Studying and learning are completely different. A fellow blogger suggested the book, “Writing for Story” by Jon Franklin. Her post thoroughly convinced me to go forth and buy the book ASAP, which I did.
Excited, when the book arrived, I dove right in. NO!! I did not follow the rules…I read the introduction, and then the last chapter. Discouragement hit me almost from the get go. I did not want to hear how hard it is to become a good writer or how long it takes! Hey I don’t have that much time, I am almost old. I want simple, easy, fast!. Do ABC and presto chango, and instantly I can become Steinbeck or Twain. But NOOOOO, all I hear is, you will be dead before you write anything good and writing something great is you being delusional. Well delusional comes easy for me so at least I am in familiar territory.
Now that you have had that positive introduction, don’t you just want to jump right up and go beg, borrow or steal the book? Sorry Mr. Franklin…hang in there this can only get better from here.
A bit of truth might be good at this point. Nowhere in the book does it say any of those negative thoughts. Those are all just me being me. In fact chapter three Jon Franklin reprints the Ballad of Old Man Peters. This short story encouraged me quite a lot. The story is true and demonstrated how learning and improving never need stop. It was one of the most inspiring short stories I have ever read.
Side note: I just looked outside it’s snowing….AWEEEEESOME!!! Mr. Franklin would never have told you about the snow. He says leave out anything that does not add to the story.
In a nut shell Mr. Franklin lays out a simple (I didn’t say easy) structure for writing a good story. He ought to know a thing or two about writing a good story after all he has won the Pulitzer prize twice. And, I am really doing my best to pay attention and learn from this magical person.
Mr. Franklin says every good story has to have three clear attributes. First the Complication, second the Development or the conflict. Lastly, a resolution to the complication is an absolute requirement. His book is easy reading and the proof should be in the simple fact that I have made it to page 137. One interesting point Mr. Franklin makes is how many stories do not have a clear resolution to the complication and that causes the story to be weak. He says, find the resolution first and work backwards, there you will find the complication, and in between lies a great story.
Even though I am only half way through reading Writing for Story, I am convinced this was the best $9.00 I have spent in the past many weeks. Well, those two fly rods I bought might beat it out but it’s hard to top a new fly rod. Now in the beginning of this post, I wrote studying is not learning. The proof of that might be in how this post did not follow Mr. Franklins structure….at least completely, but then I have not finished reading his book yet. With that in mind let’s all have hope Mr. Franklin’s instruction can help Grayquill’s writing improve. If any of you are curious, I did try to follow his structure in writing this post and maybe I did a bit. I am sure several of you will set me straight.
BTW: GQ has left his delusional state and now knows he can get better even though he’s almost old - he is beginning to learn structure…Yahoo! Complication: GQ is delusional
1. Age makes learning harder
2. GQ admits being lazy
3. GQ fears he can’t learn
4. The book helps GQ change his thinking
5. GQ thinks his writing can get better
Resolution: GQ applies Structure