If You Would Write

A few things I have learned

I never thought I could write fiction. I had always focused on non-fiction, essays, blogs, and a memoir that emerged from the pages of my journals. It was not until the adventure of a poetical journey through an etheric garden swept me up into a land of fairies, gnomes and a bevy of magical creatures showed me that I could trust my imagination. I began to realize that there were stories that wanted to be told—and that I could tell them.


Since then, and with a lot of study and determination, I have produced five romance novels that center around the lives, loves and losses of couples who are twin flames and soul mates. In this short article, I would like to share with you some of the principles of storytelling I have learned along the way.


Show, Not Tell
My first editor drilled this principle into me. Let the characters and plots reveal themselves through action and description. Readers want to discover the details themselves.


No Opinion About the Characters
As the author, you are a witness, not a judge. No telegraphing of what kind of person a character may turn out to be. Protagonist or antagonist? Let them reveal themselves by how they respond to events and people around them.


Use Your Senses
Sometimes I have to return to a scene to add more description of what a character is seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching in order to bring the scene and the character to life. We are sensory beings. Show that.


What Is Your Intention?
I suppose there are great storytellers whose intention was always to become one. My intention has always been to tell a really good (even great) story that rings true because I am telling the truth of my experience and that of the characters.


Tantalizing Transitions
We always want to know what’s next. In all of my writing I have found that transitions are key. How much do we tell? How much do we foreshadow? How much do we hide? I tend to imagine my stories as if they were films, so I try to make the transitions vivid and sensorial.


Follow the Story
Once when I was far into the third volume of my Twin Flames of Éire Trilogy, I got stuck. I had no idea how to finish the book. I wrestled with the problem for several days and finally prayed to the Divine Storyteller for assistance. The answer that came almost immediately was, “Follow the story. The story will carry you. Just keep telling the story.” That’s what I did and the book brought itself to an amazing conclusion.


Do Your Research
One of my favorite aspects of writing fiction is researching the historical foundations of the stories that I tell. I may read half a dozen books to understand a fact or situation that ends up being told in a sentence or two. But I wouldn’t have had the facts right without doing all that research.


Expect the Unexpected
In The Weaving, I needed to know more about ancient Egyptian chariots from the 18th Dynasty. Almost immediately I happened across a documentary television show that told all about the chariot of the exact character I was researching and took the viewer on a ride in that amazing vehicle. There was my scene in living color! I am convinced there are cosmic forces that just wait for an opportunity help the sincere storyteller.


Some Resources
https://www.writersdigest.com/ Offers lots of excellent tips and current articles.


Finally, here are some classic books that have inspired me in my quest to improve my skill as a writer in general and a storyteller in particular. And really, even non-fiction must contain an element of story if it is to engage the reader. We are wired for story, no matter the genre.



Books by Bill Bryson (his infectious humor makes using language well a treat)

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss (priceless!)

If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland (my all-time favorite)

In Love with Norma Loquendi by William Safire (filled with personal experiences of the word maven)

Mark Twain on Writing and Publishing (an excellent compilation of Twain’s wisdom)

Oxymoronica: paradoxical wit and wisdom from history’s greatest wordsmiths by Dr. Mardy Grothe (a book to stimulate your literary juices)

Sleeping Dogs Don’t Lay: Practical Advice for the Grammatically Challenged by Richard Lederer & Richard Dowis (This book can save you from considerable embarrassment.)

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (I still like her first book the best for freeing up your unique creativeness.)

On Writers and Writing by John Gardner (brilliant samples of stellar critical writing)

On Writing Well by William Zinsser (key to writing non-fiction that people will enthusiastically read)

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg (still some of the best basic advice for any writer)