#AuthorToolbox Needing a Win, by Adam at Write Thoughts

This post was inspired by Why You Shouldn’t ‘Go All In’ When Starting a New Project(https://megdowell.com/2018/08/14/why-you-shouldnt-go-all-in-when-starting-a-new-writing-project/)

Recently I had a conversation with someone, and in the midst of that conversation, I realized how in recent times I’ve frequently said the phrase “I need a win,” and how true that is for me.

The more effort I put into something, the more invested I become, the more I want to receive a return, some form of validation, proving that I was right to invest. Granted, not everything works out, but there is a way in which, just as we need a certain amount of resources to sustain ourselves physically, we need a certain amount of mental/emotional support in the form of success.

This past summer I attended a talk where someone discussed how many recreational activities (notably video games), are built around guiding audiences towards a success, while simultaneously convincing the audience that failure was a very real possibility (when the reality is the experience was designed to end with a successful outcome).

At the time the speaker was extolling the virtue of experiences that actually allow audiences to fail (i.e. escape puzzle rooms), and while I agree with what he said, I think it’s also important to recognize that we need a certain amount of success in our lives, and writing can be a very long road, with many setbacks, before we can achieve that long sought-after outcome.

Click to read the rest of this great post.


Writing As a Waking Dream

I very much identified with this post as the way I write–and how feel about interruptions! A very interesting take from Adam at Write Thoughts.

Writing as a Waking Dream #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

How many here have struggled to “return to their story”? You sit at your table, pen in hand or fingers on the keyboard, but you’re not “ready” to write yet. You don’t “feel” the characters, or their world.

So you review what you’ve written; you do some random low pressure writing exercise, or maybe you just start “babbling” into your medium, and slowly, you feel yourself “returning to that world”. You can “feel” the characters, and “see” their world. Then something snaps you back. Someone has opened the door, walked into the room, and asked you a question, and just like that you’re “awake”. And part of you realizes there’s no quick route back to that “other place”…

Continue reading: https://writet.blog/2018/06/19/writing-as-a-waking-dream-authortoolboxbloghop/


Why We Like Stories by Adam at Write Thoughts

Discussing Why We Like Stories #AuthorToolbox (Part 1, The Unconscious)

Storytelling is a lifelong journey, full of unexpected detours; learning subjects that can include psychology, philosophy, history, and various scientific disciplines. We point to specific examples of stories and marvel at how they “do it”. Funny or sad, light-hearted or serious, simple or complex, but they’re all stories, which means on some level they share certain basic attributes. One of those attributes is what they do for the audience. I’d like to propose that all stories represent different ways of satisfying two basic desires: the desire to feel, and the desire to think…

Click the link below to continue reading this thought provoking article on why we like stories… https://writet.blog/2018/03/20/discussing-why-we-like-stories-authortoolbox-part-1-the-unconscious/

Show & Tell (Part 1) by Adam at Write Thoughts

“Show, don’t tell” is common phrase that attempts to oversimplify a complex topic. “Show” and “Tell” are both essential for good writing. They represent complimentary techniques for writing prose. It is true that telling is often easier, and as a result it’s frequently over used, but both have their place in writing.

Telling in a Nutshell

If writing is the art of using words to convey meaning, then telling is the technique of blatantly stating the meaning directly. “He was mean.” “She was nice.” “It was hot outside.” Few words have been used and the meaning is clear, but the significance of the meaning is left vague. Audiences know what the character thinks and feels, but almost nothing about the object of those thoughts and feelings. No concrete information has been revealed.

Telling is also very passive experience for the audience. Audiences don’t have to think to understand the meaning of the text. They simply absorb it.

Showing in a Nutshell

Showing, in contrast, is an indirect approach. Showing implies meaning through details. “Rain pelted the windows.” “He cradled the dog in his arms.” “She hummed softly as she worked.” By themselves, these phrases could mean many things. Perhaps he likes dogs, or perhaps he is a nice person. Perhaps she is a diligent worker, or perhaps music is an important aspect of her life.

As audiences learn more, the range of possible meanings narrows, until audiences are able to reach a conclusion. However, showing is not limited to a single meaning, and often carries multiple implications. It’s possible for the protagonist to like dogs and be a nice person.

Continue reading…Show & Tell (1/3)

Discussing the Role of Monsters – Author Toolbox Blog Hop

An interesting post by Adam at Write Thoughts on the role of monsters in fiction. A fun topic to think about as we approach Halloween.

Recently I finished watching season one of the FX series Legion, and while there are a few weak points, overall I thought it was pretty good. I was particularly struck by how they handled what I’m going to call the demon. They do eventually reveal the origins and nature of this demon, but I’d rather not spoil that for those who have not yet seen it.

In fact, that’s what I’d like to discuss. Legion has an eight episode season, and for most of it the demon remains a complete mystery. He’s a sound getting closer, a fleeting glimpse of a hand around the corner, an eye peering through the crowd. Look again and he’s gone, and you’re left to wonder “Was it ever really there?” The demon becomes the central mystery of the season, and that’s why it works so well.

Monsters represent the dark side of adventure and exploration. In a world humans have built by understanding and controlling nature, monsters represent something beyond our control. They make us feel weak and powerless, uncertain what’s possible, or what we can do. Often it’s the uncertainty that truly troubles us; whether it’s uncertain where the monster is, or uncertain whether it even exists. In many ways, monsters often represent a question, and sometimes an answer, but above all, monsters represent something we don’t wish to see, don’t wish to know. But how do they represent that?

Continue reading… Discussing the Role of Monsters – Author Toolbox Blog Hop