As I go along and discuss the principles of writing, I’m reminded of what my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Reynolds, once told me about the art of story telling. She said, “The concept is easy. Say what you are going to say. Say it. Then say what you said.”
The concept is rather simple when you boil it down like that. Every story has a beginning, middle and end. Unfortunately, that’s where the simple ends and the complex begin.
When I talk about the three phases of a story, you then have to define what makes a story? The book is a story. Of course it is. But then if you think about it, every chapter is a story as well.
And if a chapter is a story, with a beginning, middle and end, would it not also stand to reason that every paragraph has the same quality? For me, at least, that’s how it has to be defined: likewise with each sentence.
I find it difficult to get so wrapped up in the book, or the chapter, that I forget about the words necessary to get me to the end. It sort of a reverse trees and forest thing. (You can’t see the forest for the trees.) In this case, you can see the words because the book is getting in the way.
Take the time to ask yourself this…if I were to read this sentence (insert paragraph if need be) by itself and without the content of the rest of the story, would it make sense? Would I be proud of what I just wrote? Would the reader actually smile (frown, jump or whatever emotion you elicited) once they were finished? If so, then you have done your job. If not, you need to take another look and see where it can be improved.
For the record, these are not difficult concepts. Anyone who truly wishes to write a book can use them and do remarkable works with them. But, truth be told, most of us struggle with them. We get in a hurry. We let life get in the way. There are a million excuses why we fail to make our words perfect. That’s just the way it is.
I’m offering these lessons for one purpose…to enlighten you on issues we all struggle with everyday to be a better writer—a better person—as we share with the world the thoughts and dreams pouring from within. Use them if you dare to be a better writer.
A beginning, middle and end. That is what life is all about.
It plays well when you break it down.