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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Once Upon A Time



Once upon a time ...

     there was a  telegraph operator, Lester Dent, who worked the graveyard shift. One of his co-workers sold a story for $450

--which was a fortune at the time--

and Dent thought, "Hey, I could do that!"


Turned out he was right.



Dent eventually wrote over 159 novels over 16 years
--and that was just the Doc Savage novels! 

He celebrated his affluence by buying a yacht and sailing around the world.

He had a Master Formula to write a selling 6,000 word short story.

 "There is a formula, a master plot, for any 6000 word pulp story. 

It has worked on adventure, detective, western and war-air.

 It tells exactly where to put everything. 


It shows definitely just what must happen in each successive thousand words.
 

No yarn of mine written to the formula has yet failed to sell."

Here’s how it starts:
 
1. A DIFFERENT MURDER METHOD FOR VILLAIN TO USE

2. A DIFFERENT THING FOR VILLAIN TO BE SEEKING


3. A DIFFERENT LOCALE


4. A MENACE WHICH IS TO HANG LIKE A CLOUD OVER HERO



FIRST 1500 WORDS

1–First line, or as near thereto as possible, introduce the hero and swat him with a fistful of trouble. 

Hint at a mystery, a menace or a problem to be solved–something the hero has to cope with.
 
2–The hero pitches in to cope with his fistful of trouble. 

(He tries to fathom the mystery, defeat the menace, or solve the problem.)
 
3–Introduce ALL the other characters as soon as possible. Bring them on in action.
 
4–Hero’s efforts land him in an actual physical conflict near the end of the first 1500 words.
 
5–Near the end of first 1500 words, there is a complete surprise twist in the plot development.

The rest of the MASTER PLOT can be found here:
 http://docsavage.org/2009/08/lester-dents-secret-master-plot/


Then, there are ROBERT HEINLEIN'S RULES FOR WRITING:

He said he sold every story he ever wrote so he might just have known what he was saying, right?

 1. You must write . 

 2. You must finish what you start. 

 3. You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.

 4. You must put it on the market

 5. You must keep it on the market until sold.


Many writers have problems with #3.  

But there are so many who write, re-write, and re-write until they wring the very life out of their prose.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? 

A great tutorial on DIALOGUE

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

We Are An ENDANGERED SPECIES and How To Go Down Fighting!



If you are reading this,
then obviously
you are a reader.


The ranks of book readers 
are shrinking.


A recent study revealed 
that
33% of high school graduates 
plan never
to read another book ...
ever.

That same study revealed
42% of college graduates
plan never to read 
another book either.


I know what you're thinking.

But You and I 
are of another generation.

We reflect the thinking of 
the Past not the Future.


In this Digital, 
Multi-Task Era,

our world is designed
 for shallow skimming 
rather than deep diving.


Think SHORT STORY

Perfect length for this
distractible time.


Don't groan.

Think H. P. LOVECRAFT


His stories existed 
in a linked universe

with entities and tomes
crossing over from one
story to another.


Readers did not have 
to start from scratch
with each story.

The surroundings 
were familiar
although terrifying.

Or have a character common 
to all your stories.


Short stories bring more pressure, 
because like with poetry, 

each paragraph, sentence, and word 
is more important 
than they would be 
inside a large novel. 

 Short stories are precise 
with their delivery, 

they must capture 
the attention of the reader 
extraordinarily quickly, 

and

tell a full tale 
from beginning to end 
in roughly 
a half hour of reading.


Which is the perfect length
in today's world
with too much to do.


If you got anything useful
from this post,
consider
sharing it, will you?

:-)

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

INSECURITY is Good For You_IWSG post



Out of the discomfort of it,
you may strive to grow
so that you do not feel it
as deeply.




Life is a balancing act.

Our dreams always seem to be in
danger of toppling us over

when Life insists on tugging
on the tight-rope.


INSECURITY is that inner demonic voice that murmurs you are not good enough.


So you strive to grow in your ability to put prose on paper, 

to see beneath the masks that all people wear, 

to view life from a perspective that will make the commonplace the magic that it truly is.


Insecurity can spark growth. 

Insecurity can prompt our desire 
for self-improvement. 

It can jolt us into action 
and 
push us toward higher goals.  

Insecurity is only harmful when 
we compare our weakest link 
to someone's strongest link.


 It’s time to tell the truth

 so that everyone can relax a bit and know they’re not alone in wondering if they’re okay. 


 You’re not flawed or defective. 


You’re experiencing this thing 
we call Life

There will be times 
you’ll feel on top of the world 
and 
times you’ll doubt your worth. 


This is normal. 

It’s a part of our forward movement 
as we take stock of who we are, 
in transit to who we’re becoming. 


How is your journey 
with
INSECURITY
coming along?

Friday, June 28, 2019

POWER can cause DRAIN BAMAGE!


Leaders lose mental capacities -
most notably the ability
to read other people

the skill responsible for their rise to power
in the first place.

POWER can intoxicate, corrupt, even made Henry Kissinger believe he was sexually magnetic.


Science now says it can cause 
brain damage! 

 

The historian Henry Adams was being metaphorical, not medical, 

when he described power as “a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim’s sympathies.”
 Once we have power, we lose some of the capacities
 we needed to gain it in the first place. 

WORSE:

 Subordinates provide few reliable cues to the powerful. 


  Laughing when others laugh or tensing when others tense does more than ingratiate.

 It helps trigger the same feelings those others are experiencing 

and provides a window into where they are coming from. 

Powerful people stop simulating the experience of others leading to an “empathy deficit.”



Leaders need to stay grounded and to do that they need someone to hold up a mirror occasionally.

 For Winston Churchill, the person who filled that role was his wife, Clementine, who had the courage to write:



“My Darling Winston. I must confess that I have noticed a deterioration in your manner; 

you are not as kind as you used to be.” 


Written on the day Hitler entered Paris, torn up, then sent anyway, 

the letter was not a complaint but an alert: 

Someone had confided to her, she wrote, 

that Churchill had been acting “so contemptuous” toward subordinates in meetings that 

no ideas, good or bad, will be forthcoming”—with the attendant danger that “you won’t get the best results.” 


HUBRIS SYNDROME


A disorder of the possession of power, particularly power which has been associated with overwhelming success, 

held for a period of years and with minimal constraint on the leader.

Its 14 clinical features include: 

Manifest contempt for others, loss of contact with reality, restless or reckless actions, and displays of incompetence. 


Do you see any of those symptoms 
in the current leaders 
on the world stage? 

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Is Your Novel a STILL LIFE or a LIVING PORTRAIT?




WHAT MAKES A NOVEL 
COME ALIVE?



1.) Memorable characters

More than plot, riveting, absorbing characters draw us in.

I read and re-read the Spenser mysteries for the quick wit and snappy dialogue 

between Spenser, Hawk, and Susan.

Raymond Chandler made Philip Marlowe a person you wanted to listen to no matter how confusing the mystery.

“From 30 feet away 
she looked like a lot of class. 
From 10 feet away 
she looked like something 
made up to be seen 
from 30 feet away.”




2.) Original Plot

Take the movie, Mirage:

 Gregory Peck is caught in a building’s blackout, 

and rather than wait for the power to return and use the elevator, 

he makes his way down the stairs. 

He bumps into Diane Baker who greets him as a friend, but he does not know her. 

Alarmed, she flees into a sub-basement.

On the street, he finds the body of a man who supposedly jumped out of a window.  

He returns to try to find Diane only to discover there is no sub-basement.

Shaken, Gregory hires a private investigator to help him sort things out.  

He brings the detective to his office, only to find a blank wall.

It is an absorbing, riveting film because the plot is totally unique.  

And since it was made in 1966, there are no Matrix explanations ... only well-thought out ones.




3.) Do you like being a victim?

Neither does your reader.  

Most of us feel powerless in life more than we wish.  

We read to lose ourselves, to live vicariously adventures 

where the protagonists take control of their problems 

and after thrilling adventures triumph.



4.) Make them laugh.

Novels with serious themes like The Fault in Our Stars and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 

use humor for good reason.

 Joss Whedon:

“Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, 
but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.” 

A good laugh is a great way to relieve non-stop tension to set up the reader for the next jolt.

Humor in dialogue also is a way to quickly, subtly convey character relationships.


WHAT ARE SOME GOOD WAYS 
YOU BREATHE LIFE 
INTO YOUR NOVEL?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

GRADUAL may prove MORE deadly than ABRUPT



Last post I talked about Preppers attempting to secure themselves from 

sudden massive change whether political, natural, or terrorist.


Venezuela has taught us that when those in political power lose sight of the common man, 

things can become uncommonly terrible for those who face hunger, looting, and illness without treatment.



What happens when science becomes nightmare to you 

but common sense to another, younger generation?


Venezuela may have been only 
the beginning of the unraveling
of the world as we knew it.


WHAT DO YOU THINK?


HOW CAN YOU PREPARE 
FOR A 
"BRAVE NEW WORLD?"