Friday, September 11, 2009

Gone for the Weekend

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In case anyone is interested, She Who Must be Obeyed and I are heading to VA. Beach for my 40th, (Damn!), high school reunion. It'll be nice to see people.

Love Story by way of The Hero's Journey

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Good day, writers,

I promised I'd write a couple stories using The Hero's Journey as the basis for creating a storyline and here is the first installment. Next week I'll post a different type of story based on The Hero's Journey. (Though I have yet to determine what that might be.)

In any case, this exercise is to show how easy it is to write with The Hero's Journey as your model.

Here goes...


Joe and Mindy are in love, married with two children, living in a home in the suburbs of Richmond, VA. The children are Mike, twelve and Mary fourteen. Mike loves baseball and Cindy is just finding out about boys. Joe is a stockbroker and Mindy spends her time raising the children. She’s the president of the PTA and is as happy as she has ever been.


At a PTA meeting Mindy overhears two women talking about Joe. They suddenly quiet when Mindy walks up and act embarrassed at her arrival. They walk away without saying much to her, but the both look back at Mindy over their shoulders and whisper to each other as they depart. Mindy is surprised by their actions but thinks little of it.


Joe, usually home around 7 PM, starts to call a few times a week saying he must work late. Some of his excuses sound odd to Mindy but she ignores her intuition which tells her something is wrong.


After weeks of his not coming home on time, and another odd encounter with friends, Mindy speaks with her best friend, Margaret, about her concerns. Margaret tells her not to worry until Joe comes home late and the first thing he does in take a shower - a sure sign of infidelity.


The next night Joe comes home and takes a shower as soon as he enters the house. Mindy now knows the jig is up, (well something is up anyway), and accepts the fact Joe is being unfaithful.


Mindy and Margaret talk to their friends at the baseball field and PTA but most know nothing. Those who seem to be in the know won’t talk. Mindy hires a detective to follow Joe. He takes photos of Joe’s encounters and passes them to Mindy.


Mindy is distraught but refuses to believe her marriage cannot be saved. She confronts Joe with the photos and he admits everything saying he still loves Mindy and was swayed by a young lady who took advantage of him. He promises never to see the woman again. Though suspicious of his promise, she gives him the benefit of the doubt and they work at patching the holes in their marriage.


Things are fine for a time, but soon, Joe is coming home from work late again. A big fight ensues and Mindy kicks Joe out.


Mindy and Joe go through a trying divorce. She gets the children and the house, and the money, and the furniture and he gets the clothes on his back. (They live in Virginia, you know…)


The divorce is finalized and Mindy realizes she will be able to survive without Joe, physically, emotionally and financially.


Mindy finds happiness despite being forced back to work and raising her children on her own. Though things are difficult, she and her children do survive, though without much of their earlier wealth.


They live happily ever after.

Everyone except Joe, of course, he remarries a shrew and she sucks every bit of life from him.)

The End

With this outline, you now know how to use The Hero’s Journey to formulate your story. From here you fill in the details and, voila, you’re an author!

Is it time to get to work?

In my next posting, I’ll outline another type of story using The Hero’s Journey. Are there any requests?

Until then, good writing.

Author of Born to be Brothers

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Busy Times!

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Gonna' be busy for the next few weeks... Everything from birthdays to three out of town events. Whew! Trying to keep on top of things.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Should Authors Be Political?

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Good question brought up by Alice Tasman on Twitter.

My personal thought are you'll distance yourself from 50% of your market with a few words in this politically charged time.

Try this out for size... "Hey, I think everything you stand for is silly. Wanna' buy my book?"

Keep to writing.

My marketing advice? Save your politics for behind closed doors.

Sell Your Books in Bulk

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Sell your books in bulk w/out worries associated with returns. Great advice @Bookgal!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Return with the Elixir

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Hello, writers.

We’ve finally come to the end of The Hero’s Journey, The Return with the Elixir. Our hero is on his way home to his now not so Ordinary World, having defeated every imaginary bad guy in creation. There will be no more conflicts to resolve, no more challenges to face and no more evil-doers with which to contend. In this portion of your manuscript he is the acknowledged hero in both his Ordinary World and the world from which he is emerging. This is where your reader shouts, “Wow! That was great!” and talks to all his friends about your book. (We hope they do anyway, for if they don’t this book is DIW - dead in the water.)

Considering our now familiar Luke Skywalker, think about the celebration after the destruction of the Death Star. He and Han Solo walk up to Princess Leia to receive their medals amidst the adulation of all the rebellion. Everybody smiles and the guy in the white hat rides off into the sunset to great fanfare. Yipee!

We know what happens here, but why does it need to happen this way? Some say it is to wrap things up, finish the circle of your story. (Blah…) Others say it is the representation of life where one must learn to lick their wounds, if you will, and carry on with life. (Give me a break! This is a story!) Some have even said it is to show us how to live our own lives with a sense of responsibility. (Not my fiction…)

We’re writing fiction, right? In my mind, the Return with the Elixir is all about entertaining our reader. Nothing more. It is a reward to your readers for their time spent in reading your story. They deserve to sit back, close the book and feel good. Everything is right with the world and your reader feels the satisfaction of a book well written and enjoyed.

What is this elixir, by the way? It can be anything you wish it to be. Your protagonist may return home with a physical treasure, or knowledge, or love, or wisdom, or whatever he needed to succeed in his quest. It can be anything, as long as it is necessary for your hero to become what he needs to become.

Without doubt, however, what is necessary is for the reader to sit back having enjoyed your work. That is what it’s all about anyway, isn’t it?

Okay, boys and girls, in these twelve postings, we seen how your hero traverses from his Ordinary World into the depths and back. I hope you see how this will make for a good story every time. (Which is what fiction is all about anyway - a good story.)

If you’ll take the time to learn how to use The Hero’s Journey in your fiction, you’ll become a good storyteller and have the primary step under your belt in having people want to read your work.

In subsequent postings I plan to do two things: one is to show how The Hero’s Journey will apply to any type of fiction and, two, to show you how you can ignore large parts of The Hero’s Journey in your writing. (Bet you weren’t expecting that!)

Until my next posting, good writing.

Author of “Born to be Brothers”