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Hello lovely reader!
First off, yes. I am still writing fiction. In fact, I’m reworking Heart’s Temptation into deep point of view. It’s taking time, but all good things do. It sits at about 11% revised. I promise it will be completed and on shelves, one way or another.
Into the Silence is a new project. It’s not fiction. In fact, it might be considered a bit of journalism. Non-fiction for sure; inspired by a great journalist named Phil Donahue. The very same man who had that talk show way back when. I heard him interviewed on CNN shortly after President Trump was inaugurated.
Mr. Donahue’s words inspired me to follow this path, to explore its depths and discover what I could. He said, and I am going on memory here, that truth could not be found interviewing experts, generals, politicians or any with large platforms from which to speak. No, to find truth, one must go ‘into the silence.’ Into small towns where voices are rarely heard. There, you shall find real answers, the real reasons for what is going on in America.
So that’s what I am doing. It’s a bit of an adventure, really. A journey of discovery, an excavation of America’s heart. And what better place to start, than in my home town of Texarkana.
I haven’t a clue where it will lead, who I will meet or how it will end. I do know I am inspired to venture forth into the unknown. Who knows? Maybe we’ll have a chat at a coffee shop near you.
Until next time…
Fair winds and following seas, my lovely readers, wherever your horizons beckon!
Stephen R. Gann
Hello Lovely Readers!
Salutations and good even-ink!
Update on the Romance novel: Today, at 3:32 PM PST, inside Village Books in Steveston, BC Canada, Frank and I surpassed the 40K word milestone on the highway to completion. in celebration, we hoisted a cup of 49th Parallel Dark Roast (go bold or go home, I always say), drank a toast, smiled out the window at a sexy, dark-haired angel walking her pug (ignored by both) and motored on toward 41.
One can’t stop and ogle the signs when on the highway to completion! If you do, you might get run down by a random ice-road trucker texting updates from the Writer’s Circle onto Facebook. Not that “I” would do that!
So, what’s up with the metaphysical title? Well. Let me tell you: it’s a warning and a clue to life.
Have you ever made friends with someone and then, for some rather odd and unknown reason, pushed them away? Have you ever been really excited about a new job, then had it crash and burn around your feet? That’s the dark side of this rule, “What we perceive, we project.”
The Light side, where the Jedi Knight live, uses it to their advantage. They PERCEIVE a state from their audience and PROJECT it back in the manner they wish it exist. They project what they want the audience to perceive, thus intensifying the wholesome goodness of it. The audience sends it back – A Fine flow of the Force, would you not say?
Here is how it works:
Let’s say you’re having a conversation with one of those sexy, shapely, blue female aliens from Star Trek and all is well, you’re really enjoying where it’s leading – hopefully to infinity and beyond. Then, all of a sudden, you PERCEIVE a disturbance in the Force. ‘She’ frowns, crosses her arms, says something that maybe hints at the Dark Side (and not the ‘good’ dark side, either).
Using your Jedi mind powers, you PROJECT them back. I mean, you don’t want to go over to the dark side. Don’t hit ME with your dark Jedi Mind tricks, you think. I’m on to you! Hand up, reflect! ::whew!::
However! She’s a master, too! And now, you PERCEIVE an even greater disturbance as she does the same thing, and in order to save yourself, you PROJECT it back! Jedi Master Ping Pong. And before you know it, the possibility of exploring her Nebulae has gone where no man will ever return from – complete isolation; Exile!
Makes sense, does it not?
I didn’t think so. It’s not like it does, really. Who truly knows the emotional mind of sexy, blue Star Trek aliens? I mean, I’m a romance writer, and even I have no clue!
So, Stephen, tell me: what the hell does this have to do with writing and your journey of a thousand pages?
It has EVERYTHING!
What you perceive you project, even onto paper (or pixel). Perceive your character as you truly want them to be, wholly and completely, and you will KNOW exactly what it is you need to write.
Perceive your scene exactly how you wish, and you will project it into the right words at the right time.
PERCEIVE your story from an empowered, emotional state, and it will appear on the pages before you – as if it were always there. The more you do this, the stronger the Force and the greater master you become; maybe even Yoda, though that ‘might’ be pushing it a bit.
See? Jedi Mind Tricks at work.
What about the Light side, you ask? Same thing, just reverse it. Perceive what it is you want, then project it to the pages. Or onto sexy, blue Star Trek aliens. In fact…. if she does the same thing back, then nebulae are only the beginning! We’re talking final frontiers here! O-O ::fans self::
Okay. enough of that for tonight. More of this, and I’ll need another bottle of red wine.
Cheers and as always…
Fair Winds and Following Seas, lovely readers, wherever your horizons beckon you!
-Stephen R. Gann
Good Evening Lovely Reader!
When I am inspired, I feel energized. When I feel energized, I become empowered. When I become empowered, I embody PASSION.
The Impossible Dream is a song that bubbles up from time to time whenever I feel inspired to create something really amazing. Frank loves it, and HAS been known to march around my deck as if he were Don Quixote himself – lance held high and armor shining (even though it wasn’t in the musical).
“Pancho! Bring my armour and MY SWORD!”
So the other day, while I was moving toward 35K words writing the scene where Tomas meets his future wife, the song echoed between my ears and I suddenly burst into song (in private, of course).
Then, after queuing up the youtube video, I heard the opening line to that song:
“The mission of each true knight is duty. Nay, it’s privilege.” – The Impossible Dream – Man of La Mancha
Like a lance to the shield, my brain shattered into brilliance:
“The Mission of each true Writer is Story; nay, it’s Passion.”
That’s my take on it, and therefore the theme today.
So, in honor of my amazingly not-so-special singing voice, I have re-written that song into the Mission of Each True Writer Feel free to sing along, as if you were Don Quixote singing to his lovely Dulcenea. If you care to add music, please feel free to load Impossible Dream – Man of La Mancha
“The Passionate Tale” by Stephen R. Gann
“The Mission of each true Writer is Story; nay, it’s Passion.
“To write – such a passionate tale. That your read-er lives in your heart.
To hold, a space filled with your power. To build, a link into your love!
To write – with description and joy. To hear – what it’s like to sing pain.
To feel, what your character dreams for, to fly into arms of your Soul!
This is your quest! To follow that Love!
No matter the stories, just write what you know.
To draw from your heart, without question or pause.
To be willing to show and not tell so your readers will care
And I know – if you’ll only be true – to this glorious quest.
That your words – will show passion and truth, when we open your book.
And the world – will be better for this:
That your tale, filled with feeling and song – will sing with it’s full breadth of courage –
To FLY. Into arms of your SOULLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!”
Fly into the arms of your souls, lovely reader and soar to heights unknown.
Stephen R. Gann
Good Morning Lovely Readers!
I’m going to take a few moments to post a quickie while Frank is brewing his own coffee – a new brand called Kicking Horse 454.
Now THAT (Frank brewing his OWN) is a feat in, and of itself. Normally, I’m the one taking care of his every need. However, to be kind, he decided it’d be best if I wrote something for all of you while he took a break. Not a break from keeping me on track. No, he’s been brilliant there. In fact, I’m past 30K words, and now digging deeper into the character motivations to truly enhance the story.
Suffice it to say, Frank is happy. And caffeinated. And brewing his own coffee! A triple win. What could be better?
As a coach, I deal with feedback all of the time, and there is definitely an art to providing feedback. When done wrong, it can lead to some major confidence issues. How many times have you been told, “That’s not good?” or “That’s bad.” or “I didn’t really like what you wrote there. I think it should have been like this.”
Often, that’s the sort of feedback we get when handing our work to others. They focus on the negative, ‘what didn’t work’ and then make it personal, by saying it’s bad. Not they MEAN it to be personal, but anytime a judgement is placed, it can go straight to the heart and we wear it like a battle wound.
Ever experienced that?
What if feedback could be framed in a different way? One that was productive and really assisted you in moving forward in a positive manner? What if judgement could be removed?
Guess what? There is! ::insert loud cheering noises from the crowd::
If comes in two parts, each equally valuable and both stated in the positive. Ready? Here we go…
A. What Works Well
So, when asking your beta reader(s) for creative feedback, have them START with ‘What Works Well’ within your story. Such as, “What works well with the plot?” “What works well with the characters, their interactions, the transitions…” Anything you are seeking feedback around.
Now, many people might find this odd. They might think, “Isn’t feedback supposed to be about what doesn’t work?” I mean, if it works, why do you need to know? Here’s why: By knowing what works, you know what direction to follow as you move forward with your writing. Knowing what your reader enjoys (works well), allows you to continue filling their needs.
Here’s the second part:
B. Even Better If
Let that sit in your brain for a moment. How is this feedback? One, it takes negative judgement out of the equation. Two, it provides valuable information into what your ideal reader WANTS instead of what they don’t. When writing toward something, you make it greater – you make progress. By writing away from something, you move backwards.
Okay. Example, you ask? Sure.
Lovely Reader: “There was one part that gave me pause. You wrote, ‘The space train stopped on the tracks, then backed up.’ The scene would have been EVEN BETTER IF the train had launched into space, maybe with jet engines.
Amazing Writer: “Why would that have been better, lovely reader?”
Lovely Reader: “Well, amazing writer, by empowering the train with jet engines, it would able to launch into space, which is where your story was heading.
Amazing Writer: “So, if I wrote it like this: “The space train stopped on the tracks, powered up it’s jet engines and launched itself into space.’ What that work better?”
Lovely Reader: “Yes! That would be so amazing, I would never stop reading your work.”
Now, that was a wacky sort of example, but certainly explains how it works. The point of the story is this:
EVEN BETTER IF framework allows you to determine what the reader WANTS, instead of what they don’t want. Which would you rather have?
Okay! That’s it for me today. What brought this post forward, was the feedback I recently received from a couple of beta readers around a short story. By asking them to provide feedback in this format, the required changes were empowering and really inspired me to move deeper.
IN Joy, lovely readers!
Stephen R. Gann