STORY TELLING & SELLING for NEW / UNPUBLISHED WRITERS by A.M.Duquette.
Do you want to become a writer? Here's a preview of how to do just that!
With simple definitions & tips, and complete stories illustratingThe Bad [lumps of coal ]The Good [rough gems] The Published [diamonds, ka-ching!]
by A.M.DUQUETTE c2014
Includes writing basics, history and teaching examples in these chapters:
1. Children’s Fiction
2. Women’s Magazines
3. Romance Publications
5. Science Fiction / Fantasy
8. Men’s Magazines
9. Men’s Soldier of Fortune Fiction
10. Biographies / Journaling
12. Plus a FINAL EXAM & specific writer’s groups to help you sell faster!
When it comes to writing, I firmly believe two things. Writing is the easiest job in the world…and the hardest job in the world.
This applies to brainstorming for ideas, putting down the actual words on paper, and selling what I’ve written. I sold my first book (after seven rejects) to a traditional royalty paying publisher out of the slush pile (unsolicited or unagented ms.) with absolutely no knowledge of the publishing world or the market. Equipped with all the thrills of a first sale, my second lovingly crafted novel was politely but firmly rejected. I still remember thinking…HUH???
Twenty sold books later, I stand behind that “HUH?” Writing and selling some stories is as easy as sleeping in on weekends, while others make me want to jump off the Coronado Bay Bridge. It takes a certain kind of mind set to be an artist. If you want to be a dentist, you go to dental school. If you want to be a lawyer or doctor or nurse – ditto. But if you want to write a book – where does one learn the craft?
Many of the classic authors of the past by-passed education, expensive and rare. Self-help bookstore sections were non-existent. Today, colleges offer degrees in literary English, journalism and writing for mass media. Many of our early American and British book authors originally started out writing for English-speaking newspapers. It’s a tradition. I can honestly say that writing for the college newspaper and other newsletters in pursuit of my degree honed my skills, and helped me go from
“writer” (definition: writing for fun) vs. “author” (definition: getting paid for it).
I’ve also met some fascinating people and been to some fascinating places, and have some great memories of my experiences. I still can’t believe I actually get paid for what I do…but I would have liked to start with fiction, not journalism. Hence this workbook.
The following commentary is mine, and mine alone. No two artists will ever be the same—if so, they wouldn’t be artists. The short stories are also mine, and range from: bad to better to good to published. If you read this workbook in order, you’ll notice the deliberate progression of terms and finished product. If you want to skip around, that’s fine, too!
Free-lancers learn from their mistakes—and I’d like to share—and spare—fellow writers. Hopefully this workbook will speed you along on your journey as a story-teller, whether you write for payment or not. Somewhere, out there, is your audience—be it close family with your diary, or the world with your New York Times best-seller. Best wishes and good luck!
10 Typical Fiction Writer Traits
1. Voracious reader
5. Curious [people watcher]
6. Energetic talker [to kids, animals, adults, yourself, the walls]7. Can quote [poems, books, TV or movie dialog]
8. Knows everyone [local library staff call you by your first name]
9. Looooong letter writer [email / snail mail letter]10. Weird
I mean weird in a good way, as in “different.”Artists don’t think “normally.” Ask Van Gogh’s ghost. If none of the list above fits your personality, writing may not be for you.
If you find yourself saying, “Hey, that’s me!” read on.
I believe the best story-tellers come from a family where story-telling was, and still is valued; where audiences truly listen. Think of the Navajo culture, and their oral traditions. I’m not Native American, but my family migrated from Italy, and we’ve been known to tell a story or two ourselves…just like every other race and nationality. Mothers pass down information and stories to their children, and on, and on. The sad part is that, without a strong oral tradition or writers in the family to record the stories, this information becomes lost forever.
"Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword." – 1839 English novelist, playwright, & politician Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton (1803-1873)
Both my grandfathers were coal miners. In those days writing was a luxury that six days a week, 12 hour a day shifts didn’t allow. That’s if their hands still could hold a pencil after working a pick and shovel. The women had it just as rough, gardening, cooking, canning, birthing, nursing, hand-washing laundry, and tending their children.
The stories of my ancestors were passed on down to us verbally. Some relatives didn’t write English, and my siblings and I didn’t speak Italian or Slavic or Polish like they did.
Story telling in English was family entertainment—I grew up with that tradition, which I value dearly personally, and as a writer.
I especially knew the history of my father’s side. I loved the differently embellished versions, where the villains and heroes continually changed, depending on who was telling the story. Those embellished stories often ended up more fiction than fact—but the very best story tellers could get away with exaggeration for entertainment’s sake.
The old-timers didn’t need pure reality. They lived it. The deaths, the mines, the poverty, the men always below ground, the women and children always above, the desperate struggle to survive in the terrible winters with little comfort and less money… They were desperate for entertainment.
DEFINITION: Story telling was, is, and will always be, entertainment—be it family history or fiction. Story-telling is THE best way to teach, and for students to remember!
Real humans experience birth, life, and death. Fictional humans must live within the stricter guidelines of a story. The definition of a story is very simple. It has a beginning, middle, and an end. If you don’t have these three things, no matter the shortness or length, chances are you’ll love writing poetry. Fiction story-telling should be an exciting race—
“On your mark, get set, go!” Then, eventually, you end the race. If the race never ends, we’re talking “no entertainment, no sale.” Being a PUBLISHED AUTHOR means you tell a story with an ending. Remember, people buy tickets to the Olympics to watch the race finish. You can only watch someone run around the track for so many times before getting bored, getting up, and walking away.
An hobbyist writer is someone who puts words on paper for their own personal entertainment.
This is great fun, but…unpublished writers who want to be published authors can encounter problems when leaving the hobby category. We free-think and free-associate, but we must learn to use our creativity within the definition of true story. The paradox is this: creative people don’t like limits, let alone rules. I didn’t, until I looked upon it as a new side to the game of selling. You can still be financially successful while being true to your artistic side. Just keep “stretching the box” until it fascinates the box-lovers, or that box becomes “a better mousetrap.”
Writing is a learning process, and new artists without millions in the bank can remain true to their artistic side and earn a living in their…
"…pursuit of the almighty dollar" Edward Bulwer-Lytton again.
REMEMBER: Readers purchase fiction STORIES to be entertained! Stories have a beginning, middle, and end. Without these, no entertainment, no reader audience, no paycheck for the writer.
So now, let's begin with chapter one! [end of book preview]
Remember, we all have our inspirations.
My children (below), my husband, and Nature's beauty have always been mine.
Find your inspiration, and write from the heart!
$25.00 U.S. - $35 foreign. Hard copy sales only
Send payment via PAYPAL to ROGERDUQ2@aol.com