I am so pleased and grateful to have Denis Ledoux, of the Memoir Network, as my guest blogger today! Denis has been helping people to write memoirs since 1988–and has graciously offered to write this article, the first in a series of 3, for “That Money Girl”! And this couldn’t be more perfectly timed as my 2-Hour Tele-Class on “3 Easy Steps to Unleashing Your Money Miracles: Co-Creative Writing 101” is around the corner on 12/7/13...click here for details.
Article by Denis Ledoux, The Memoir Network: 11/26/13
There is power in writing a money story. Your money story can transform you as it leads to understanding the money energy in your life and ultimately making that energy work for you. To get the most out of your money story, you would do well to let a few writing suggestions guide you in its composition.
In this first of series of articles, I will write about three features you must utilize in the writing of a story. These are character, action and setting. In the following two articles, I will write about point of view and about details.
A story is not a journal entry. Ranting and raving fit into a journal but not into a story—unless it is in the dialog. Story has its own dynamics which in turn lead to their own conclusions. In writing your money story—as with any other story, connect to your story as a literary form—literary here refers to in writing not to Nobel Prize material. There are requirements that go into the creation of an effective story—whether written or spoken. As mentioned before these are character, action and setting.
1. Your characters are the people in your story.
Describe your people in detail (more on this to come in the third article), using your sense awareness of them: sight, sound, sight, touch and tastes associated with them. Be specific. Your mother did not only scream she screamed in a high pitch. Your father not only swore at his bosses, he swore with all the energy in his lungs so that his neck turned red. Your grandparents were not only poor. They lived in a four room house with a porch that sagged in the middle so that there was a row of boards laid down from the steps to the front door.
It is your job to bring vivid written characters to the attention of your readers. You must use descriptive details to present believable characters. Without other people, our lives and memoirs risk loosing their meaning. Although ideas are pivotal for many individuals, relationships are even more commanding. We are intrigued with who other people are and how they function. “Who’s that? What are they doing? Where did they come from?” These are question we want answered. To write a strong story, capitalize on this interest. Remember: you are always your own best audience.
2. The action is what happened in your story.
The action of your story is its PLOT. Something must happen in your story.
Listen to how a child tells a story. It is all action. Nuances of character and setting are immaterial to the child. It’s what happens that counts. Our reliance on action, on plot, doesn’t wane as we grow older, but our ways of using it grow more sophisticated.
One writer’s trick is to start in the middle of things. If you are writing about the time you got fired from a job, don’t start with the first vocational aptitude test you took in high school. Instead, start when you are first detecting a problem with a supervisor and then proceed from there to the unhappy conclusion. This sort of quick pacing will keep the interest of the reader and will keep you writing about what is really important.
Keep explanations and background material brief. Avoid the lengthy, informational flashback. Providing too much context can overwhelm your story and dissipate the energy of the action.
3. The setting is where your story happens.
The setting is both the where and the when of your story. The where is the place in which the story occurs. It includes interiors and exteriors of buildings, the landscape, and the political demarcations (town, county, country, etc.). The when includes the calendar time as well as the history of the characters and of their community (family, group, nation, etc.). Setting, like character, is also best established with ample sense-oriented details.
Without the sort of tangible physical setting provided in the paragraph above, your story remains an ethereal piece–inhabited by phantoms in a conceptual space. You story needs to have a sense of place that is very real. Descriptive writing full of sensory details will do that.
To achieve the full power of telling your money story, respect the requirements of good story writing. You reward in understanding will be all the greater.
Denis Ledoux directs The Memoir Network has helped people to write memoirs since 1988. His Free Basic Membership provides writers with much information: reports, e-books. MP3s as well as a memoir-writing newsletter. His Memoir Start Up Package is a value packed opportunity to give succeeding at writing a memoir your best shot.
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