Someone in This Story has to die…..

These were the words that came out of the mouth of my leader in a writers meet-up group I attended over 5 years ago. He did me the favor of reading the first 10 pages of “Nick and Me”, the fiction I wrote which finally came out this past July. “Nick and Me” involves four primary characters, and the relationships get a little rocky. His advice was, “Someone in this story has to die.”

Now, this may seem morbid to you, but it was absolutely the truth. The class was about writing in a “narrative arc”, the structure typically used by writers when developing a fictional story. There is a set-up, and lots and lots of conflict that leads to a climax, and then resolution. It’s a rise and fall….therefore, forming an arc. Truth is often stranger than fiction, which is what I was thinking about today.

Our lives are narrative arcs. We are born into a situation where the characters are laid out. We develop relationships with said characters, then there are lots and lots of conflicts (and a bunch of good stuff too), and then we die. There. Narrative Arc. Someone in our stories has to die. We also have to die.

Coming to grips with our own mortality seems easy enough. But, really? If you think about the fact that over 250,000 people will die today, does this give you pause? I hope so. One knowledgeable Indian guru that I saw on YouTube the other day touched on this. His point was that, when you wake up and see you WEREN’T one of the 250,000 that died last night, it’s time to be grateful. Gratefulness has magical qualities. Simple feeling grateful every morning brings more blessings your way. It’s all how you look at things. My partner and I frequently discuss what we are grateful for in the morning.

The fact that you will die also puts things into perspective. Whether you think you only live one life, or many lives, doesn’t detract from the point that this life is short. We stop here only for a short while, so if you are living your life as if it will go one forever, maybe you should knock that off.

If you were to die tomorrow, how would you speak to others? Would you finally acknowledge that certain parts of your life are being led in order to fill someone else’s agenda? We all do this to some extent. If you need to distance yourself from toxic people with negative emotions, please do so immediately. You don’t need to feel sorry for that. After all, it’s not like they are giving you something you need. As a matter of fact, you may be doing them a favor. They will start waking up to what is real. That, I feel, is our task: To WAKE UP and live your truth.

When a writer writes, he/she of course creates all of these characters inside of their head. The characters are the writer’s creation. The characters are like children. You know what they are thinking and feeling, what they ate for breakfast, and the color of their socks, etc. In order to write well, however, as Stephen King says, “You have to kill the babies”. In other words, you have to be willing to eliminate your own creation for the good of the story.

We also have to eliminate some of the babies in our lives. Start living your truth, because someone in this story has to die……

Cheers to a new and glorious week ahead. Go get ’em. Deb

A link to “Nick and Me” on Amazon:

To Blog or Not to Blog….

Oh Will…..what’s up?

Have you ever wondered what would happen if your favorite writer had been born at a different time? I think that the social and political landscape of the individual has a lot to do with writing style and production. For instance, if Shakespeare had been born in 1945, he would have been a baby boomer. What would he have written?

Instead of “Henry V”, he may have written something on “Nixon, the dredge”, or something like that. He would have had a lot of socially challenging events to work on. He may not have been caught up in the English monarchy, but more into the 1960’s youth revolution at the time.

He may have still set his plays in different places around the globe, and you can bet there would still be tragedies, comedies, and love stories. For someone with such a relatively short life span (52 at death), he wrote an amazing 39 plays, 154 sonnets, and 2 long narrative poems. His plays are known worldwide, have been translated into almost every language on earth, and are still widely performed today….400 years after his death!

I am so glad he was a product of the 16th century, and that he had the ability to write like no other. “Tom and Jennifer” may not have had the same PUNCH as “Romeo and Juliet”, nor writing about the World Wars and Vietnam instead of various plays from the War of the Roses time period.

However, we may have had products from him that would have further influenced us as a society. We may have been more proactive about our choices for governmental officials and prevention of climate change, etc. Who knows? He may have had a very active Twitter account and famous blog. At any rate, he changed us for all time. There are over 400 words and phrases that Shakespeare coined, and we use everyday.

Words like: horrid, obscene, frugal, modest, and vast. Phrases like: “all that glitters isn’t gold”, “break and ice”, and “clothes make the man”. Wow, our language would be so boring had it not been for his influence.

If you have some time on your hands, pick up a Shakespeare play. There are helpful books with the play, and explanations or word definitions on the facing page. When you read, read slowly, and then look over the explanatory information. You may find that you enjoy Shakespeare. Then, go and watch the movie if you have time.

There are lessons on life, love, hate, war, crime, deceit, and every other human emotion in those pages. He was a one of a kind writer, and you should give the writing a chance, even if it is 400 years old.

Have a great Wednesday, follow, and check back for more fun stuff.

Cheers, Deb

Free Audible

On Amazon: paperback, Kindle, and Audible

Have you ever listened to a book on tape? Perhaps you have listened while taking a long car trip. I once did this on a 12 hour drive to Illinois. I heard the second book of the Kingsbridge series from Ken Follett, “World Without End”. The series is great, and it’s made even better by real voices that put you in the action.

Time passes a little faster when you are engaged in a story. Take running on the treadmill, for example. Running, even if you’re outside, can become tedious. For this reason, I have downloaded podcasts to entertain me while completing the task.

The reason I am bringing it up, is that right now, you can listen to my book, “Nick and Me”, on Amazon Audible for FREE and receive 2 free weeks of audible. If you don’t want to continue the subscription, you just cancel. You may find that it’s worth it to be entertained if you drive or exercise a lot. You might also just listen while cleaning the house, etc.

Here’s the book blurb:

Tensions flare and emotions explode as four very different people try living in harmony.
Nick is the older brother, and he is a bully.
Sionna is the love of his life.
Ma needs care and attention.
It’s a full-time job becoming an adult.

Just in time for cozy reading: “Nick and Me” in audio. Bobby Gaglini narrates the story of a young man from Milwaukee with just the right tone. The characters come alive, and we can feel the tension.
Not an Amazon Audible user? No problem. Use the following code to get your trial 2-weeks and listen to “Nick and Me” free! You might find out you like listening while you drive….

Just use the link below to get your free copy. I have to add an endorsement to Bobby Gaglini, the voice of my book. He did an awesome job nailing the Milwaukee accent used throughout.

Click the link above!!!

I hope you enjoy your listen. Please share and comment below if you like. By the way…..screenplay is in the works.

Cheers, and happy weekend, Deb

Write, right, rite

I had an awesome event this week. It is the publishing finale of the book I have been working on for about 5 years. The reason I say “about”, is that life gets in the way of art. I had to finish my Bachelor’s degree, move halfway across the country, and lots of other stuff sprinkled here and there. But, finally…..finally, I decided to self publish with Amazon. Partly because finding a book agent that will take on your project is pretty much up there with being struck by lightning, and partly because it’s the least expense with the biggest potential return. And let’s not forget, that publishing means you can move on to other projects.

I love to write and I don’t know why. I think it’s because putting words together in certain positions on a page is pretty magical. How else can we inform, persuade, educate, and entertain others while they are lying in their beds, or soaking by the pool? Someone may be reading this while traveling on the bus to work, or eating lunch in the cafeteria. The thought that we can invade other’s minds in all circumstances is downright cool, and magical. Writing is a right, it’s our right as humans to be able to express ourselves, and that is what writing is for. Writing is also a rite: a ceremonial act or actions. Sitting down to write means clearing the words that have formed into their little shapes and lines, and giving them up for everyone else to see. It is a form of exposure. Writing comes in many forms and can be comical or sensical, abstract or concrete, fanciful or blunt. Writing is just like people in that way. It’s all over the place.

So, when you read my book on your Kindle, or in a paperback format, remember, that the characters came out of my brain. They were, for lack of a better term, birthed by me. I know them inside and out. I know what Nick ate for breakfast, and the color of underwear Sionna is wearing. However, the characters are NOT me. I don’t have the innocence of the protagonist, or the education that Sionna has. I am not the bully Nick is, or demented like Ma (not yet, anyway). Creating characters is fun and time-consuming, but the payoff is you make a few new friends along the way.

Please visit Amazon and pick your poison of Kindle or paper. I hope you leave a review, and enjoy the personal dynamics and conflict along the way…..

Happy reading, Deb

Nick and Me by Debra McGuinty via @amazon

Nick and Me