My wife and I have been brainstorming how to handle this Christmas Eve post. We’re thinking it should be something akin to a gift, though I hesitate to label anything smacking of counsel a gift.
But this is different. This particular sparkling gem of a tip can be the difference between your writing intentions and your writing reality.
Because if you ignore it, chances are your writing dream won’t come true.
What I’m about to share with you may seem obvious, perhaps even trite. So please, resist the urge to shrug it off and, instead, study these words closely.
Think of it as a gift to yourself. One you’ll thank yourself for later.
Here is just possibly the most important truth that you’ll ever hear about writing:
When developing your stories, you have two choices:
– you can bend the principles of storytelling to fit your story…
– or you can bend your story to fit the principles of storytelling.
Only the latter will get you published.
You may not be sure what those storytelling principles even are. If that’s you, I invite you to dive into the archives and/or stick around in 2010, because that’s all we talk about here at Storyfix.
Or, there are a million other places you can look for them. Literally.
Just don’t listen to anyone who claims – who even hints – that there are no rules, no principles, of storytelling. Especially if that someone is you.
Both you and they couldn’t be more wrong.
That particular lie is the great killer of writing dreams. If you catch yourself tempted to buy into it, realize that your writing dream is teetering on the brink of writing disaster.
You simply cannot write a story any old way you please and expect it to get published. It just won’t happen.
Like an athlete or a musician or a pilot or a surgeon or any other professional, you must practice and apply your talents within a given and largely inflexible set of principles that comprise the physics of your craft.
Physics that are as universal, eternal, dependable, essential and inflexible as gravity, taxes and death itself.
Step off a cliff and you’re going to die. That’s physics. Step off a cliff with the right set of wings and you’ll soar. That’s physics, too.
A pilot who in mid-flight says, hey, think I’ll rip off a wing right about now, see what happens, is going down.
A surgeon who says, hey, think I’ll administer the anesthesia after I slice this guy open, will end up with a career washing dishes. In prison.
This is not a joke. There is no humor in physics.
You’d be shocked at how many writers approach storytelling with a similar naïve defiance of the truth — the pure unmitigated physics — of today’s gift of writing wisdom. Don’t be one of them.
Give yourself the gift of surrendering to this truth. To the principles of storytelling.
Happy Holidays to you and yours. Enjoy your gift, and use it well.
And then, dream on.
The Get Your Bad Self Published Series will resume after Christmas.
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