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10 Storytelling Elements That Work

10 Storytelling Elements That Work | Write On! | Scoop.it

There’s a reason for why certain storytelling elements just keeps coming back, again and again.

 

Well, it’s because they work.

 

I’ve done some research and collected the different storytelling elements in one place.

 

Here we go:


Via Gregg Morris
Judith van Praag's insight:

Years ago, while studying screenwriting with John Truby I used the graph I drew after his story elements class to understand life. Over time I put together the elements that would make up the novel I'm finishing now.


Seeing this list, I immediately think: Oh, that looks like the timeline of my first marriage.
Which makes me want to add:

 

Stories don't need to have a happy ending, as long as the reader knows there are next steps that will be taken. Such endings make us long for more, for a sequal. Some writers do, for that very reason end with "to be continued".

Sometimes, or often, The End heralds a New Beginning.

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Sarah McElrath's curator insight, February 11, 2013 7:38 AM

I have heard Donna Napoli describe #3 as "the extraordinary on an ordinary day."

BookChook's curator insight, February 11, 2013 7:36 PM

Good to use as a scaffold with older kids who want to write fiction. Maybe change some of the language? 

Sanna Tyrvainen's curator insight, February 25, 2013 2:55 AM

I think we should all do this every now and again; reflect the above list to your life or to one day of our life. I'm sure it would make our lives feel much more eventful and exciting.

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Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft

Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft | Write On! | Scoop.it

Investigate the myriad ways we think about, talk about, and write sentences. In Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft, Professor Brooks Landon from the University of Iowa and —one of the nation's top writing schools— shows you the pleasure in reading and writing great sentences. Explore the stylistic rewards (and risks) of various sentence forms, learn how to build and appreciate effective and elegant sentences, get unique insights into the nature of great writing —and discover how you can achieve some of this greatness yourself.

Judith van Praag's insight:
Although I can't remember his speaking voice, I know my papa had the gift of gab. I know he drew people in with his storytelling. And I know I take after him. 
My mama liked to say that her mother spiced her speech with proverbs and sayings. 
While both grew up within Amsterdam's city center, my mother's voice was distinctly different from my father's. She was the daughter of a French governess, and a bank clerk, my father of diamond workers who traveled back and forth between Amsterdam and Antwerp for the trade. 
The two of them taught me by example how to play with words for effect. Intonation, direction, class distinctions, I learned to detect them all. Syntax was important, as was context, not to forget dialect or the lack thereof. 
They taught me to use my senses to take in the world, each teaching me words with special meaning.
Because of my early learning, I'm a little fearful of lessons that teach you how a sentence works. What if I won't be able to fly my own way? Perhaps this is the way to go. Perhaps it's not. The description of the items you'll find on the website look enticing enough. 
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10 Top Tips on How to Write a Novel Based on Your Life Story | Self-Publishing Advice Center

10 Top Tips on How to Write a Novel Based on Your Life Story | Self-Publishing Advice Center | Write On! | Scoop.it
Self-published writers are often told to "Write what you know but don't tell your life story". Novelist Helena Halme disagrees - and shows how to do it well.
Judith van Praag's insight:
The first advice I got about Turning Life Into Fiction was from Robin Hemley. He wrote the book. And that's not a joke. Although it could be, but he did, both turning fiction into life and writing the book with that title. 

Auto Fiction is what it's called these days. Short for Autobiographical Fiction. 

Turning memoir into fiction isn't as easy as it sounds. It's your own story, and therefor you're more likely to be stuck on "...but that's how it happened!"

Helena Halme suggest writing in third rather than from first person point of view. But merely doing thatis not the solution to the problem. You have to let go of certain details. 

Don't worry though, you'll get others in exchange. When you're able to let go of what really happened, you open the gate to new possibilities. Imagine that. 
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Be inspired: 100 best opening lines from children's books

Be inspired: 100 best opening lines from children's books | Write On! | Scoop.it
Revisit the most memorable and gripping opening sentences of 100 essential children's books.
Judith van Praag's insight:
Today, the beginning of Lewis Carroll's classic Alice in Wonderland might be seen as a run-on sentence: one with commas and colons, brimming with information, perhaps to much for modern children (or adults) who can't stay focused on anything for long. 
Yet it works! 

Long sentences can draw you in closely, like the smell of fresh baked rolls will guide you to the bakery. Long sentences rock! Sometimes, that is. 

By the way, I posted the cover illustration of my copy of Alice's adventures. 
Inside I wrote with pen and ink: 
Dit boek is van Judith van Praag
van papa en mama 
op 5 dec 1965
This means the book was a Sinterklaas gift I received less then a month after I turned ten. 

M. Buwalda was the translator.
The talented Italian Libico Maraja (1912-1983) signed for the illustrations. I was in love and am still enamored by the images. Later, when I studied stage design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and my class designed costumes for the amateur theater company Toetssteen, the cook as depicted by Maraja served as inspiration for a costume I designed and built.
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How to Start Your Novel

How to Start Your Novel | Write On! | Scoop.it
By Chuck Sambuchino One of the most common reasons why agents and editors stop reading sample pages is simply that the story starts too slow. Gone are the days when a book could “get good on page 12.” We also can no longer compare our writing to classic works or even books written 30 years…
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The times they are a changing. Where to start your story. Speed it up a bit. Chuck "Writing Tip Meister" Sambuchino uses True Lies by James Cameron to show how great opening scenes in a movie do not make for a compelling start of a novel. 
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What Should Authors Expect to Earn? – She Writes

What Should Authors Expect to Earn? – She Writes | Write On! | Scoop.it
Judith van Praag's insight:
What's the difference between a "legacy" and a "career" writer? Read all about (and shudder) it in Brooke Warner's clear expose. 
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Why Stephen King Spends 'Months and Even Years' Writing Opening Sentences

Why Stephen King Spends 'Months and Even Years' Writing Opening Sentences | Write On! | Scoop.it
The author of horror classics like The Shining and its 2013 sequel Doctor Sleep says the best writers hook their readers with voice, not just action.
Judith van Praag's insight:
Enjoy the article? Read Stephen King's Memoir of the Craft: On Writing. Interesting for all readers. The 5 w's, Who, What, When, Why (does it matter), Where, provide insight in the writer's life. Priceless for writers. 
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WRITERS: Don’t let the 1% factor stop you

WRITERS: Don’t let the 1% factor stop you | Write On! | Scoop.it
We’ve all heard the horror stories of your abysmal odds making it from slush pile to published author. If you haven’t, allow me to frighten you with some stats from the Web: Agents get …
Judith van Praag's insight:
I agree with Tawnya Showalter's headline, but other than that? At times it seems that another kind of slush feeds the myriad of mediocre books that line shelves real or virtual.

I'm a writer and editor, not by nature, I learned from the best, and the worst. The latter are not necessarily manuscripts that writers share for feedback, developmental- or line editing, but books published too soon. Too much content could do with another round of revisiting, re-visioning, and re-writing. 

Re-writing. Yes, the secret of excellent writing is re-writing. 

True, a wish for perfection has killed many a good idea, but going by the number of underdeveloped, inconsistent, badly written books, many promising manuscripts go to print too soon, without quality control. The editors of yore, who took pride in helping an author shine on the page, are hard to find. 

Those who work for today's publishing houses may have the right credentials, they're forced to operate in the first place like marketing and business specialists. I wonder how they sleep at night, claiming they love a book that would not have passed their scrutiny before. 

This said, if you're a writer, keep on keeping on, put your passion to work, do the best you can. And then have an unaffiliated editor give your manuscript the once over. You and your readers deserve the best! 
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If It Didn't Exactly Happen, Can It Be True? Andrea Simon on Research and Writing Historical Fiction

If It Didn't Exactly Happen, Can It Be True? Andrea Simon on Research and Writing Historical Fiction | Write On! | Scoop.it
Judith van Praag's insight:
Stepping back from autobiographical writing in order to be able to fictionalized events you only know about in a second-hand-like fashion is of great importance. The less you know, the more you may become a hackler for facts and the truth, for fiction you used the same, but in a different way 
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Bitch Media Submissions Deadline November 30, 2016 for Spring Issue Spring 2017

Bitch Media Submissions Deadline November 30, 2016 for Spring Issue Spring 2017 | Write On! | Scoop.it
Bitch Media Submission Manager Powered By Submittable - Accept and Curate Digital Content
Judith van Praag's insight:
Something to bitch about. Just kidding, do check out the print publication before submitting your non-fiction piece on family values.
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Fiction Writers Contests | Indiana Review

Fiction Writers Contests | Indiana Review | Write On! | Scoop.it
2016 Fiction Prize Final Judge: Aimee Bender Submissions to the 2016 Fiction Prize are now open until OCTOBER 31st midnight EST. Winner receives $1,000 and
Judith van Praag's insight:
Paying an entree fee for the Indiana Review contest is a good deal. A win-win situation. Yes, you help pay for the prize, you slow help the magazine survive, and you get a subscription for a year. And if you win, having Aimee Bender as Judge is going to add plus points to your resume.
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In Case We Die by Danny Bland - Book Trailer

Local 638 Records is proud to announce the September 2013 release of the audiobook of In Case We Die, the first novel by Danny Bland. Bland, a 25-yea
Judith van Praag's insight:
"Filthy, heroin soaked, nasty love story." ~ Danny Bland. 
How Seattle roadie, first time author got major musicians and other creatives to read chapters from his debut novel. 

Authors, think outside the box, but whatever you wind up doing, get good voices to read your book out loud!



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Lionel Shriver sparks censorship row in Australia after criticising cultural appropriation 'fad'

Lionel Shriver sparks censorship row in Australia after criticising cultural appropriation 'fad' | Write On! | Scoop.it
American author Lionel Shriver has sparked an international row about censorship, artistic licence and respect for minorities after she delivered a scathing attack on the concept of “
Judith van Praag's insight:
As a stage and costume designer for so called minority theater companies I've been excused from what could on another platform be called the heinous act of appropriation. After all, by visualizing the cultural identity of characters I helped actors in delivering their roles in the best possible way. 

Yet, as a visual (or studio) artist I've been loath to use characteristic elements of other cultures for my own art. 

Using tribal or cultural details for Robert Robertson's opera The Kingdom, or David Henry Wang's play The Railroad, was all right, stronger, was called for, but I would not use kimonos for my own art. This, while I'm happy to wear a kimono jacket, or shalwar kameez and kurta (Pakistani pants and frock).

As a writer, I pride myself in channeling the voice of an international cultural cast, in bringing to the page men, women and children. 

As a close reader, I can't find anything objective in Lionel Shriver's speech. If anything fault lies with the festival organization for changing the title of her lecture. Oh, and the speech naturally wasn't "entitled", as the Telegraph reports, or perhaps that was a Freudian slip, after all the Festival organization felt entitled to change a celebrated author's speech heading. 

And that young woman who got up and left the auditorium, well, she had a chip on her shoulder. She ought to write about that, become a voice that matters.  

Let's say anger is in the air.
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Intensity

Intensity | Write On! | Scoop.it
Ask yourself these questions: Do I wish for my readers to experience quiet, peace, placidity, and calm?  Or, do I wish for my readers’ experience to be intense?  I suspect I know your answer.  Who …
Judith van Praag's insight:
In this priceless post Donald Maass nails the essence of storytelling. Beautiful writing isn't going to get your readers hooked, you need moment after moment of tantalizing moments that keep them reading, wondering whether the protagonist is going to be okay. 
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9 Screenwriting Truths Learned the Hard Way in Hollywood - ScreenCraft

9 Screenwriting Truths Learned the Hard Way in Hollywood - ScreenCraft | Write On! | Scoop.it
ScreenCraft's Ken Miyamoto chronicles nine personal examples of screenwriting lessons that he learned the hard way in Hollywood.
Judith van Praag's insight:
Book publishers look for writers who have more than one book in them. Same is true for film makers. 
Says who? Says Ken Minamoto. 
You'll want to read the whole post, but pay extra attention to Tip #5 

So when you finish that first script, don’t even market it. Don’t even try to get representation. Don’t even send it out to anyone. I implore you. No matter how good it may be. Stop. Write some more. Get at least three great scripts in your deck. Then take them all out.
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Charlie Dare's curator insight, February 4, 6:17 AM
This is a good idea..'Book publishers look for writers who have more than one book in them. Same is true for film makers. Says who? Says Ken Minamoto. You'll want to read the whole post, but pay extra attention to Tip #5 So when you finish that first script, don’t even market it. Don’t even try to get representation. Don’t even send it out to anyone. I implore you. No matter how good it may be. Stop. Write some more. Get at least three great scripts in your deck. Then take them all out.'
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100 best opening lines from children's books

100 best opening lines from children's books | Write On! | Scoop.it
Revisit the most memorable and gripping opening sentences of 100 essential children's books.
Judith van Praag's insight:
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! 
You know a winner when you see one. 
Merely spotting the cover of the book you hear Dick van Dyke singing the title song of the movie.

The book has a great opening line, right? Otherwise it wouldn't be among the 100 on the stylist's website. 

I'd like to agree, but unfortunately I stumble over Ian Fleming's explanation of the word conglomeration. Sure, it's helpful that he adds between parentheses that it's a long word for bundles. 

A bundle of steel, wire, rubber and plastic I can picture, but electricity, oil, gasoline, and water? Eh ... the moment I stumble, I stop reading, I'm trying to picture what I read. Does it make sense? This is not merely the editor in me, this is the truly engaged reader, who finds something jarring on the page.

The words: "Toffee papers pushed down the crack in the back seat" however, draw me right back in. 
With that line, Fleming zaps me back to my childhood, reading adventures stories in my chair next to the woodturning stove. I even imagine tasting caramels and vanilla toffees I sucked while enjoying a good story.

As a reader I like to forget there's an author behind the words and sentences, I like to get lost in the story, transported to another world, or perhaps to my own youth. And thus I love authors who are careful editors, who take out the road blocks and stumbling stones. 
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On Selling Your First Novel After Umpteen Years

On Selling Your First Novel After Umpteen Years | Write On! | Scoop.it
Min Jin Lee
Judith van Praag's insight:
Eleven years, eh? 
Kudos for Min Jin Lee, she did it! Her post makes for compelling reading, she had a lot to deal with.

The link came to me via Facebook and writer Jeffery Renard Allen at his writer's retreat in Dublin, Ireland. How long did it take him to publish Rails Under My Back? Don't know, but he did get his MFA in Creative Writing, and that can help writers in in making connections.

10,000+ hours is what it takes to become a real good writer. 

Ten years is what Dorothy Alison told us, participants of her workshop at the Centrum Port Townsend Conference, ten years to write a book. Or did she say to get it published? I don't remember. 

Two years, that's how long it takes before your book comes out after it's been sold. 

I hold on to the memory of writers who started publishing at a mature age. Authors such as Frank McCourt and Mary Wesley. He published his memoir, Angela's Ashes when he was 60. Wesley published two children's books in 1969 at age 57. But she only became really prolific after her first adult novel was published in1983, when she was 71. 

Imagine how many thousands of hours they put in! Imagine the material they'd penned before they were ready to publish!

There's hope for late bloomers!


 
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What To Know Before You Submit: 28 Great Tweeted Tips from Literary Agents 

What To Know Before You Submit: 28 Great Tweeted Tips from Literary Agents  | Write On! | Scoop.it

(This is Part 1 of a three-part series to kickstart your awesome 2017. Part 2 is a roundup of query letter submission tips, and Part 3 is a list of literar...)

Judith van Praag's insight:
Need a literary agent? 
For starters, check out Chuck Sambuchino's Guide To Literary Agents Blog. 
The tweets collected in the linked post are filled with excellent advice what to do before you address an agent.
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Helpful Articles about Author Earnings - Income

Judith van Praag's insight:
Helpful articles for writers who e-publish and are not dependent on major publishing houses. 
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Great grammar tips: 7 reliable resources for writers | Now Novel

Great grammar tips: 7 reliable resources for writers | Now Novel | Write On! | Scoop.it
Great grammar gives your writing power. The author Joan Didion once said ‘Grammar is a piano I play by ear… All I know about grammar is its infinite power. To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of that sentence, as definitely and inflexibly as the position of a camera alters the meaning …
Judith van Praag's insight:
As an ESL writer my weakness is my strength, when in doubt I learned to look up how to spell, how to punctuate; when and where to place a comma, semicolon, or an apostrophe. 
In my native Dutch language, plural of a noun is created by using an apostrophe, in English it's not. 
Writing for the American market, I had to learn not to use British spelling, unless it's important to show the difference. And so on and so forth. 
Writers read, for craft, and entertainment. 
Writers, read for craft & entertainment!
Writers: Read for craft, and entertainment. 
Include grammar books and articles, it's all for the better.
And if you don't agree, please post a comment!
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Writing Consultant

Writing Consultant | Write On! | Scoop.it
SERVICES PROVIDED: Primarily, my clients include writers of poetry who have full-length manuscripts (~9,000 words) or chapbook-length manuscripts (~3,000 words) that would benefit from an expert’s advice on how to prepare it for publication. On a case-by-case basis, I can also be available to fiction and nonfiction writers, including scientists and researchers. My rate is…
Judith van Praag's insight:
Are you a poet & writer with a book length manuscript? Ready to have your work evaluated by an expert who values the right word as  much as you do? Jane Baugher is the word smith you may wish to consult before publication. 
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Playa Residency Playground for Artists & Writers

Playa Residency Playground for Artists & Writers | Write On! | Scoop.it
“The Playa itself is a constant and powerful presence. We worked on the playa long hours everyday and watched the shifting dance of light and dark, mirage and reality, earth and sky.  It wa
Judith van Praag's insight:
PLAYA's Fall 2017 Residency Application is now open. The application deadline is March 1, 2017. The Fall 2017 residency season will run from August through December 2017. All residency sessions will begin on a Monday and end on a Friday. Applicants may choose between periods of 2 week, 4 week, or 8 week sessions with 8 week sessions reserved for international applicants. If you have questions regarding PLAYA's residencies, or the application process, email them at info@playasummerlake.org.
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NaNoWriMo: Planning a Novel with Evernote Templates - Evernote Blog

NaNoWriMo: Planning a Novel with Evernote Templates - Evernote Blog | Write On! | Scoop.it
If you’re getting ready for NaNoWriMo (or just want to pursue a lifetime goal), our note templates for creative writing can give structure to your ideas.
Judith van Praag's insight:
Evernote is my go-to note pad on touch phone, pad or computer screen. Check out the writing template, perfect for NaNoWriMo —if you can bother to stop with your own system on day 9 out of 31.
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RARE: Novel Conceptual Artwork (June 2015)

https://rareproject2015.wordpress.com/ A parisian writer composes his new novel page after page through a serie of artworks: paintings, photos, videos.
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Another way of presenting Art & Literature. 
RARE
This is life, this is live, a still of ...
A still of life, of live art making.

DARE - Dare to create in a different manner.

After authoring and publishing many books the conventional way Stephane Zagdanski does things his own way. Perhaps he always did, but translated his method for the outsiders, who think they are not outsiders, but regular readers, viewers.

After learning perspective and anatomy, there's abstract.
The abstract stands for what's behind it all. 
What is behind this all?
Check it out: the trailer, rareproject15 on Instagram 

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SCBWI | Work-in-Progress Grants

SCBWI | Work-in-Progress Grants | Write On! | Scoop.it
Judith van Praag's insight:
This year's WIP Grants have been awarded. So if you're writing Children's or Young Adults' literature, get ready to submit your WIP for next year's application between March 1 - March 31 2017. Time flies, so get with it!
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Donald Maass

Donald Maass | Write On! | Scoop.it
Donald Maass founded the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York in 1980. His agency sells more than 150 novels every year to major publishers in the U.S. and overseas.  He is the author of The Ca…
Judith van Praag's insight:
Ready to send out your manuscript? Ready to query a top Literary agent? Make sure you cross your tees and dot your eyes, eh, i's. Something like that. The (head)hunting season is open!
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