“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”
—Virginia Woolf

Are You a Writer or a Storyteller?

I’ve considered myself a writer for years, but a storyteller? I thought that just came with the territory. It wasn’t until I listened to an interview between Write Practice founder Joe Bunting, and writer Kevin Kaiser that I realized the two are very different.

storyteller

The Difference Between a Writer and a Storyteller

A writer, by definition, is: “a person who uses written words in various styles and techniques to communicate ideas.” A storyteller, on the other hand, is someone who conveys events in words, images, or sounds

So why does it matter which one you are?

Here’s what C.S. Lewis has to say in The Horse and His Boy.

For in Calormen, story-telling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you’re taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay-writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays.

I remember the essays I used to write in High School, and trust me, no one wants to read those. But the book I’m working on about the Syrian refugees? That is something that might interest my readers a little more.

Just because we are taught how to write perfectly and place our commas in just the right spot, it means nothing if no one is going to read it.

How to Become a Storyteller

How do you become a storyteller then?

Have you ever read a book you couldn’t put down? Or a novel you were so engrossed in that you forgot about the world around you? That is a sign of a great storyteller.

Great storytellers are writers like J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and Ted Dekker. They have sold millions of books because they know how to tell a really good story.

But how do they write such good stories?

The first way, according to our friend Kevin, is that they’ve lived them.

1. Live Within Your Story

Stories are about characters that transform through a journey. In order for someone to experience the journey as a reader, you must first experience this journey as the storyteller. Only then will you be able to tell the kind of story that really matters.

There’s a huge difference between describing to someone the beauty of the Himalayan Mountain Range after you’ve hiked it yourself and simply imagining what it might be like. You’ve smelled the air, heard the sounds, and experienced the place rather than looking at a picture or a video and doing your best to describe it.

The same goes for writing stories. The most captivating stories have been lived. Good writing can be taught in classrooms, but good storytelling comes from experience.

2. Make Writing a Part of Your Story

And then of course, after all that living, you have to practice the writing. The second way to write a good story is to write it again and again and again.

A quote often attributed to Nathaniel Hawthorne is, “Easy reading is damned hard writing.” So, if we want our readers to fly through our book’s pages like the last Harry Potter novel, we must know that it’s going to take some work.

That is the foundational principle of this blog, to help you become a better writer by making you practice. Storytellers practice too.

The Benefit of Storytelling

An idea that I recently adopted is to try and make my writing invisible. This is the benefit of storytelling.

In the middle of an incredible story, your reader shouldn’t even see the words on the page.

And instead, completely capturing your reader into another world entirely.

It’s like driving somewhere in a car and then completely forgetting how you got there.

A few years ago, I arrived at the hospital after finding out my dad had a major heart attack. I don’t remember holding the steering wheel, or taking exit seven, or where I parked my car because the story unfolding around me was so much bigger than the vessel that was bringing me there.

This is what you want to accomplish for your readers. This is what storytelling does. Bring them on a journey they barely realize they are taking.

Are you a writer or a storyteller? Tell us in the comments below.

PRACTICE

Tell me a story.

Take fifteen minutes and write a story, but not just any story. Tell of a journey you’ve been on, literally or figuratively.

Do you know what falling in love feels like? How about heartbreak?
Have you climbed the Andes mountains or flown to a foreign land?

Share your story in the comments section. Make sure you leave feedback for your fellow writers on their stories as well.

I can’t wait to read them!

About Kellie McGann

Kellie McGann is the author of the soon-to-be-released memoir, Undeserved Grace. Be sure to check out her blog, kelliemcgann.com, and follow her on Twitter (@McgannKellie). She contributes to The Write Practice every other Wednesday.

  • Gary G Little

    Ah, we’re getting close. It is so noisy we can’t talk. Number one in the load is motioning to the pilot and slides the door back. That wind is icy cold. The lead has his head out in the stream, and yes, he throws the streamer. And now we circle. Number one has his head hung out the door watching the streamer. Final circle and run for the drop zone, he’s giving the pilot directions. 3 seconds left. 1 second left. Straight on. Straight on.

    He signals to the crowd in the belly of the beast, waits … And is gone, falling backwards out the door. Five helmets and jumpsuits shuffle to the door and without hesitation fall out the open door into the freezing air at 12,500 feet above ground.

    Oh Hell yes! I’m flying! I frog it, legs up, arms spread at right angles to my shoulders. A bit away from the drop. I clear below me, bring my arms back to my sides, palms forward and pull my legs together and straight. Tracking! Oh HELL YES. Feel that speed nudging closer to one hundred and fifty miles per hour. Now fly you rock, fly. Right turn, turn back to the left, yes, now straight.

    There’s the DZ. Still high. Track a little longer. That’s where I want to be and … Flair. Catch it! Don’t start a turn! Yeah … Twist that right ankle back in, control my spin with my palms and ankles just like Lee taught me years ago.

    Passing out of four thousand. Getting that rush; things on the ground rushing away. Link it up. That’s where I want to pull … Now! My right thumb slips into the D-ring, rips it out of the pocket, pulling the cable pins from the cones on the pack. The pilot chute pops, grabs air, rips my canopy out of the pack and lines and all stream above me. There’s the ever familiar ripping sound as the canopy fills with air, pops taught, and I look up to see the mid afternoon sun through my final set of wings.

    Maybe that’s why I don’t have the flying dream.

    • :-)) nice one!

    • Kellie McGann

      This is really fun Gary. You do a great job taking the reader on the journey with you! Thanks for sharing!

  • Melody Potter

    This is, by far, the best advice I have read on writing. If I can translate this into my nonfiction, I think it will may a major difference. Thank you so much for helping me change my perspective.

    • Kellie McGann

      Melody,
      I spend most days writing non-fiction and I definitely think it can translate. When we’ve lived out what we’re trying to convey to our readers it makes a huge difference. It becomes a journey.
      Hope to see more of your writing around here!

  • I was just going to write about how we can’t be taught storytelling, but we can learn it. We learn it by feeling it. By feeling the energies that course through our veins as life happens to us. I was remembering the time I took flying lessons. All the ground instruction was nothing compared to the seat of the pants feeling/thrill when you’re airborne for the first time. And the feel of a bank and a yaw and stall and the spiral dive. Maybe we learn storytelling by getting in a critique group and experiencing their reactions. By watching the eyes of our listeners to see how they’re climbing and spluttering and diving and recovering with us as we story-tell. I don’t know… but it’s an interesting topic. Thanks.

    • Kellie McGann

      PJ, I totally agree! I love the thought of the critique group! I hadn’t thought of that before. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Sana Damani

    The leaves whispered to each other remarking upon the strange stranger who had come into their midst. She had never been there before, and she certainly didn’t look like she belonged. Their fallen, who had so far laid peacefully upon the red ground, were trampled on by the clumsy, bumbling human girl.

    The trees now shook with rage, and the girl looked at them in fear and awe.

    “You’re beautiful! Oh, it’s all so beautiful!” said she, turning about so that she could take in everything all at once, gathering up precious memories of freedom and vastness that she could savor later in her concrete cell.

    That was when the forest realized she was new, a child in the ways of nature. And nature forgives. And so the trees smiled down upon her, sheltering her path as she slowly, tenderly, walked along the wet rocks, an infant learning her first steps, as mother nature held her hands.

    • Kellie McGann

      Sana, this is so sweet. I love your descriptions. Thanks for sharing!

      • Sana Damani

        Thanks Kellie! This was inspired by a nature walk from last year. I’m a city girl and had never really been to a forest before so I thought I’d write about that…from the POV of the forest 🙂

    • :-)) X

    • Susan W A

      I happened to see your comment below about this being really a first visit for you, before I read your piece. I agree with Kellie … this is “sweet”. That is a sincere complement, not a “downplay” of your story’s impact. I like how you develop your story and convey the message in just a short span. I have to tell you, I actually took in a quick breath with a delighted ‘Ohh!’ upon reading, “as mother nature held her hands.”

  • Jerry

    I consider myself a storyteller for a couple reasons. First, most of my stories come from experience, at least partially true. I write while watching the story play out as a movie in my mind; I see and hear the narrative and dialogue. By imagining the story as a movie, I’m able to make changes for comedic or dramatic effect; often, I’ll see an opportunity to exaggerate or insert some absurd element to make the story funny. By the way, doing this keeps the reader engaged while keeping the end of the story a secret. My editors and readers remark that they can’t guess the ending of my stories. Another reason I think I’m a storyteller is that I sometimes write about an issue. For example, I wrote a few stories about social justice and used the stories to insert my feelings without being pedantic, letting the characters and plot carry the message. Finally, I think I’m a storyteller because it’s easier for me to write a story than to teach story writing. A writer may have a clear and defined way of writing; a storyteller has a more ephemeral and mysterious process, created from their imagination. Anyone interested in reading a few of my stories can go to my website http://cafestories.net

    • Kellie McGann

      Jerry, thanks so much for these pieces of advice! I love how you imagine the story play out like a movie. I definitely do that too. So awesome! Thanks!

      • Jerry

        thanks for the kind words..if you would like a copy of my latest book, just email me and I’ll attach an ebook.. jguarino.author@gmail.com

    • Good stuff Jerry… I kind of do the same thing but less consciously than you… think I’ll be more conscious in future… Thanks! :-))

    • Madani

      Thank you, Jerry
      You are confirming me what I used to say to some friends arguing that writing is creating a story from nothingness. I used to quote the French physician Lavoisier ‘ ‘Nothing is created, nothing is lost, all is transformed’. I have written seven novels (in French), all of them unfolded in front of my eyes like a film

      • Jerry

        thanks Madani…I like the quote

  • ‘History’s Ace…’ a story of luck, intuition and taxes

    I was once asked what was the most hostile audience that I’d experienced
    and how I coped with it…

    It wasn’t difficult bringing the situation I’m about to recount to mind: Back in the early 80’s I was working as UK Economic Development Specialist for the State of Rhode Island
    Governor’s Office but based in London.

    On my orientation visit to Providence, Rhode Island’s capital, I quickly discovered on the Department of Commerce grapevine that the 15 or so local Economic Development reps based around Rhode Island hadn’t taken kindly to the appointment not of a native Rhode Islander as new Commerce Director, but a somewhat superior New York Jewish Lawyer… nor that he’d brought in ‘a furriner’, an Englishman as a consultant from London.

    I was warned that I’d have a tough job being accepted by the very clanny 6 /7th generation Irish-Italian-Portuguese native Rhode Islander’s – some of whom we’re tough ex-Union Organisers and all locals.

    Needless to say I was not relishing having to hold a one hour presentation and Q & A session with these guys! In the car on the way down to the meeting in the town of Warwick, I was racking my brains searching for a good introduction that would defuse what sounded like a pretty chilly welcome at best – and a hostile audience at worst.

    As we rounded the Narragansett Bay coastline on the outskirts of Warwick I noticed a flagpole at the water’s edge flying the original 1776 Thirteen Colonies flag. When I asked why, I was told that it marked the spot where in 1772 angry Rhode Island sailors and citizens had boarded, set fire to and sunk a Royal Navy Customs & Revenue
    schooner called the HMS Gaspée which had been chasing a local smuggler’s cutter. It was the first real act of war that heralded the American War of Independence.

    I walked into the conference room of the Holiday Inn knowing that I had a potential ace up my sleeve if I could only get a chance to play it! Everyone was seated by the time I was
    ushered to the podium with my flip-chart and introduced by my host as “This is Michael… he’s come all the way over from London, England to tell us what we don’t know!” Not the most inspiring introduction… But my cue had been given me on a plate! I looked around the faces in the room from impassive to barely concealed scowls… Then, with a mock-stern expression on my face I said… “On our way down here we passed the spot where in 1772 some of your ancestors boarded and sank a Royal Navy Customs & Excise Schooner! Gentlemen …Before we go any further there’s a small matter of 211 years of unpaid taxes and customs duty! amounting to 2,5 million dollars!

    …There was a moment’s stunned silence, then the whole room erupted into loud guffaws of laughter followed by hearty, welcoming applause.

    I was now ‘One of the Boys’ …who said History is a waste of time!

    • Kellie McGann

      Michael, this is a fun story! I grew up about an hour away from Providence so it resonated a bit more. Great job!

    • Susan W A

      Brilliant! Love the flash of inspiration … and the fact that it worked so well!

      • Thanks Susan… it’s good to keep the door of our intuition open as we face life’s little’n’large surprises/challenges! 😉

  • Tim Olson

    Lost At Sea

    It was only a light rain but I was hanging on in fear for my life. What a nightmare! The black night was blinding and I seemed to be in the middle of the sea – alone. It helped that the wind was still and the water actually quite calm and warm. I could not figure this out. How did I get here and how in the world could the rain be falling all around me but not on me?

    The drops inched closer, though, and were drenching me just from the splashing. I could tell the raft had once been twice its size and apparently had a slow air leak. A light rope was attached and then wrapped tightly around it to make it as buoyant as possible but that only made it narrower and harder to hang on.

    I wonder if I had been sailing and shipwrecked but have no recollection of that or of my sailing buddies. Had I been knocked unconscious and lost my memory? Kay and I had been floating on air mattresses at the beach. That must be it – I fell asleep and drifted off – way off! No, that just isn’t possible, to say nothing of the sunburn I would have gotten.

    It is so dark. I can barely see my hands or the raft. My thoughts are running wild and I’m really getting scared. I’ll never make it through the night to get a glimpse of my surroundings. There is no one around and the fear is welling up. I’m losing it. I cry out, “Helllllp!”

    What was that? It sounded like a car door! What the..? Now a bit of light, maybe it’s a search light from a boat. “Hellllp!! I’m over here!” Now a strange rustling is coming closer. Suddenly it as if the darkness of the sea was rent in two. A beam from a searchlight found me. “Oh God, what a relief. I’m saved. I can’t believe it.”

    “Tim?” It was my wife. “What’s going on? Are you alright?”

    And, and, I’m getting my bearings and, oh, yes, I see a tent opening, and it’s her flashlight that’s shining in. What in the world!? Had I been dreaming? Talk about embarrassing!

    My brother-in-law had told me, “Sure, it was a great tent the last time I used it. Try it out. I’m sure it will be just perfect,” It was an old canvas, army style pup tent. It smelled old and I was sure it would never repel rain again. “And this air mattress is one of those thick 4” kind that are great for sleeping on the ground.”

    Kay and I had both crawled in after it started to rain a soft, warm patter, one of those calming, enchanting rains that lulls you to sleep. The water ran down the A frame tent and the farther it went, the more saturated the canvas became. It began to soak through and drip close to the outer edges. So far so good, but the soaking through got higher and higher up the tent roof. Soon it fell all around me and I had to make myself small to stay dry.

    Kay had long since gone to the car to sleep and left me alone. The mattress did have a small leak and as the night went on I began to feel the hard ground. To stay “afloat” I had taken the light rope used for tying the tent and wrapped the “raft” to try to keep it buoyant.

    I finally fell fast asleep and found myself lost at sea.

    • Kellie McGann

      I love this twist! That’s so fun!!

      Great job Tim. Love the descriptions.

    • Gary G Little

      Tim,

      Now this is a giggle. Well done.

    • 709writer

      I like this! Made me smile.

  • Annie

    Fumbling my way out of the car and into the frigid night air, I barely hear my mother wishing me good luck. I take deep breaths, trying to convince myself that I’m not nervous. But the truth is that I can barely walk straight, my arms and legs shaking. With what seemed like a monumental push, I open the door to the high school and walk into the hall. My shoes squeak on the tile floor and I cringe at the sound. I greet a few lone students as I enter the carpeted journalism building. I peel off my coat and lay it on a nearby table as I sit in a cushioned red chair.

    Body shaking with nerves and anticipation, I prepare myself. I adjust the collar on my button-up shirt and push my long brown hair out of my face. I hear a door open and my heart rate sky-rockets. A voice calls my name and before I know what is happening, I’m making my way to a conference room. Trying to look professional and calm, I ease myself into a swivel chair and turn to face the table of people. Introductions occur, or at least, I think they did, as I’m too focused on my thoughts to pay a huge amount of attention to the people around me.

    Another deep breath, and I am aware of a question being directed towards me. I smile and pull together words in my mind before weaving an eloquent answer to a simple question. Heads nod around the table, some looking impressed, others uninterested. Another question comes and words fall from my mouth, an unexpected answer that I didn’t plan at all. But I get more looks of admiration and awe as I come to a stop and look expectantly for another question. The cycle continues and I barely have time to think as the seven or eight people intimidate me.

    With each of my answers, I feel as though I am being picked apart, my every word being judged. But I push on and slowly but surely, I make myself known. I impress the room of upperclassmen and breeze through the remainder of the interview. Nerves are my constant companion, but they are also my guardian, giving me a hard shell and preparing me for every eventuality. When I am dismissed, I stand, a smile spreading across my face. Thanking the students and teacher, I open the wooden door, which seems a lot lighter now that I am free. I grab my coat and head out the doors, relief emanating from my being. As I try to explain to my mother what happened in that room, my words become muddled, as I can barely remember. It all seems a blur, but that blur was my first glimpse at the real world.

    • DJ Dora

      nicely written! i’d wanna know what happens next!! keep on writing 🙂

    • Kellie McGann

      This is so fun! You did a great job telling this story!

    • Well-done! I liked this a lot!

  • Mohammed Issa

    I love the post and agree with all of it. But how do you explain Stephen king(i’m sure he hasn’t lived his stories but rather imagined it in his mind) and Many others who write great stories without living them or expereincing them.

    • Melody

      The monsters and demons are fiction but the emotions of the characters are things that the author might well have experienced- awe, wonder, anger, fear. At least, that’s my theory.

      • Kellie McGann

        I like this theory!

    • Lennard Brandkamp

      Some of us are just born with a gift to be able to imagine. Not just some faint memories added up in a patchwork, they can imagine it as of they lived it. For them the line between reality and fiction blurs, they are visionaries, seeing the world different and yet staying in the same place. This is why they tell so good. Their imagination equals living.

      And King has a time machine and tried to save Kennedy. Just saying.

    • Jeff Stone

      I had the same initial thought about King. He is a gifted storyteller and an underrated writer because many people are familiar only with his tales of horror. Although King has not physically experienced many of the things he’s written about, he has studied or read fictional accounts that inspired him—as he suggests (in Rule 7): “Read, read, read. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” He also states (in Rule 19), “You become a writer simply by reading and writing. You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.”

      In certain instances there is no substitute for experience. Nonetheless, how many of us have traveled through a black hole? Sometimes intense learning experiences, combined with a bit of meditation or mental focus and some imagination, produce startling results. Perhaps this is why many writers suggest a broad selection of reading material that extends far beyond the writer’s chosen genre.

      • Great example! Yes, no writer has been through a black hole, but we have all experienced the unknown, this is experience you draw upon.

    • Living the story does not mean literally. It means infusing your real life into the story. If we all lived the stories, why would we call it fiction. Steven King uses his life very effectively to create his stories. You see this clearly in, “On Writing.”

  • carolinamaine

    I play movies in my mind and am trying to use that for storytelling. I very much enjoyed this post because I usually refer to myself as a writer and now that I’m writing fiction…I have shifted mentally to considering whether or not I am a storyteller. Using this post for inspiration on my blog. Thanks!

    • Kellie McGann

      So glad you’re writing fiction and considering yourself a storyteller! Glad the post helped!

  • Mary James

    Here is my contribution:

    A dog that seeks faeries.

    During my evening stroll with my canine companion, I discovered a fairy ring. Most people would dismiss it as an odd growth in the grass; something caused by a fungus. Fairy rings were the entrance to the world of the Fae. So many unsuspecting people lost their souls to those devious denizens.

    Ned, my companion and seeker of the Unseelie, incessantly barked at the growth of grass creating the fairy ring.

    “Hush now, Ned! The fairies won’t open the portal if you’re clamoring!” I sternly whispered in the dog’s ear. Ned sat, his ears pointed on alert. He sensed something was about to occur.

    The grass twisted to the left and back to the right. The ground within the ring boiled. Ned whined in anticipation. A hole with a circular set of stairs appeared, as well as a ghostly apparition.

    The ghost coalesce into a dabber top hat, buttoned down vest, oversized buckled boots clad, leprechaun or at least, the ghost of one.

    “Whit say you, ah Miss ah, whit’s yer name?” The apparition inquired.

    “Oh, I’ll not be telling you my name! You’ll just capture my soul and take me to the realm of Fae to live evermore,” I replied.

    “But tis whit ye want, yes? You being in the company of a dog that seeks fairies,” he smoothly replied.

    “Tis true, my canine companion does seek fairy rings, but ’tis my choice whether or not to investigate further.”

    “Ah lass, dinnae fash yersel o’er whit ye think could be. The land of Fae be a gentle world where all yer heart’s desires are granted. Just take a peek…”

    The leprechaun’s voice was enchanting, but before I could place a foot on the stairway, Ned jerked me back to the safety of my reality.

    • Kellie McGann

      I love this! The story really did draw me in. Well done!

      • Mary James

        Thank you.

  • PL Wilson

    My heart leaped at the sight of a dark figure standing in the shadow of the doorway. It stood silently and then I saw his wrinkled hand. It was spotted like the back of a leopard. Then he stepped in and I could see his round face, pointed nose and thinning hair. My grandfather wore a wicked smile upon his face as he walked over to me and lifted me upon the bed. I thought he was angry at me for cleaning his room. He turned and closed the door and again moved toward me. He sat down on the bed and lifted me up next to him. “Sit still sweetheart I am going to take your panties off and touch you, he stated in a firm voice. I froze and began to cry. I thought, ” what can I do I am only nine years old and knew nothing of such things.”

    • Emilia

      Oh my, I hope this did not happen to you. It is shocking. I just did not understand the point about cleaning his room.

    • Kellie McGann

      What a sad story. The way you wrote it was very well written. You described everything so well. Good job telling a story that’s hard to be told.

  • LaCresha Lawson

    I think that story telling is a great way to writing. I love telling stories to my kids. It’s so much fun. And, I like telling them through writing. I love my words in print. In case, I can’t get to them in person.

    • Kellie McGann

      LaCresha, that’s so awesome. I loooove making up stories when I watch my friends’ kids. Somehow, I’m always the most creative then. So glad you love telling stories!

    • Susan W A

      Beautiful. That was a dream of mine to be able to weave stories for my son. I always got stuck of how to create them. He’d say, “Mom, tell me a story.” I’d flounder with some uncreative story plot, and he’d sigh, and say, “That’s okay, Mom. Good night.” poor guy. At least we read a lot of books together, and my husband actually came up with a couple of clever, sweet stories.

  • Carlin Michel

    Super long-ish, sorry:
    Bright crimson blood oozes out of her scalp—discoloring her blonde dirty locks as the blood finds its way to my brown carpet. Holy shit, she’s not getting up. Every second that goes by, the pool of blood grows thicker and thicker. I can start to see my reflection in the blood. I can see my light green eyes, the light hints of freckles on my face, the bruises from the confrontation, but my hair is indistinguishable. My bright red hair collides seamlessly with the tint of the blood; it’s almost as if my face is being framed like a portrait. A draft comes in and grazes my near-naked body—it wakes me.
    I turn my attention to Daniel, who’s holding an authentic baseball bat—it’s covered in blood. He notices me staring at him, and he promptly fixes his composure—to give me strength I guess. He throws away the bat and rubs his hand through his thick black bread.
    “Are you okay?” Daniel asks me as if it’s no big deal. I don’t answer. My eyes wander, and once it finds the body again, my stare doesn’t budge. I become paralyzed again.
    “Hey. Are you still with me?” Daniel asks while closing in on me. The minute he does, I freak.
    “Get away!” I scream while pushing his body back.
    “Whoa whoa. Lower your voice” Daniel says in a hush tone.
    “Stay the hell away from me!” I scream.
    Daniel tries to calm me down by forcefully wrapping his arms around me. I keep fighting him—using very ounce of strength I have to break free of his grip. Daniel then angrily pushes me off of him and I land in the fresh crimson pool. At that moment, time just slows down; I can only ear slight echoes around me. My blood soaked hands starts to tremble uncontrollably. Before I know it, Daniel is helping me up and takes me to the shower. I remain in the warm embrace of the shower for a good while, until I decide to face reality—my reality. Tiffany is dead in my room. Her essences will forever taint my carpet. And as much as I hate to admit it, I helped with that. I’m an accessory to the crime.
    I get out of the shower and put some of my older dirty clothes on from last week. There’s no way I’m reentering that room after spending so much time trying to recover. I walk down my stairs and I see Daniel sitting on my leather couch.
    “Hey, you ready?” Daniel asks “Because I seriously think we should do something about the body.”
    I’m not in the mood whatsoever, but I know we can’t leave the body here. The odor of a decomposing body would just linger in my room. That kind of smell wouldn’t be an easy thing to rid of. That, and I don’t want cops knocking down my door to start sizing me up for an orange jumpsuit. “Yea, I’m listening” I say.
    Daniel devises a method to throw her body in a lake—godfather style. Daniel packages her body himself and stores it in my car’s trunk. I drive the homicide vehicle (my car) to her watery toxic-induced grave. Daniel and I watch her body float as if we were watching the sunset—as if all our problems float away with her.
    “I’m done” I say quietly.
    “Yea. Let’s bury it in the past.” Daniel says.
    “I mean with you.” I say with a broken voice.
    “What?” He quickly retorts.
    “I get that you saved me. I get that it wasn’t intentional. But that girl’s life is over because of us. I’m done with us.” I say. And for the first time ever, I don’t her a quick response from him…just utter silence. It stays that way even on the road, I know he must be hurting—but at least he’s still alive, which isn’t a luxury everyone walked away with tonight.
    I drop him home and the silence finally stops. “I’m not going to repent for what we did.” He says. “I’m sorry she’s dead, but she shouldn’t have gotten physical. She was unstable and you would have been…” Instead of finishing, he just exits the car. A short silence takes hold before he spits out, “keep yourself safe, okay?”.
    I drive around the city a few times, not knowing exactly where I should go. Definitely not the homicide house, but someplace a visit from me wouldn’t be anything unusually. I don’t need to be answering twenty-four questions right now. After a couple of left turns on the same block, I decide to go to my sister’s house—Anna.
    I text Anna that I’m outside. As soon as I see the door open, I move inside the house. Anna’s broad shoulders and pixie cut greets and embraces me. I try to do the same, but with a less energetic approach. She doesn’t question why I’m here, but invites me in for a drink. She boils some tea in her plain silver tea pot. While we wait, she plays my least favorite game of all—twenty-four questions. Every pause in-between questions makes my heart pound as if she’s getting closer and closer to the truth—as if I would eventually slip up and break down. As I start to feel my will diminish, the sweet sound of the pot going off attracts her attention.
    She gets up and walks over to the kitchen. In the brief moment she’s gone, I receive a text message from Daniel stating (Did you get home safe?). I ignore the message and put my phone on the coffee table. Anna arrives just in time before my screen goes dark and sees my wallpaper—a picture of me and Daniel.
    “Aw. Is that the mystery man I never hear about?” Anna asks.
    “And you never will” I reply.
    “Why? You guys look so cute together” She says in earnest.
    This question is digging in way too deep. One answer will surely lead to another question. It needs to be shut down. “He broke up with me.” I say with a slight disgust in my voice. It’s best to play the victim. I doubt Anna would go digging around if she thinks it’ll hurt me.
    “Really? Well, it’s his lost.” She says while putting the cups down. We drink a little and I head to bed. The only problem is that I can’t sleep; I’m already having nightmares as is. The only way to safely go to sleep is if it’s out of my control. I get up and decide to hit a bar.
    I walk into the bar and find myself a single stool that’s away from anyone trying to get “lucky” tonight. I order my drink and wait for it to arrive. The bartender seems kind of slow, but maybe that’s just my irritation being projected on to him. And suddenly, someone starts to cry out loud. A drunken idiot making a speculate of himself. Everyone’s attention is on his drunken tantrum. He’s crying about his life; how his wife just up and abandoned him; how he wants her back—it would all be kind of sad if he actually annunciated instead of slurring his words.
    He’s embarrassing himself. Telling tales and stories I’m sure he would like to keep private, but he can’t help it. Maybe it’s not him just being drunk, but a combination of guilt too. And then it dawns on me—does Daniel feel guilty? Does he drink a lot? What if the combination of me leaving him, the death of a girl on his conscience, and being drunk breaks him? What if he tells?
    Without waiting for my drink, I dart out of the bar and drive straight to Daniel’s house. I knock on the door stating it’s me. He opens up the door.
    “You’re not going to tell anyone, are you?” I ask with slight crack in my voice.
    “What’s to tell?” Daniel replies.
    “I’m being serious.” I reply.
    “Of course not. Why would you even ask?” Daniel questions.
    “okay…okay” I say as I get a breather. He asks me if I want to come in, and I take him up on his offer. If for anything, to keep an eye on him.
    I sit on his couch and he brings in a bottle of alcohol. It remains quiet until I get a few drinks in me to loosen myself up.
    “Do you really blame me?” Daniel asks with a sweet tenderness.
    “I’m just—I’m just scared. I can’t handle guilt.” I reply while staring at my reflection in the liquored.
    “You don’t have to be.” Daniel replies.
    “How are you not?” I question.
    “I compartmentalize. I need strength to deal with this. I get strength from you. I’m not trying to lose that.” Daniel says as he rubs my cheek.
    I look into his eyes as he looks back at mine. I see my reflection in his eyes, and all I see is a murderer. I look away and drink what’s left of my glass.
    “Give me time okay.” I say underneath my breath.
    “Take all the time you need” Daniel replies.
    I have a few too many drinks and I decide to spend the night there. The next morning, I wake up to an empty house. I look for Daniel while call his name, but no answer. Daniel eventually barges through his door with sweat cascading through his face. He tells me of his hidden agenda to go to my house, and make some personal home adjustments—like removing the blood-stained carpet to replace it with a new one, so I can finally go back home. But on his arrival, he found cops inspecting my house.
    He suggests we go on the run. Just hop in the car and drive. I ‘m reluctant at first, but as soon as his hands extend out to me, I feel as if the only thing I can do is grab it. So I do, and we drive away.

    • 709writer

      I really got sucked into your story. You did a great job of making me feel sympathetic toward the main character. I’d love to hear more when you have some. : )

      • Carlin Michel

        thank you. And yea, definitely. I could directly email you things and such

    • Olivia Sanchez

      Way to really bring the reader through beginning to end. I love how we get to experience the mind of the narrator and actually live it out ourselves. I found myself gasping when the cops show up and almost sad it was over. Thanks for sharing!

    • Wow! This is very well-done. This is a great example of active voice. You use details to pulls us in. I like how don’t reveal why she killed. It would make me keep reading. My two negatives would be the first paragraph is a bit over-written making it less the compelling then the successive paragraphs. Second, it needs a good proofread.

  • Davidh Digman

    Great article. I consider myself both a writer and a story-teller. I find the best fiction and the best non-fiction are a hybrid of the two. There is always truth in any story, and the more fictitious, the more truth there seems to be.

    Here is my little contribution:

    The more she lay there, the less she seemed a she. She, no it… yeah, that’s better, it… it floated in the cold bathwater, just being there. At rest. It was the first time I’d ever seen her at rest; the first time I’d ever seen her mouth closed, and not rambling about needing rohies or needing another script or wanting to pick her arms to pieces or scream or beg or otherwise crawl back into her bones. The trace of dodgy gold in her hair was the only colour of any substance about her now. That and the blue around her eyes, her lips. Her areolae. Her skin looked dank but delicate, like wet porcelain, a subtle blue-grey crazing of capillaries dancing, ducking, weaving within its surface. It made her look more alive than she’d been in life.

    It occurred to me as I looked at it, that when it had been a she, and I had last seen her, she had begged me for some money to buy some food. I knew where that money would really go. The only place open that time of night had been the fish and chip shop on Leicester Avenue, so I bought her some dim sims instead. Six with soya sauce. Steamed.

    Now she almost looked like one of those dim sims. Death, my second finding of death, looked like a fifteen-year-old, forty kilogram, over-steamed dim sim with blonde hair bought in a bottle.

    I knew as I waited for the police, as I looked at her, as I looked at her note, ever cautious not to touch it, lest I tamper with any evidence, that no matter how many dead kids one finds, one will never, never get used to it.

    I had no idea how far that never getting used to it would take me.

    She was harder than the first, and the third would be harder than she, and that soon, reality would be harder still. That soon, electric worms would crawl into my skull and shed their outer layers, infiltrating, burrowing, shredding mind and senses and certainty. That I was bound for an adventure at least as fascinating as death. That I was bound for dismembered memory. That I was bound. Bound. Bound.

    • Sana Damani

      This story paints a very vivid picture and brings out the helplessness that the narrator feels. It’s beautifully written IMHO.

      I’m left wondering who the narrator is though. Is it death personified? Or perhaps a social worker who works with troubled teens? Or an inexperienced paramedic?

      • Davidh Digman

        It was from my days as an inexperienced, all-too-youthful volunteer
        youth worker. I am glad it has succeeded in communicating the sense of
        helplessness I felt.

        Thank you.

        • Sana Damani

          I’m so sorry. I didn’t realise this was a true story. No wonder you described the helplessness so well. Thanks for sharing, and for the good work that you do in trying to make a difference.

          • Davidh Digman

            You have neither said nor done anything that warrants an apology. I appreciated your appreciation. I am also happy that it came across as perhaps a piece of creative writing. So please do not apologise for giving me feedback that what I wrote worked as intended!
            Take care!

          • Sana Damani

            Knowing that it’s a true story made it so much *more* somehow than something to be judged on the use of literary devices. I did mean it as a compliment though. I am sorry that you’ve had to see such misery.

    • This is a good example of active voice, showing the reader the story and telling it. You do an excellent job of getting the reader involved in the story and using specific details to guide them. Well, done.

      • Davidh Digman

        Thank you!

    • Kellie McGann

      This is really interesting! I really like how you set this up. I felt like I was figuring it out with you and it was really enjoyable to read!
      Thanks so much for sharing and keep writing!

      • Davidh Digman

        That was my intention. It was about discovery of the awfulness of it all.

        Thank you.

  • Writer292

    Wonderful post, Kellie! I really enjoyed the insight about living within your story. Oddly enough, I wrote a blog post last February (http://bit.do/MakeAWorldComeAlive) expressing almost the same ideas about telling true stories, and even used the same CS Lewis quote! What are the chances of that, I thought.

    Thanks again for a great post!

  • 709writer

    When I realized the person I thought I loved was not the man I thought he was, it was crushing and difficult to deal with. Someone I had poured so much into, spent so much time with, and cared about so much, was not the person I’d hoped he was. I wept for the piece of me I lost. I wept for what could never be. Time has passed and even now sometimes I wish he would be the man I could depend on, the man I could go to in trouble. But I have to remind myself that he is not who I thought he was and shut my heart to him, or I’ll only be hurt and disappointed again.

    A close friend of mine once said that whenever we love others, we put love into the love bank. And one day, we will find someone who truly loves us, and we can take a withdrawal from that bank.

    That’s what I’m holding on to. : )

    • I’m determined

      Oh. so true. You’ve reminded me that I have helps of love waiting for me in that love bank. Thank you. I needed this reassurance.

      • 709writer

        Thank you! If we hold out for someone special we will be blessed. : )

    • This is a great example of writing that does not tell a story. It tells us something about the writer, but it not a story. Let me if you would like specifics on why this is not a story and when I Amat my keyboard, I’ll give a more helpful critique.

      • 709writer

        Certainly, I welcome any critique. Thank you for the feedback!

        • I would like to know why as well. I have always had the problem of telling not showing… once tho I nailed it said an instructor… only thing is i dont know what i nailed as i re read it to see if I could find it.

      • This is the hardest writing thing to get, I think. I still struggle with it. First, if you haven’t read it, I suggest you read the article “If You Want to be a Better Writer, don’t use these 7 words,” on this blog. I may not have the title correct. The seven words described in the article are passive voice crutches, if you remove them, you are almost forced to write in active voice. Passive voice is telling and active voice is showing.

        If you look at 709writer’s story, every sentence makes a conclusion.

        “When I realized the person I thought I loved was not the man I thought he was, it was crushing and difficult to deal with.”

        Not only has the writer told the result,” he’s not the man I thought he was”; but she has done so in a wishy-washy way that doesn’t need our help. “When I realized” instead of “I realized” and she thought twice without knowing. When you make conclusions, you shut-out the reader. What you want to do is pull-in the reader. You want to present the story to reader and let make their own conclusions using specific details to guide them.

        This may not be the best re-write, but hear it goes:

        “I love him. How could he…?” Her hand moved slowly to the rising welt on her jaw.

        The gravel hit the front window as it shot from under his tires of the old
        Camero he jerked into life and made a circle on the lawn. He was gone. It was her car.

        The sound of the gravel woke her from the stupor. All at once the pain hit. Tears overflowed her eyes, rolled down the spot and stung. She examined the blood on her fingers. He hit her so hard she was cut. Their life together passed before her eyes like a death. “Was any of it real?” she thought.

        Now, I know this may not be what you had in mind, but you are not specific. When you are vague, readers will fill-in their own details. My original thought was cheating, but it could be drugs, gambling anything.

        Hope others will chime in on this.

    • Kellie McGann

      This is a great concept! I would love to see what more showing and less telling looks like. I do think the way you wrote this is a great fit for something like an inner dialogue someone might be having.
      The words you wrote ring true for a lot of us though! Thanks for sharing!!

  • I’m determined

    Story teller, for sure. I try to live my stories as I tell them, using experiences that I’ve gathered. your explanation of – what seems to me to be the soullessness – of getting the correct grammar, tense, etc, while they are necessary for competent writing, limits the feelings.

    I sent a w/c 5000 story to a friend, a busy friend, who I really thought would look at the beginning and set it aside. she didn’t. She sat down to read it whilst eating breakfast on Saturday, and didn’t stop until she finished the story. And congratulated me. That – I take it – was story telling. Thank you for your insightful post.

    • Kellie McGann

      So glad you’re storytelling! It’s an incredible gift to tell stories, so keep writing!

  • Susan W A

    “An idea that I recently adopted is to try and make my writing invisible … In the middle of an incredible story, your reader shouldn’t even see the words on the page …Bring them on a journey they barely realize they are taking.” These ideas, among others, made an impact on me.

    Enjoyed your post, Kellie! Got me thinking. I have definitely recognized that I am not a verbal storyteller. Interesting … a friend asked me to describe a typical day of mine. I stammered, and she said, “Come on, Susan. You’re a writer; paint the picture.” I’m still very new to writing creatively, her comment and posts like yours help me realize that I am making my way towards being able to tell a story on the page. I’ll think about your topic and will post any practice I do.

    Thank you. Best of luck with your work.

    • Kellie McGann

      Susan, so glad you related! I’m working on that verbal storytelling too! Best of luck to you too! Post some of that practice here soon! 😉

  • Sarah Mch

    I’m not sure now if I’ve ever truly been deeply in love, but I do know that when I develop any great affection which resembles love (but is probably more likely lust) I tend to go after those people who pay me the least attention of anyone in the room. If they are acquainted with anyone else, they will leave my side. The most recent interest I have, in a girl, is so incredibly frustrating because of this tendency which she possesses to to some degree.
    She is a beautiful star- a gem stone in my view, but to her I am merely a glint off of her facts. I am an accessory in the end, because we may be friends, but she is no longer my confidante because of what she’s done to my heart; She seems a goddess- vindictive and cruel, and bitter-sweetly worthy of all of my sacrifice in her name. I am an awkward ape compared to her gazelle-like grace. Even if she never sees that, it is the truth.
    And she has broken my heart today in her leaving my side. Today will not have been the last time for us, either. She is a mistake, but one I do not want to erase because some how her discordant lines fit on the script of my life like a perfectly round stain. LIfe isn’t ever complete without its fair share of stains, and hers is the most beautiful ugly spot that I have ever laid eyes on.
    If I could choose who to fall for it would never have been her, but these things are out of mortal control. I am trapped by the unwanted fox of my dreams, when I never want to leave. But these things take time, which I most definitely have. I love her, so please, make her go away.

    • Why begin with a conclusion and big one at that? Why not show us what the the character is experiencing and allow us to conclude if she has ever truly been in love? I also found the thread of this hard to follow. I’m not sure why.

    • Gabrielle Paige

      Sarah, very interesting! I like this, but honestly it’s drowning in metaphors. Very hard to see past all of them.

    • Kellie McGann

      Sarah, I love the concept behind this piece. I like the idea of waiting to draw the conclusion, “Maybe I’ve never been in love.”

    • darkocean

      I like this too, but have to agree with Gabrielle. To many metaphors can be distracting and come off as melodramatic. This is a guy that is the character right? Try having him be more to the point. Consider picking your favorite metaphor and cutting the rest away? Add in some body language, action (I don’t know sitting, walking aback and fourth.) Have him telling this to a close friend? Just my 2 cents.

  • Olivia Sanchez

    I’ve never posted anything on here so I’m a little nervous but open to your feedback. It’s a bit long but once I started I had a hard time stopping.

    They hadn’t been sleeping in the same room for a several days now. Something in each of them had shifted, broken off like a chain coming off bike tracks. She wanted to go one way and he another. They had been dating for six years and the fear of letting go was paralyzing. Day in and day out, they were stuck in this looping video feed. Each day it would start the same way and end with a cold familiarity.

    “Good morning babe, have a good day at work.” He would mumble still lying in bed.

    “Good morning babe, thanks. Have a good day at home.” She replied, walking towards him to give him a kiss goodbye.

    For too long, the cycle had repeated itself and the tension was riddled inside the walls they shared. It was hard to bear the weight of it all, the heaviness wrapped around each of them like thick wool coats. She started lying to him about when she got off work so she could have time to herself. She would skip lunch and leave an hour early to be alone with herself and with God. Her favorite spot was the lake, it was on her way home and the only place her spirit could be still and be free. Sitting by the water’s edge, she could finally see clearly what had to happen. Looking out into the calm ripples of the water she could hear God speak to her. Telling her He had better things in store and that she needed to let go. Each day as she left, the load became lighter and she could breathe a little easier knowing what she had to do. But each day as she walked up to their door, the weight would ease back into the crevices her heart. All the words she had prepared herself to say, she could not say them. It was as if each word was tied down with a brick. How could she let go of 6 years? How could she tell him in a way that didn’t completely suck? (Side note: She was Christian and he was not) How was she going to break it down for him in a way that didn’t seem crazy?

    After a week of stopping her truth at the door, the weight of it was finally too much to hold up any longer. They had an open ended conversation concerning their relationship. He got out what he needed to say and vice versa but they left it unfinished because neither one wanted to be the one to say what they both knew to be true. Little did she know that he was also lying about something.

    A few days pass and the unspoken words began to haunt her, they both needed to finish the conversation that, by no mistake, was left with no end. The pain in each of their eyes silently reflected the fear of recognizing what had to be done. Late one night, he invited a few friends over while she was asleep in the guest bedroom. His friends needed a place to sleep so she went to sleep in their bed. He came into the room, laid beside her, and due to all the alcohol he had consumed he passed right out. She, however, was fixated on this spot on the ceiling, contemplating what she was doing. As if a sign from God, she got this feeling that comes from deep within to check his phone. Reaching into his pocket, as if tip toeing to not wake him, she pulls out his phone. She had secretly been trying to attain his password for weeks now; he had been guarded with it. 8971….wrong password. 8917….wrong password. 9871…it unlocked. She can’t shake the feeling that she will find something so she goes through it all. Unearthing the person he really was had never felt so relieving. Until she found what she was scared to find. A video. A video of him and some girl. A video of him and some girl doing it doggy style in their guest bedroom. The bedroom she had been sleeping in.

    Waves of emotions she had never felt before flooded every inch of her body and mind. She couldn’t wrap her mind around it and yet there was nothing that could stop her from replaying the video over and over again She had been developing an exit strategy for weeks now so was she allowed to be hurt? How could he do this after six year together? The rage inside her came to a boil and she woke up him to confront what she had just seen. Tears were spent and they both laid there frozen by the truth. He begged for a second chance and she begged him to stop. This was her way out. He once chance to make an escape and it not be on her hands. She knew there was a ticking time bomb in their relationship but she just didn’t foresee it blowing up in her hand the way it did.

    • I read the first two sentences and normally would not read on because you wrote this is past perfect. I suggest you re-write in past tense. It makes for more compelling reading isn’t a big ol’ passive voice flag.

      • Olivia Sanchez

        Okay thank you for your feedback. Other than that, did you feel pulled into the story?

        • No. It is in passive voice. It is also a familiar story. Try re-writing in active voice and putting what makes this “stuck in a relationship rut” story worth reading. The stakes are not very high because they are dating. What do they have to loose?

          • Olivia Sanchez

            Thanks Cynthia! Very helpful.

    • Kellie McGann

      Olivia, I really like your story. I think you use a lot of great metaphors and similes to paint a great image for the reader.
      I agree about the passive voice but I think the story has great potential! Keep at it! 🙂

    • Jayne Guinn

      I relate to this story a lot in my own personal relationship. I’m not of the faith though. I wish that instead of adding a sidenote, you hinted to us that he wasn’t christian. You could have said something along the lines of “She went to her favorite lake to pray, wishing he would join her as she knelt in front of God.” Overall, I think you did a great job of portraying emotion and feeling. I could really understand what the character was going through. I noticed you switched from past to present tense a few times, I struggle with that as well

      • Olivia Sanchez

        Thank you Jayne! That really helped me!

  • Alesia Jackson

    (This is my first story on here but I usually like writing about my characters and what they do for a living.)
    Anyway.

    When someone asks me what do I do on my weekends, I bet a million bucks that
    the first thing to come to their mind is that I hang with my friends, go to the
    mall, go to the movies, go to my grandmother’s house, sleep, or absolutely do
    nothing. But the God honest truth is, I find those assumptions despicable.
    Because the point is, I find myself lying that I actually do that kind of stuff
    over the weekend or even during the weekday. And all of a sudden, I began
    thinking about what I actually do. The truth is, I wake up when ever the
    heck I want to, eat whatever I want to, and find myself listening to classical
    composers and heavy metal. I then decide I ought to do my homework but end up
    falling asleep while doing it. I never fall asleep on purpose though. I really
    do try. I wake up and eat for about 1 hour straight. But that’s just an
    estimated amount of time. I really don’t know how long I eat but I like to eat
    quite a bit for my age (16) and I only weigh about 50 pounds for God’s sake.
    Anyway. I then do some research on anything I want. You know, societies
    problems, spirituality, colleges, musicians, books, writing, technology,
    programming and coding. I even watch a TV show or a little documentary when I
    can. Not that you care what I do, I just thought I ought to tell people what I
    actually do in life. I ought to make my confession before it’s too late. If you
    really don’t care, stop reading.

    You would probably want to know what I do for the rest of the day and the day
    after that but I decided that it isn’t any of your business. I only tell people
    what I want them to hear and that’s when all of a sudden, I blurt out the truth
    by accident. I don’t know what it is about my mouth. I’m not a very good liar
    like the old scout Holden from the Catcher in the Rye. (That is if anyone
    relates to the book.) He’s my inspiration.

    My day is about as normal as anyone else. I swear it is. It’s just me.
    I’m probably cooler than any other teenager I’ve come in contact with. Why
    would I want to go the hair parlor or hang out with a bunch of kids (not that I
    don’t every once in a while) when I could become an (excuse my French, nothing
    bad though, I promise.) intellectual bad ass.

    • Kellie McGann

      This is an interesting backstory of a character. I actually thought of Holden Caulfield before you mentioned it. I thought the character personality was really similar! Good job doing that.

      • Alesia Jackson

        Thanks! I learned that one thing that makes a good writer is practicing a favorite writer ‘s work. But nothing like plagiarism, I always come up my own ideas the moment I put a pen to the page. But I happened to find myself writing like this because I read the Catcher in the Rye about a thousand times.

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  • J Huggins

    This is my first time, so here goes.

    The window curtains were half drawn, giving a dismal darkness to the room. Over to the far corner however, a sliver of sunlight pierced through the fabric, capturing the dust particles as they danced and floated in the warm air of the room. She opened the closet doors and stood, looking at his clothes, hanging neatly in groups of colors, in order to make his choice of the day a simple decision. Reaching out her hand, she softly touched the shirts one by one, not wanting to linger for fear of remembering his bulk inside them. At first glance, everything looked normal as she looked around the closet, but there, on the top shelf, she noticed the absence of the familiar black metal box. The old familiar tightness crept into her stomach once again, as she saw no sign of the box which contained both of their passports, important papers and documents, and of course, the gun.

  • darkocean

    Story teller. -nods- I’m told that my storys descriptions are vivid, that they feel like they are right there. And some vague thing about magic. (Um?)

    Making the story is the best part, it’s so fun. Anyone else once you get going have a hard time stopping? I stayed up late last night and crashed on the couch. lol.

    My writer side will spend hours looking for the right word. It will obsess over getting even the shortest description just right. (I think less words = more.) But that’s it Mis. Writer side has to wait until a few chapters are done before doing anything technical. xD Even then I ask for help from online critics to help me spot errors and other problems.

    No, the story and characters are my favorite part of it all. That and finiding out what will happen next. (Pantser) I’m making the story I never could find and wanted. It’s been fun. 🙂 This is a great article ^;^

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  • Mary Gee

    (I don’t write very fast, but here is 15 minutes of a story)

    I’m just about to finish my first memoir. It’s a story I’ve needed to tell for
    years. And now I want to share it with
    others. It’s the story about ignoring
    all of the people who told me “girls don’t” when I was growing up.

    I am going to finish it, but, if when I started, you’d told
    me that it would take three years, I might not have started. It never occurred to me that writing could be
    so hard.

    When I showed people my first drafts, they struggled to find
    nice things to say. When they started
    making suggestions, I knew I was getting better. After my first burst of enthusiasm, I drifted
    into just playing with my book. Thinking
    about writing. Polishing a section that
    I like. Then a friend who like my early
    chapters gave me a deadline target date.
    If I’d finish the story she pick my story as her book club
    selection. Not realizing how bad a first
    draft could be I agreed and spent months not doing anything but writing. Fortunately my book club is filled with
    friends who said nice things about my book and more importantly shared their
    stories of those times of their lives.

    By then I learned more about how to be a story teller and
    spent the next year rewriting and going to classes. Writing my story took over my life. And it still wasn’t as good as I wanted it to
    be. Finally, with lots of help, I turned
    my jumble of events into a coherent story that my beta readers could say good
    things about.

    But there is still a lot of editing to do.

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