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Write Your Best Story

2015 February 20
by Fay Lamb

Antique Typewriter, Antique Typewriter, Antique Typewriter Antique TypewriterWrite your best story. Great advice, but the sentiment is vague.

What is your best story?

The market (both traditional and indie) is flooded right now by writers who believe they have written their greatest achievement until their next story gets put down on paper.

The trouble is, many have no idea what their best story can be because they haven’t studied the craft of storytelling. Increasingly the level for excellence has been lowered.

Yes, this business is a subjective one. An editor looks at a story and decides it doesn’t have what it takes. Another reviews the same manuscript, and he feel it’s the author’s breakout novel. Independent writers, so proud of their prose that they believe it can rise above the millions of other published works, place it in the market. Some readers love it. Others hate it.

How in the world is an author supposed to craft their best story in such an industry where beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder?

I used a key word in that leading question. Did you see it? Right in the middle is the word craft.

Craft is vital to storytelling. Putting a story onto paper is only the beginning. Once it’s on the paper, like a sculptor, the author needs to chisel away words, scenes, entire chapters. Just as a painter would do, an author needs to color the prose with conflict, emotion, and vibrant pictures.

I’m afraid that in today’s world of publishing (in both traditional and indie), crap instead of craft is the key word. Individuals who long to be authors aren’t satisfied with rejection, even when the rejections are specific enough to help them begin to craft a story into a masterpiece. They do not want to take the time it takes to learn how to craft a story. They lean upon the “subjective” nature of the work. “Well, not everyone is going to like it.”

Couple that with editors (both in-house and freelance) who haven’t studied the craft of storytelling, the art of punctuation, and the refinement of grammar, and the industry has a very big problem. Horrible novels are flooding the marketplace, tainting the industry—especially the Christian publishing industry, which has had to fight this stigma from the beginning.

The beginning of the solution lies in self-editing. To do so, thought, an author must learn the craft of storytelling, the art of punctuation, the refinement of grammar and using it to tell the best story ever. He or she must also learn to discern good advice from bad, to lay aside their objectivity and begin to realize whose subjectivity is the best to lean upon.

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Fay Lamb (The Tactical Editor)  is an author, editor, and writing coach.

Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, Art of Characterization Cover FINAL FRONT (2)Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on three romance novellas: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, A Ruby Christmas,  A Dozen Apologies, and the newly released The Love Boat Bachelor. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay are: Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes, Books 3 and 4 of Amazing Grace and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind. Also, look for Book 1 in Fay’s Serenity Key series entitled Storms in Serenity.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.

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