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Into the Silence

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

 

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Perceptual Projections of Being…

Hello Lovely Readers!

Salutations and good even-ink!

Ahem.

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!

Double Ahem.

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?

O-o. Whaaaaat?

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!

Triple Ahem

So, Stephen, tell me: what the hell does this have to do with writing and your journey of a thousand pages?

It has EVERYTHING!

Because.

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

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The Mission of Each True Writer…

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

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“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!!!!!!”

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Fly into the arms of your souls, lovely reader and soar to heights unknown.

Stephen R. Gann

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To Steal or Borrow? Frank Prefers Theft! O-O

Hello Lovely Reader!

Yes, I know. It HAS been more than 7 seven days since I last posted. Perhaps even… TWO WEEKS (insert dramatic music here).

I’ve been busy.

Stealing, in fact. or borrowing – depending upon which side of the fence you are. Frank prefers the dynamics of theft. More action oriented, dangerous-sounding – INTENSE. I mean, borrowing is so slow, long and passive. You can borrow a book, a lump of sugar or a sock. Well, maybe not A sock. Two would be better.

But theft!

Woohoo! We’re onto something here. Call the police, summon the SWAT teams – raise an army! Highway robbery, carjackings, cat burglars and jewel thieves.

Perhaps a bit ‘too’ dramatic? ::nod:: But intrigued? ::shrug:: Maybe…

You see, for the past several days, I’ve spent my time stealing TRAITS: faces, nabbing names, wahooing gestures and looting looks. Filling my bags with all of those details that bring people to life, provide clues into their souls and gift us with knowing. It’s been an exhilarating experience, and believe me when I say that my bags are stuffed to the lip.

I was curious about something that I’d heard from a friend of mine when she described another person. As we stood at the helm of a hostess desk just inside a Mexican Restaurant in Vancouver while waiting to be seated, I overheard my friend tell another friend about someone who was “Filled with Joy.”

It certainly sounds amazing, right? Who wouldn’t want to be filled like that?

But here’s the question: “How do you KNOW that someone is filled with joy?”

Really take some time with this one, because it’s what brings your story to life. How do you know? Most people go into feelings of some sort, while others might describe it conceptually. However, if you were to imagine yourself sipping coffee at a cafe patio, watching someone walk down the sidewalk filled with joy, how would you describe it?

It’s those sort of details that I’ve been stealing. I watch people stroll the streets, give them states and describe those states in such a way that my readers can really experience that state as if they were there.

So see? Stealing is GOOD and that’s okay. Theft is good as well, much better than borrowing. Be a trait thief, and steal some images – bringing your characters to life. It’s intense and your readers will thank you.

Until next time…

Fair Winds and Following Seas, my lovely reader, wherever your horizons beckon…

Stephen R. Gann

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Empower Your Story Through POSITIVE Feedback

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?

Positive Feedback

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

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Step Into Another World, AS IF You Were There…

Hello Lovely Reader!

Good morning, good evening and good night. It happens to be morning here.

This will be quick, maybe, since the idea just appeared and demanded to be released. No pills required, just write this blog, and ‘poof!’ there it goes into the nether world for you to enjoy.

Amazing how that works.

I ‘may’ have touched on this before, but I feel the need to do so again. Yesterday, I wrote about being in the flow. Like a raging river of ideas roaring past in surging, whitewater rapidity. I also mentioned writer’s block (or maybe not. ::shrug::), which so many people discuss as being problematic.

Here’s how I see it:  You can sit by that torrent and hope to be splashed with an idea. That’s writer’s block. Maybe, if you get close enough, a salmon will leap out and land in your lap. Then you have a winner. However, the wait might be a V E R Y long time. Do you know what the odds are of a salmon leaping from a river to land in your lap? No? Well, first you have to be NEAR a salmon river. Second, there actually has to be salmon in said salmon river. And third…. well, I’m getting a headache trying to imagine it.

OR

Step in.

Simply step into the water, into the flow and let it carry you away. Sounds nice right? trust me, it is.

Now here is the key point. Pay attention, because the current’s swift.

AS IF

Last night, the topic was “then what?” Asking questions around then what to move your outline forward. However, for it to be truly powerful, for it to flow, you have to imagine the scene AS IF you were there.

Catch it? Slippery as a salmon in a raging river.

Imagine for a moment, that your notebook, laptop, tablet – whatever medium you use to capture your ideas, is a portal to the world/reality in which you are writing about. That this world/reality actually exists, and when you put pen to paper, fingers to keys, you are stepping into that world.

As you do so, imagine AS IF you were there. What do you notice? what do you see? Hear? Smell? Taste? What if you were to imagine AS IF you were the main character? Where are you? what are you doing? How do you feel? How do you KNOW all of this?

Trust what comes and capture it. Don’t wait for the salmon to jump into your lap. Instead, go swim with the fishes.

AS IF = FLOW

This is where the magic lives.

Fair Winds and Following Seas, Lovely Reader!

Stephen R. Gann

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It Flows From an Outline: Then What?

Hello Lovely Readers!

I’ve officially passed the 1/4 completion marker on my novel and pushed on to 28K words. I will hit 30K by tomorrow with the end goal being 100K. I can’t explain how, nor why I’ve been able to pump out so much, but suffice it to say that I am quite pleased.

When in flow, do not question it’s origin.

Speaking of flow, I have to admit that the very thing I pushed myself away from on a previous project, I actually DID on this one:

An outline. 

No, not the I.i. A.a. type of outline. That’s like beating me in the head with a baseball bat. The mere THOUGHT of it locks my world into a procedural nightmare from which there is no escape; the eternal pit of writer’s block damnation. It even makes Frank spill his coffee. And that’s worse.

Besides, he hates em, too.

HOWEVER, lovely readers, I found a way that worked for me, which is why I write this blog tonight:

Outlines – paragraph style . Paragraphical outlines; My word.

It came to me one morning while sharing coffee with Frank. It was a nice, sunny summer day in Vancouver just a few weeks ago. I had just sat down to write ‘something’, when Frank demanded a Romance. I’ve written about that already, so I won’t go into detail here.

However, once I chose to take the challenge, I wrote the opening line to The Willows and then heard my ideal reader ask, “Then what?”

Well, this lit me up. It’s the very same process I used to build my coaching practice. In fact, I like it so much I shared it with other coaches, too. Here’s how it works: you write out what it is that you do, then explain how you do it. Step by step, always asking, “Then what?” until there is no more ‘what’ left.

So, after answering Frank’s ‘then what’ question, I found that I had to explain my answer. Something like, “Tomas sits on the bench pondering his life, trying to figure out what he is going do now that his father has passed away and left him The Willows.”

“Then what?” Frank asked. I answered.

“Then what?” Frank asked. I answered, each time in the form of a small, descriptive paragraph.

“Then what?” Frank asked, sipping coffee and watching my creative juices overflow with excitement.

“Then what?” Frank asked, and I wrote, “The End.”

I leaned back, wiping sweat from my brow, and tears from my eyes. I lived the entire story in just under two hours, and the proof was there in a multitude of paragraphs. So much so, that I THEN wrote the entire ending to a book I had yet to write – only its outline.

And you know what? I think it’s pretty good.

So, in honor of Frank’s amazing question, I offer it to you as well. When deciding what you will be writing about by asking the magical question, “What if?”  Why not follow it up with, “Then what?” and continue onward until you reach, “The End.”

Even better, especially if you are not a procedural by-the-book outliner like me, put the answers into a descriptive paragraph and see what happens. Who knows? You might just fall into the flow of creative juice and before you know it, be swept away into the magical land where novels live.

What if that were to happen?

Then what?

Mhmmm. I Thought you’d like it.

Fair Winds and Following Seas, my lovely reader. Wherever your horizons beckon…

-Stephen R. Gann

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