Writers Are Magicians

by Michelle Griep

Every writer has a little Houdini in them because a great story is a slight-of-hand magic trick. Here’s how it works . . .

The writer grabs the reader’s hand and takes them into a story world. Think of this as the pulling out of the black top hat. Exposing the reader to how things are, turning the hat one way and another beneath the spotlight, showing there are no strings attached.
Then the tension of the story ramps up. The writer creates conflict for the characters, just like the magician shoves his hand into the hat, all the way up to his elbow. You know something is going to happen. He’s going to pull something out, but what? The reader expects drastic action is about to take place, everything is going to fall apart, but how?

Gah! The magician yanks out his hand. No rabbit. No roses. There’s a big, bitey piranha attacking his fingers. He flails, the audience gasps, and in the blink of an eye, the piranha changes into a rainbow glitter unicorn that he hops onto and rides off the stage.

Whoa. Didn’t see that one coming.

And that, my friends, is what a great writer does. Sets up a story. Causes a reader to believe the story is headed a particular direction, then shazam! Switches the story into a whole different direction that the reader didn’t expect.

This format works because readers like to think they’re smart, that they know how everything is going to play out, but they really want to be delighted with something they didn’t expect.


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Writers Are Magicians by Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet)

Every writer has a little Houdini in them~ Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet)

A great story is a slight-of-hand magic trick.~Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet)


Author Michelle Griep

ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ MICHELLE GRIEP

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.

One Author’s Journey

by Jacob Airey

This the story behind my writing journey. I hope it will give you inspiration as you try to find someone who will publish your novel.

When I was nine years old, I was given a copy of “The Hound of the Baskersvilles,” a Sherlock Holmes mystery. It made me love reading, but more importantly, it made me want to write. I experimented with short stories and poems, even as young as ten. A few years later, I started the process of writing my first novel.
At the young age of sixteen, I wrote a straight up “whodunit” because of my love for mysteries. I shopped it around for some time and a publisher, though they were not interested in the murder mystery genre, liked it enough to connect me with a literary agent. The agent seemed like a nice fellow and made several great suggestions. I put my trust in him and waited for him to come through.

But I got impatient with the process, so I turned to writing a novella that I had tentatively named “Messenger Wars.” I actually finished the first draft during this time and had my mom edit it for me.

After that book was completed, my agent got in touch with me. He connected me with another publisher that was interested. We soon began getting the editing process for my mystery novel completed.

As I prepared for my career as a writer of great thrillers, I got an email that crushed those dreams. Out of the blue, my agent had dumped me. He explained that he had started his own business and instead of taking me with him, he had decided that I was not an “asset” client because I was so young.

To make matters worse, the publisher who had agreed to publish my book would not work with me without an agent. Since no documents had been signed, there was nothing I could do about it. I was so angry that I gave up on everything that had to do with writing, including “Messenger Wars.” I put it on the shelf and forgot about it. Occasionally, a poem would creep out, but nothing extraordinary.

A few years later, I joined the Creative Arts program at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California and decided to revisit “Messenger Wars” for my final school project. It was a tough project for me emotionally. I remembered the pain of rejection from all those years ago, but I began to realize I loved writing as I edited the manuscript for school. It was here that it got its official title, Cacophony

It turned out better than I expected and I received an ‘A’ from my mentor Theresa Dedmon, whom I would intern for the next year. She read the whole thing and told me that she believed it would be published one day.

I started writing again, and this time with a bold new calling as a writer.

Three years later, I took a chance and pitched Cacophony to New Life Publishing in Houston, Texas. The head editor, Sandra Cerda, loved it. She immediately set about publishing it and I finally got to hold it in my hands.

It took almost twelve years for Cacophony to be published. It was completely worth the wait.

As for that mystery, it still sits on a shelf waiting for its chance. It needs more work, but I know it will be published again one day.

I hope my journey inspires you. It takes a lot of patience and hard work, but if there is one lesson to learn from this story, it is do not give up. I did for a time and if I had not, my work may have been published sooner.

Keep working, keep putting your stuff out there, and of course, keep getting better at your craft.


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One Author’s Journey by Jacob Airey (Click to Tweet)

It was completely worth the wait.~ Jacob Airey (Click to Tweet)

Keep working, putting stuff out there, and getting better at your craft.~ Jacob Airey (Click to Tweet)

About the Book:

Cacophony follows a small town church in Daylight, Texas that is on the edge of a spiritual awakening, a revival. However, the demon princess Ashtaroth and her sinister Grigori are assigned to stop the church and its pastoral staff by any means necessary. For them, that means murdering the church’s senior pastor. The church, lost in grief, begins to divide. However angelic messenger Gabriel, with the help of guardian angel Christopher, rallies the Seven Archangels to stop the demonic forces. As new pastor Jack Meyer tries to unite the church, the angels try to bring a message of faith to counter the demon message of fear. Is it too late for this church?

Jacob Airey started out as an author by writing poems and short stories, but has since become a freelance author and ghostwriter. He was featured once in Lumberton Life magazine and has written articles for Group Magazine Online and The Daily Wire. He is the chief editor of this independent blog and host of the web show StudioJake. This year, his debut novel Cacophony: A Tale Of Faith And Fear was released on Amazon.

Jacob was born and raised in Texas. He studied Communications and Journalism at Lamar University and Creative Arts at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, CA where he also met his wife Rachel. Though a native Texan, he currently resides in sunny SoCal with his super cute wife. 

Follow his blog HERE.

3 Elements of a Good book

by Michelle Griep

As I was just about dozing off to sleep last night, hubby elbows me and asks, “Hey, how do you write a good book? What are the top 3 elements?”

I replied with a snore, hoping he’d think I was sleeping.

He nudged me again. Gah! So, rather than discussing the building blocks of a great story at midnight, I told him I’d do a blog post on it.
How’s that for a segue? Yeah, kind of lame, but it’s the best one I’ve got and I did promise him, so here we go, kids. Buckle up and strap on your helmet.
Top 3 Elements of a Good Book

1. Connect at an emotional level.

All authors and readers have one thing in common: they’re human. Humans have emotions. I don’t care if you gargle with razor blades just for fun because you’re tough. Unless you’re a psychopath, you will cry if you see a puppy kicked to death. A good book will crack you open and play a tune on your heartstrings, leaving a mark long after you’ve closed the cover.

2. Freshen things up.

Good story writing makes a reader finish a book. Great story writing makes a reader sit up and beg for more. How do you go from good to great? Describe mundane things in a fresh, new way. Don’t tell me the man had rotten teeth, tell me that his teeth looked as if he dipped them in mouse-colored velvet. Eew! Now there’s a word picture you won’t soon forget.

3. Twist the plot.

Would you like to wake up every morning for five years and eat oatmeal? I’m guessing not. Why? Because no one likes predictability (or I suppose there is the off-chance that you don’t like oatmeal, either). Surprise is the name of the game, baby. Readers love it when a curve ball in the plot throws them off balance, something they didn’t see coming.

Think about one of your favorite books. See if you can identify these three elements in it. Here’s an example fro my all-time favorite book:

JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte

1. Emotional Level

I connect with her because she’s a fiercely independent individual yet gives in to moments of self-doubt.

2. Fresh Prose

“Jane, be still; don’t struggle so like a wild, frantic bird, that is rending its own plumage in its desperation.”

Love that she’s compared to a frantic bird. I can see that image in my mind.

3. Plot Twist

I did not expect Mr. Rochester to get blinded, and who knew that Bertha was up in the attic? Oops. Hope I didn’t ruin this one for you.

So there you have it. If you want to write a good book, incorporate those three elements and you’ll connect a deep level with your reader.

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3 Elements of a Good book by Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet)

Good Books connect at an emotional level.~ Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet)

Readers love it when a curve ball in the plot throws them off balance.~ Michelle Griep (Click to Tweet)


Author Michelle Griep

ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ MICHELLE GRIEP

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.


Title Photo Copyright: maxxyustas / 123RF Stock Photo

5 Reasons to Tell Instead of Show

by Michelle Griep

You’ve all heard it, usually at a volume ratcheted up enough to shred your eardrums to tiny little ribbons . . .

“SHOW, DON’T TELL!”

Yeah, yeah. Whatever. For the most part, I heartily agree with this rule. Showing is hands-down better than telling because, hey, who likes to be told anything? That’s about as comfortable as having your mom wag her finger in your face.
But (and I’ve always got a big but) I’ve discovered that there are some instances in which telling is a must.

5 Reasons to Tell Instead of Show

1. When you’re covering a vast amount of time.

Mundane details of everyday life are boring. Move your story forward by skipping them.

2. Inserting a quick summary.

Sometimes you need to report an event because it’s important to the story, yet you don’t want the story to get bogged down. A small summary is a useful tool to accomplish this.

3. When backstory is crucial to a current event.

Be careful with this one. I’m talking just a few words here, not entire paragraphs.

4. As a transition.

Scenes must be connected somehow or they’ll become disjointed in the reader’s mind. A sentence or two of telling can accomplish this faster than a few pages of showing.

5. For a rebound.

Secondary characters are necessary because they bring a well-roundedness to the story. That being said, they should never upstage the main personas. A telling line can kick-off a real-time response from a hero or heroine.

I should also mention that telling is employed more often in novellas than in novels because of the constraint of the length. Showing is still high on the priority list, but as Stephen King says, story is king, and if a little telling accomplishes that, then go for it.

TWEETABLES

Author Michelle Griep

ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ MICHELLE GRIEP

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.


Title Photo Copyright: goodluz / 123RF Stock Photo