a mobile phone to all of that). I love a quiet day. I might run the TV in the background but I find, more often, I forget to turn it on. I seldom pay attention to it so I don’t miss it when it’s just part of the blessed silence.

Most of the time I don’t need to enforce my sign. I ignore the landline, don’t have any other phone and I can check email when I need some time to procrastinate or take a coffee break. I don’ t live alone however. People are harder to do any enforcing about. But, it would be a weird world if I really were completely alone in it.

In order to let our creative side flourish, we often need to set parameters for ourselves in order to pursue and achieve the things we really want to achieve. Often times we simply need to keep different types of spaces as clear as possible so that we don’t get distracted or held back from what we’re passionate about.

For today’s prompt, write and/or draw three signs that you would hang on your home door, work door, or even your forehead to let others know what you allow and don’t allow in your life. For example, a sign might be, “No Gossiping” or “Please Knock First.”Now write about your signs and how you will enforce them, or how you already enforce them. Are there ways you can communicate your signs without actually posting them? Or should one or more of them be physically posted?

Source: Day 4 #NaJoWriMoPrompt: Create Personal Door Signs – National Journal Writing Month

Before Discovering New Shores

One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” — Andre Gide

I like the quote but it leads me to question what the shore is. Where is the shore for you? Is it something you can actually touch and hang onto or is it less tangible? Do you even have a firm idea just where or what your base (shore) is?

I don’t. I’ve moved a lot in my life. I haven’t felt any one place was really mine for a really long time and even that only lasted a short time.

Does that make it easier to leave the shore behind and try new things or harder? Not something I have thought about before.

How about you?

Don’t Give Up Just Give More

If you feel that you will not be able to achieve your goal in the set time period, you can extend the time period. Extending the time period is far better than giving up your goal. When you extend the time period, make sure you give up doing other activities that are less meaningful so that more priority can be given to your goal.

Source: 5 Must Know Things on What to Do When You Feel Like Giving Up Inspiration Success Storys

I liked this tip best from the list. (See above).

I’m a perfectionist. You wouldn’t know it from everything I do but… I am hard on myself. I tend to feel I have failed too easily. Instead of giving myself more time, or getting help, or giving myself a break or looking at what I have done versus what I have not done, I will feel like giving up.

One of the worst things for me to hear is someone saying they want results, not excuses. That’s fine for people who perform like robots and have super powers (or no family with demands and expectations and needs)… I’m not a robot. I don’t want to feel that my life has so little value that it’s just an excuse for why I couldn’t deliver perfection on schedule.

Of course, this does not mean we should all slack off and get around to it eventually. I have high expectations of myself too. But, if someone demands too much they aren’t likely to get it from me. That includes myself!

Support Yourself as an Authority

It is all too easy to doubt yourself. Just wait a few seconds and the doubts will begin seeping in. One terrible thing we do to ourselves is comparing to others. This nitpicking at ourselves undermines our abilities and confidence. Give yourself some credit and… stop demanding perfection of yourself.

It is OK to make a mistake –  you can change mistakes into positives.

Let yourself have an addendum if you find out something more. Write a follow up if you change your mind.

Don’t think you must have everything right every time. Let yourself learn and share that with people. I’d trust an authority still learning over one who is unbending and thinks they already know it all. No one knows it all.

Share what you discover and learn. How did you find out about it? What was your experience trying out the new idea or method? Be human and share what you know, what you discover and even the stuff that doesn’t work out at all.

Your mistakes are genuine proof that you are involved and care about your topic (whatever you are an authority for).

Never Doubt Yourself

Do not doubt yourself as an author. Be firm and resolute in your writing.

Never say “IMO” or “in my opinion.” Your reader already knows it’s your opinion. Speaking that way screams uncertainty, and casts doubt on the content you’re presenting.

YOU are the expert. Don’t forget.

Read Industry Stuff Often.

Read a lot of blogs and websites in your industry on a regular basis to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on.

This keeps you informed and on top of trends. You’ll be able to write from a solid frame of reference and won’t appear detached.

Source: 10 Writing Tips for More Engaging Content

Writer from Another Planet

What would you write to a writer from another planet? Assume they can translate our language; they still won’t know our culture.
typebugI’d write to them about typewriters. The history of how typewriters were invented, how they were used (for business, letter writing and typewriter art too). I’d show how typewriters evolved into word processing with computers. I’d write about the old vintage typewriters becoming obsolete and forgotten.

I’d like writers from another planet to know about the technology of writing and how it changes our style of writing.

The way we were able to publish, improved from the days when books were hand written and drawn. Also, the loss of illustrations and other old fashioned techniques from the days of hand written books created with older techniques of bookbinding.

I think it would be important for writers from another planet to see our history of how we write and how it changed. I’d want them to see the value in our printed words, beyond the words themselves.

Art source: Toonpool

Photography Replaces Writing

photograh

This was my Twitter post today. What do you think? Will written content lose it’s place to photography? I think it already has.

Most people want to get news and information in seconds. The image with a story, is the story. Writers post images to illustrate the story, or a point in the story, or just to add something visual. Photographers, capture the story in an image. Of course, the image can’t give all the information. However, people see the image and decide they know the entire story.

They might read photo’s caption, if there is one. They might read at the headline, once or twice. Headlines are easy to find in the content, easy to read too.

Headlines and subtitles can give some detail but they weren’t written to tell the whole story. These days the snippets of written content might be all anyone reads to form their opinion and decide what the writer/ journalist was communicating.

The Internet is changing how we read, how we gather information and how we evaluate what we find. Details get missed. Assumptions are made and stuck with religiously. Kind of like the Emperor’s Clothes. If everyone says so it must be true. We don’t have time to gather facts and come up with our own opinion. It’s easier to take up the popular opinion and defend it as truth because if it’s wrong… we might look stupid.

So much is changing. Writers need to become photographers or image makers if they want their content skimmed/ read at all.

Writing for a Laugh

The biggest problem with writing comedy or humour (for me) is trying to be funny. Chances are, when you actually try to be funny you don’t succeed. Humour tends to be impulsive and it works best when it isn’t expected.

The funniest stuff isn’t someone having an accident or getting hurt. Pain and suffering are not funny. Though people will laugh when they are nervous or upset. Is that really the kind of laugh you, as a writer, are looking for?

Humour works best when it takes us by surprise.