Tag Archives: Press

Isolation: A Vital Element of Story

Your main character, the hero of the story no matter the genre, must be isolated to make a logical, powerful story.

I don’t mean stranded on a desert island isolated, but cut-of-from-help isolated.

It’s amazing how many pictures of “alone” and “isolated” are negative. Am I the only one who likes to be alone?

Consider, your hero encounters a problem in the first act of the story. We learn who the hero is, what their normal is, and then something happens… this is the inciting incident. What happens next is the isolation of your hero. It isn’t enough for the problem to be solvable, it must only be solvable by the hero.

Such isolation takes on many forms. It could be they (the hero and the merry band of support characters, or the ensemble) are literally cut off. Their plane crashes in the dinosaur-infested jungle and there are no other humans for miles.

Or it could be a matter of skill set. The president is dying on Air Force One and the hero is the only doctor. It all on the hero.

It could be relational. The hero estranged from his dying father is the only one who can fulfill his last request. Or a terrorist will only deal with the hero, no one else.

This is vitally important because, hey, if there is someone better suited to save the day, why is your character the hero?

This is particularly difficult in today’s society where everyone has a cellphone. You either need to get rid of the phone, out of range, broken, or dead battery, or isolate through time; there are others more suited, but they don’t have time to get there, or are unmotivated, or in league with the villain.

How is your character isolated? Make sure it’s clear and strong or your story will be unbelievable.

Book Design

I’m currently designing my latest book. It’s non-fiction, and let me tell you, designing a non-fiction book takes days and often weeks to get right. Novels, fairly easy, but if there’s special formatting, that takes a long time too.

I’m not complaining, far from it. I’m making a point about using a publisher such as us rather than self-publishing. For a lot of writers, the written word is their strength, layout and design, not so much. Covers! Oh, my, there is so much that goes into that!

Don’t be a lonely wolf just howling at the moon.

It doesn’t matter what publisher you have, traditional, independent, or self, marketing and publicity is going to be on you. Publishers help, but platform building is a writer’s job. Layout and design? ISBN, registering, loading and categorizing to Amazon the most effective way… these are where 90% of writers need help.

If you’re a designer and writer, and you’re confident you can do it alone, good luck and best wishes. Not sure about all that? Want a little help and fellowship along the path? That’s what Prevail Press is about.

If you’re not a Lone Wolf, join our band of merry writers. We want to help.

Small Print: We don’t take everyone. You have to have a quality book that fits our profile. But I’ll talk to everyone.

when he tells a story… he TELLS a story!

I’m currently reading The Reckoning by John Grisham.

Image result for grisham

Clearly, no one has ever told him to Show not Tell. John Grisham is the master of telling, and I mean TELLING a story. He has a vast narrative distance, never walks us beside a character when he can just tell us, and rarely makes us feel for a character.

And yet it works.

Originally, I thought it was because his characters were nasty and lawyers and since everyone hates lawyers, he found his niche. Then he started writing about non-lawyers who were often nasty, and yet many who weren’t.

My favorite Grisham novel is still his first, A Time to Kill, which I think had more passion, but I’ve enjoyed all of them. Largely because he plots in the micro and macro very well.

This, however, is not a book review. It’s about how he tells a story his way and makes it work.

YOU can relate a story your way and make it work.

Yet there are some non-negotiables. Accurate grammar and spelling and punctuation everywhere except in dialog and maybe if you’re first person narrating, but even then vernacular speech should be weighed carefully and in small measure. Struggling to understand what’s being said gets old fast.

Everything else is up for grabs. Linear or non-linear? Yes. Truthful narration or false narration? Yes. Flashbacks? Dream sequences? Sure, why not? Take a rule and break it? Yes if you know what the rule is.

Find your own unique angle. It may become your signature.

Write on!