Monday, July 6, 2015

The Elements of Storytelling: "So there I Was...."


I know what you're thinking. "What? Yet another 'how to write' column on the Internet?"

Well first off, there's no such thing as too many "how to write" articles. While the basic mechanics are the same, each writer tends to have a unique approach or perspective to it. But aside from that, while writing is certainly involved in the process of storytelling (even if all you need to do is jot down notes), if you think this column was titled "The Elements of Writing" then you need to go get an eye checkup.

This column will not be specifically about writing, nor will it be specifically about podcasting, or film making, or illustrations, or plays, or even campfire tales. It will involve the basics behind all of these, for regardless of the medium you choose, you still have to first know how to tell a good story. And that is something much easier said than done.

Sharing stories has been a part of human culture since the days when we lived in caves and we were covered in a lot more body hair. Indeed, it could possibly be one of the first things we ever did, right after sex. Whether the stories were true accounts, completely made up, or a slick combination of the two, we were sharing them.

Sharing them a lot.

At first inside the caves and around camp fires, then in the fields. We spoke them, acted them out, sang them. And when writing was finally invented, we wrote them down. Over those centuries and millennia, it became apparent to the earliest storytellers that certain elements worked to captivate and entertain an audience and certain elements didn't. And from that observation, the techniques evolved.

And many of those techniques are still used to this day. The mediums might have changed and expanded, became more advanced as technology progressed. But outside an occasional (and necessary) tweak or two, the basics of how to tell a good story has never changed.

And knowing the basics can mean the difference between having no audience at all or creating the story that later spawns the next "new" religion (How’s that “Force” thing working,fellas?).

That's a lot of weight to have on your shoulders, Grasshopper. Carry it well.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Where did it all begin?

By Peter Welmerink
 
 
 
Do you have writer's block?
 
Are you wondering why you do this thing called writing, called creating?
 
Have you felt you've lost your writing mojo? Saying, "Dang! What happened to those good ole days when I could just vomit forth lines and lines of adventurous words and create fabulous tales?"
 
Answer: if you have stuck with it (writing, creating) for this long, I can assure you...
 
YOU STILL HAVE THE MOJO.
 
You may just have to hook a chain around it, a tow strap, hook it up to your monster truck, and pull that SOB out and make him/her/it work.
 
And... !!!
 
IT CAN BE DONE.
 
#
 
In my own life, I can't say exactly when the writing bug bit me. I grew up in a middle class family, working mom and dad, just me and one sibling. Folks got separated when I was in 4th or 5th grade. I went to a parochial school, paddled with a yardstick by the nuns. Living in a neighborhood close to downtown, the bustling metropolis of Grand Rapids. Lived IN THE CITY for sure as the family home was situated on one of the busiest east/westbound streets. There were woods near the house though for traipsing through. There was the John Ball Zoo a block away. More woodland (the boonies) further southwest, and the Grand River.
 
It's not like my mom or dad tossed a pencil and notepad at me and said GO WRITE. It was just something I did. School had some one-subject notebooks, wide rule lined paper. The blank page. The empty line. I just felt the need to... fill it, fill the line, fill the page and pages with whatever came to mind.
 
I wrote about my life as kind of a lonely boy growing up in the 70's. Lots of love songs played on the radio. Sweet Life by Paul Davis. Afternoon Delight by Starland Vocal Band. You're in my Heart by Rod Stewart. Sharing the Night Together by Dr. Hook. I typically wrote about LOVE or adventures in finding it.
 
I won't even get into the ROCK MUSIC or the movies I watched. (Foghat, Boston, BOC, Black Sabbath, Led Zep...and Planet of the Apes (Heston), Dirty Harry (Eastwood), Kelly's Heroes.)
 
Stir in reading Sgt. Rock comic books, GI Combat, Robert E Howard's Conan, Edgar Rice Burrough's John Carter of Mars...
 
Crazy mixed up kid.
 
Was that why I wrote? All that stuff sloshing around my brain.
 
I don't know.
 
I had friends. I wasn't that lonely. Yet, I would often squirrel myself away and write adventure stories. Stories of war. Stories of saving the girl. Stories of being the hero. Stories of superheroism. Adventure. Adventure. Adventure.
 
Whatever the reason, I kept writing, felt the need to fill the blank page, create, tell a story even if I was the only one reading it. I didn't care if I was the only one reading it, I simply HAD TO CREATE.
 
So, to stop my rambling, let me say to you this:
 
IF YOU HAVE BEEN WRITING FOR THIS LONG, YOU STILL CAN AND YOU STILL WILL.
 
Remember back to the day when you first started writing, when you first started creating. Do that again. Just let it go and let it flow. Just write. Write some silly yarn. Ramble freely and abandon all thought on doing it for publication or even having any of it make sense.
 
As the music artist Seal says: "We're never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy."
 
Go back to those early childhood times, let your mind go, and create.
 
Adventure! Adventure! Adventure!
 
###
 
Peter Welmerink has been writing since he found a stash of notebooks in a hallway cabinet drawer in grade school and began to scribe incredible tales of adventure and mayhem. He writes Epic Fantasy and Military Adventure fiction. He can be found at peterwelmerink.com, grandrapidsaltered.blogspot.com and darkheroicfantasy.blogspot.com.
 
TRANSPORT, his fictional Military Post-Post Apoc Zombie Thriller series, is available now. The events of the tale are set in and around Grand Rapids, Michigan. Childhood dream of massive adventure in his hometown brought back to life and published. Bazinga! Dream it. Do it.  
 


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Born of Swords from Steven Shrewsbury Now Available in Print and eBook!

Seventh Star Press is proud to announce that Born of Swords, the latest novel from Steven L. Shrewsbury featuring the iconic warrior Gorias La Gaul, is now available in eBook and print!


This latest adventure in sword and sorcery and dark fantasy joins other Steven Shrewsbury novels that feature Gorias La Gaul, such as Thrall and Overkill, and the short story collection Blood and Steel: Legends of La Gaul.  This is one character and novel that fans of writers such as Robert E. Howard are sure to love! 

Follow the direct links below to get your copy of Born of Swords!









Synopsis: Deliverance will come...

But that is another story.

What makes a legend but the stories told about him? Interviewing Gorias La Gaul, the biggest legend of them all, is a dream come true for young scribe Jessica. Where other girls her age would swoon beneath the steely gaze of the warrior, Jessica only has eyes for his mouth, and the tales that come from it...when he takes a break from cursing or drinking.

Unfortunately for Jessica, Gorias doesn’t really have time to babysit. She’s found him in the midst of an annual pilgrimage of sorts, and though he agrees to let her come along, it’s not without a warning: You may not like what you see and hear. Just don’t come crying afterward.

Whether viewing past visions with magical gemstones or jumping into the fray alongside the barbarian, Jessica’s about to get firsthand accounts she won’t soon forget...and discover legends are far from reality, and just as far from being pretty. You wouldn’t expect a youth of love and friendship from the greatest killer to walk the Earth, would you?

These are tales of some of Gorias’ earliest days, back before he’d found his swords, to a time when a dragon needed killing. Tales back before his heart had hardened. Maybe. For most men, the future is not certain and the past is prologue. For a legend like Gorias La Gaul, even the past is up for debate. One thing is for certain about these tales. They will be bloody. Such is always the way for a man...

Born of Swords...




About the Author: STEVEN L. SHREWSBURY lives, works and writes in rural Central Illinois. Over 365 of his short stories have been published in print or digital media since the late 80s. His novels include WITHIN, PHILISTINE, OVERKILL, HELL BILLY, BLOOD & STEEL, THRALL, STRONGER THAN DEATH, HAWG, TORMENTOR and GODFORSAKEN.

He has collaborated with other writers, like Brian Keene with KING OF THE BASTARDS, Peter Welmerink in BEDLAM UNLEASHED, Nate Southard in BAD MAGICK, Maurice Broaddus in the forthcoming BLACK SON RISING and Eric S. Brown in an untitled project.

He continues to search for brightness in this world, no matter where it chooses to hide.


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