Conflict: The Heart of Storytelling

Conflict makes a story better stagsStorytelling is as old as human DNA. As old as language. As old as Joe Neanderthal sitting around the fire at the mouth of his cave, telling the group what happened that day.

“Me went hunting, threw rock at rabbit, killed it, brought it back. Good day. Ug.”

Okay, that’s a story, as far as it goes. Short, sweet, direct. But what’s missing? How might Joe have ramped up the tension in his story? How might he have grabbed the interest of his fellows, and pulled them in emotionally so they were invested in the outcome? Conflict.

How about this: Continue reading “Conflict: The Heart of Storytelling”

Prepping for a Comic Con

Lexington Comic ConLast March, I attended the Lexington Comic and Toy Convention (LCTC) in downtown Lexington Kentucky. It was about a two hour drive for us — not bad considering the fickle weather the area can have. It was my first con ever, and I went as a spectator. Wow, was I blown away! While the LCTC isn’t huge, it’s still draws celebrities and brings in over 20,000 people during the three-day event.

While perusing the hundreds of booths, I discovered not all of them are totally comic-related. There were folks selling cosplay gear, novelties, toys, and even one booth selling cute furry little sugar gliders. And there were authors — a fair number of them. That got my mind churning. So when we got home, I jumped on the computer and started doing research. A check of my author’s bank account left me feeling reasonably comfortable that I could afford this. Continue reading “Prepping for a Comic Con”

Lessons Learned from Losing NaNoWriMo

author buried in tasks during NanowrimoI’ve been participating in National Novel Writing Month nearly every year since 2004. A couple of my favorite stories have resulted from it, including Don’t Tell Anyone. And since I had to overcome a ton of obstacles to “win” that first NaNoWriMo challenge, I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment from pulling it off. I still have the certificate tacked to a bulletin board in my kitchen. Yeah, I know. After a certain age, that’s kinda-sorta pathetic, but it’s my kinda-sorta pathetic, so it’s staying.

Considering what was going on in my life during that first try — an uber-demanding full-time job, family stress, houseguests, a double mastectomy for my mother-in-law — I had no business taking on the added responsibility of hitting the daily word quota to produce something resembling a story. And while the writing was one of my more enjoyable tasks, and an opportunity to escape for an hour and a half or so every day, it took its toll on my health, and I spent half of December recovering.

But I learned from that lesson. Maybe that’s part of the reason the certificate is still on display. It’s a reminder to take care with my commitments. I’m pretty good at juggling — little round objects as well as responsibilities — but if I have too many balls in the air, odds are that one of them is going to succumb to the laws of gravity. Continue reading “Lessons Learned from Losing NaNoWriMo”