As hard as it is to write a story with all the commas in the right places…

img_2351-19As hard as it is to write a story with all the commas in the right places, subject-verb agreement, a correct POV for each scene, a fast pace, great dialogue, and engaging characters…

…all that is only half the battle.

The other half is coming up with a compelling story idea.

Readers will stay glued to their seats if they are intrigued by what you’re writing about, and then the commas don’t matter anywhere near as much.

6 thoughts on “As hard as it is to write a story with all the commas in the right places…

  1. Dan, I am a 79-year-old female. Later today I plan on being a 35-year-old lady (this is the “whammer” you suggested I use so the reader would continue reading). At the Bloomingdale library where you recently spoke I sat at the front table all by myself.

    My mother informed me about fifty years ago that I should write a book. Ok, if she is watching from heaven my book was started this year. I now have 54 pages and 20,645 words. But I don’t want this to be only a chronological listing, I want it to be a story about my life and my family. To that end, my husband and I have been to Illinois and Wales searching out information. As a result, I believe I have the factual information I need. Although my desk has been taken over by how-to-books on writing, I believe I need a class, a website or a group of like-minded individuals in order to hone my writing skills.

    Can you suggest where I should go from here? I think I have all the necessary dots, I need to learn how to connect them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let the information you have collected serve as a backdrop. Think about the Tom Cruise movie Far and Away. It was the story of a young couple set against the Oklahoma land rush.

      The most important thing is to tell an interesting story against the backdrop of information you have collected. Because if people wanted a history book, they’d just buy a history book. They want to know about your characters. They want to follow the story that you found so fascinating.
      Back in the 1970s there was a mini series called Centennial, from the John Jakes books. I would buy the DVDs and watch that miniseries because it’s an excellent tutorial on how to tell your story against a historical backdrop.

      Watch it once just to watch it and enjoy it, then watch it a second time to take notes about when they transition from one main character to the next main character’s story. It will be hugely helpful to you and a better investment than any set of books. Most of the time you just Gotta start getting the story written. After you have it written you’ll be able to let it rest and then look at it again, and the most important thing is to tell it like a story. People don’t want to be a collection of facts.

      By the way, if you were the lady at the front Table all by yourself, I think you were also the one who wanted to use a credit card and my reader was malfunctioning. I left a copy copies of the books you wanted with the ladies who set up the meeting, so you would be able to get them. (I wish I had thought of it while you were still in the room!) We can get payment to me once you get your books. But anyway, they have some books for you and if you want to use the “contact me” button here on this blog, we can make sure you got them!

      Like

  2. It is late Saturday night and I am so very thankful for your response. I’ll probably dream of my best seller tonight. Monday I will try to get the books and somehow pay you…maybe credit card?

    Like

What do YOU think? Let me hear from ya.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s