THURSDAY SPECIAL EDITION
EVERYONE PLEASE WELCOME CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED NOVELIST STEVEN JAMES MY FAVORITE CRIME FICTION AUTHOR
Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.
NEW BOOK BY STEVEN JAMES
TROUBLESHOOTING YOUR NOVEL: Essential Techniques for Identifying and Solving Manuscript Problems
Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books (September 20, 2016)
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
Take your story to the next level of excellence!
You’ve completed the first draft of your novel–now what? Chances are, it’s not perfect…at least not yet. In order to increase your chances of getting a literary agent, selling your manuscript to a publisher, or garnering an audience for your self-published work, you need targeted, practical instruction on tackling the problem areas and weak spots in your story. You need Troubleshooting Your Novel.
In this hand-on, easy-to-use guide, award-winning author Steven James provides helpful techniques and checklists, timesaving tricks of the trade, and hundreds of questions for manuscript analysis and revision. You’ll learn how to:
ADJUST elements of story progression, from causality, tension, and setbacks to plot twists, climaxes, and endings.
DEVELOP authentic, riveting characters by exploring their attitudes, desires, beliefs, and more.
LEARN narrative techniques for elements such as dialogue, flashbacks, suspense, voice, subtext, and flow.
ENSURE reader engagement by aligning with their expectations, fulfilling promises, and instilling trust.
CHECK issues with context and continuity.
You owe your book more than just a polish and a proofread. Strengthen your story, prepare it for the marketplace, and make it the best it can be with Troubleshooting Your Novel.
NO ONE TELLS A STORY LIKE STEVEN JAMES- Benjamin Thomas
1. What exactly is organic storytelling and can it be learned?
Many people I speak with are simply not interested in or very good at outlining a book. For all of us, there is another approach.
Organic writing is the process of allowing the story to emerge as you work on it rather than plotting it out or outlining it beforehand. It’s a more natural and intuitive way of approaching any art form than imposing predetermined constraints on it
. As far as learning it, unfortunately there are few books that really teach it. Most offer a repackaging of the traditional approach of structure and plot. I offer one approach in my book Story Trumps Structure: Who to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules.
This is awesome! Two words stick out to me in this statement. Emerge and organic. Trusting the story to emerge as we’re writing it is very intuitive.
2. In another interview someone asked how you keep track of plot because you’re an organic writer. You stated the following: “I’m a big believer in context determining content” Can you expand on this?
Within every scene you will find a variety of narrative forces pressing in on the narrative. For example, believability (the scene needs to remain believable within that story world), causality (every event has an impetus and an implication), escalation (tension continues to tighten), and pace, flow, voice, and so on. The context that precedes a scene will affect the emergence and affect of these forces. Really, any scene edited out of context will suffer in one of these areas. Writing great fiction does not consist of filling in the blanks, but in allowing the context and the unfolding promises and their payoff to inform the direction that the story takes.
I love it. Can’t wait to get more into this.
“Writing great fiction does not consist of filling in the blanks, but in allowing the context and the unfolding promises and their payoff to inform the direction that the story takes.”-Steven James
3. What are the major facets of storytelling?
Beyond the ones I mentioned early would be implied and explicit promises. So, is you start a story by showing how perfect Anna’s home life is, with her doting husband and obedient children and daily yoga lessons, it’s an implied promise to readers that things are about to go very wrong very soon. You’re not telling readers this, but they understand the movement of a story and anticipate it. I strive to always give readers what they want or something better. And much of that comes from making big promises. And then keeping them.
This sounds simple yet profound. I totally agree with readers understanding the movement of the story. When all is well in the beginning there’s a certain amount of anticipation and suspense built up. Excellent.
4. What are the biggest hindrances to storytelling?
It’s lonely. Every novel I write requires at least a thousand hours of solitude. At times it’s hard to feel motivated, especially on a project that’s so large and daunting. So, many of the hindrances deal not with content or ideas, but with words and perseverance.
That’s amazing! A thousand hours of solitude rounds out to be 41.6 days steeped in the organic writing process. You just elicited the Wow factor.
“Every novel I write requires at least a thousand hours of solitude.” -Steven James
5. What do you love most about telling stories?
Not going insane by keeping them caged up in my imagination. If I keep them chained up, they start looking for their one way of escape.
I can totally relate to this. This is the real escapism for authors. To gladly unleash our imagination to the world.
Here’s a short poem I couldn’t help but write after hearing about the writing process of Steven James. Here it goes…
A THOUSAND FOR THE MASSES
He gave himself;
to the power of solitude, willingly.
A thousand hours
fiercely burned, consumed, only knew
He gave himself so;
of words, unsparingly.
Now the masses consume them.
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Thanks for ridin’ the Train!