How to survive becoming an author…week 4…Surviving Creative Story Telling Stereotypes!

Introduction, The problem or need, The Conflict, The Climax, The resolution. It may sound like the makings of the perfect ‘One Night Stand’, but it is actually the model from which many story tellers arrange their stories when it comes to writing. Here is an example of what I’m talking about:

“Here is Dave (Introductions). Dave needs a ride to the bar so he can hook up with a babe while avoiding the Mob (The problem or need). Dave calls his friend who apparently wrecked his car dodging a squirrel and now needs to ride his bicycle through the Mob’s territory (The Conflict). Dave narrowly escapes the Mob while riding his bicycle to said bar (The Climax), only to find out he’s 30 minutes late and babe has already hooked up with his friend with wrecked car and Dave ends up passed out in dumpster after drinking away his sorrows (The resolution…sort of).”

And so the Formula goes on, and on, and on, in nearly every piece literature. Most stories are also either narrated by a either a narrator (often referred to as ‘third person’ is a person telling the story who is not actually in the story). Another is a secondary character close to the main characters but has limited interaction with the actual story, action, or plot. Yet another is that the narrative of the story is being told by the main character or supporting characters themselves who actually contribute to the overall action and dialog of the story.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with these particular models, and for most stories this method is actually best. But for the adventurous few, there are a few ways in which you can tell a story using non-traditional stereotypical means.

An example of a non-traditional method of telling a story can be found in a book penned by Tom Lambert entitled “Living with Earl”. The book is a fictional narrative of the author himself (Tom) and his live-in house guest (Earl) who looks and speaks exactly like the famous author Samuel Langhorne Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain). The inspiration for the book came from the famous author’s thousands of known quotes, which Tom Lambert individually picked out one at a time and wrote a short story for each based on the Mark Twain quote. Though the stories are short, each story builds one upon an other to a crescendo of emotions, and produces thought provoking commentary on such topics as veterans and today’s youth, not to mention a few laughs along the way.

Another example of non-traditional story telling can be found in Jim Beard’s prose series called “Sgt. Janus, Spirit Breaker”. Roman Janus is an ex-soldier who now travels around “Breaking” spirits and demons from various locations in the late 1800’s early 1900’s England. In the first book of the series, the story is told chapter by chapter, by each of the spirit breaker’s clients, who are asked to write a journal accounting for every aspect of their experience while he battles the spirits to the finest details. Once again like Mr. Lambert’s book, the stories are told in short chapters, but the progression of Sgt. Janus’ deterioration as his adventures begin to take a toll on the character is evident  with his described demeanor with each passing story. A very impressive feat of story telling in both instances.

So as you sit down to write that first novel you’ve always dreamed of penning or typing, keep in mind that your creativity does not have to always follow traditional story telling stereotypes. Don’t be afraid to venture into uncharted territories and let your readers see the story in a new and exciting angle and view that only you can tell. Mix it up, break traditions and be, you!

For more information on Tom Lambert and his novel “Living with Earl” go to http://www.livingwithearl.com/ or follow him on facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/LivingWithEarl/

For more information on Jim Beard and his “Sgt. Janus” series, you can look him up on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Jim-Beard/e/B004UWVOPE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1471732278&sr=1-1 and while you are at it, show him some love on his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/thebeardjimbeard.

For more information on me and my writing, feel free to follow me on my Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/authorterryjames or on Amazon @ https://www.amazon.com/Terry-James/e/B00HUB1Q6Y/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1471732632&sr=8-2

Best of luck in your writing and I will see you next week for another installment, and be sure to drop me in a comment on this and my other blogs! Let’s get a conversation started, especially those with experience so we can all help new, budding writers achieve their dream!

She was a woman of exquisite taste

“Your wife is a woman of exquisite taste!” Miss Elizabeth Strough commented as she was led inside the home of Mr. And Mrs. Andrew Armsden.

Mr. Armsden ushered her in and immediately took her coat, “Miss Strough, please do come in and make yourself at home.”

“Please,” she insisted quickly, “call me Elizabeth. The is no need for formalities, you know why I’m here.”

He took immediate notice of her rather thin frame. She was taller than average for her build and appropriately dressed for a young lady her age whom was attending a formal dinner. But there much more to her visit than idle chat.

“Of course, Elizabeth, if you’d like to take a seat, I’ll have some refreshments brought out as soon as possible.” He replied as he offered her a rather comfortable looking chair.

“Thank you,” she accepted as she eased her way into the chair, noting to herself the exquisite patterns and gothic décor of the room, “will Mrs. Armsden be joining us soon?”

Cooper Armsden seemed to stop in his tracks at the question, though his face remained as confident looking as it had when she first walked in, “I’m afraid The misses has become quite ill in the last few hours and has taken to bed early. She does apologize for any inconvenience and hoped you might still stay for dinner, no used wasting such a delectable meal.”

“That is indeed disheartening, and troublesome for a woman of her age, I hope it is nothing serious?”

“Nothing to worry about I’m sure, now, you’ve come all this way, would you honor a old man’s invitation to dinner? Perhaps in due time, she may feel better and grace us with her presents?”

The young woman thought about it for a moment. She had indeed traveled way to far to just make a waste of her time, “Very well, I accept!”

“Splendid!” The old man shouted excitedly, “it won’t be but a moment I assure you.”

With a bow of the head, he disappeared into another room, leaving Elizabeth alone to her thoughts. She had been on the trail of this elusive collector of rare and one-of-a-kind art work for some time. Many had attempted to interview Lady Armsden for years, and in a moment of shear luck, a representative for the art collector just happen to appear in for office.

It was a writer’s dream to interview a woman such as herself, and she wasn’t going to take this news lying down. She’d camp outside the house if necessary. It was during this time that she paused from her thoughts and gazed in amazement at the absolute beauty of an art collection which nearly covered every inch of the walls in the room.

It was shortly after this discovery when Mr. Armsden made his way back into the room, “if you would like, we may sit at the table now. Dinner will be ready shortly.”

In true gentlemanly fashion, he offered the young lady a arm as he escorted her into a grand dining hall equally adorned with a collage of artwork from nearly every artist the woman could think of. The table itself could easily seat thirty people and stretched onimously from one side of the room to the other. At the far end of the table there were two places set up for them.

“Won’t you have a seat?” The man gestured to one of the chairs.

Elizabeth did so as the man assisted with pushing the chair in before retiring to his own. Before her was a small plate covered in a cloche with a empty wine glass, silverware, and a napkin.

“I hope you will forgive me,” the old man started as he leaned over his own plate, “but I had sent the butler and chef home a few hours before your arrival. But if it helps, in my many travels around this world, I have become something of an accomplished chef when it comes to preparing food.”

Elizabeth was taken aback for a moment as she stared at her setting once again, then smiled, “I would be honored to taste the culinary wonders of a eccentric and elusive multimillionaire with a fine taste in visual masterpieces.”

The man smiled, “I am glad to hear it, please, help yourself!”

She reached up and lifted her cover, an amazing aroma welcomed her as she began to inspect the contents of her plate. Meats, cheeses, and a small variety of small bread wafers covered in a sauce that she could not quite identify. A quick glance across the table revealed the similar contents on her host’s plate as well. She took a moment to take in the sweet aroma before speaking again, “it smells absolutely wonderful, what do you call this?”

“I haven’t really got a name for it. It is from way back in my younger days when I was on the hunt in Africa when I discovered this particular entrée from some of the locals.” He confessed.

“Do please go on,” Elizabeth said as she scooped up a spooned up a cautious amount and brought it to her lips, I am most intrigued to hear of your travels.”

The man took a healthy bite on wiped his mouth, “I’m afraid that the story is much less glamorous than it sounds, Miss Elizabeth. Myself, my good friend Thomas Thayer, and our expedition was on the hunt for an elusive lion that had been terrorizing a few of the local villages. We’d tracked it for weeks into the Lybian Dessert and somehow lost our way.”

“How horrible!” She replied as she continued to eat. The dish was absolutely delicious and she caught herself beginning to take very un-womanly bites. She cautiously forced herself to keep to the small bites despite the fact that as unlike her it was, all she wanted to do was pick up the plate and pour it in her mouth all at once.

“It was a horrible experience to say the least.” The man continued, “Both our trackers were lost to the lions during our hunt and we’d all but given up the search. By the thirtieth day, we were lost and exhausted of all our rations. It seemed almost hopeless until…”

Elizabeth leaned into the table completely enthralled by his tale. His long pause felt like an eternity, she felt the need to push him forward into the story but at the same time felt it to be rude. Perhaps a painful memory he was trying to word very carefully.

“My friend was the first to go. I supposed it was better that way. I wouldn’t wish our experience on my worst enemy. We were found luckily by a native tribe who nursed us back to health. And it was this very meal that they served us again and again.” He finally smiled, “of course I’ve embellished and tinkered with the recipe on and off, but the basic ingredient is still the same.”

“And that is?” she asked as she looked down at the plate and noticed it was empty. She was surprised yet mortified as to how quickly she had eaten it, almost embarrassed that he might notice. Instead, as she raised her eyes back at the gentleman, she was greeted with a warm and kindly smile.

“relax my dear, your eyes say it all, and it is the same reaction I had when I first had it. It is quite an intriguing and wonderful dish do you agree?”

“Quite,” she hesitated as she stared back down at the plate.

“Would you like another helping,” the man asked with the same quirky smile on his lips, “I will understand if you say no, but there is no need for lady-like courtesies around here, no one in this house goes hungry.”

“If it be no trouble…”

“No trouble at all. But if you don’t mind, perhaps you may join me in the kitchen,” he gestured towards the kitchen door, “my old legs don’t get me around quite as quickly as they used to.”

“But of course.”

“And maybe while we are there, we can make a dish for the misses as well, perhaps the aroma may wake her naturally and you can still get your interview.”

“That would be lovely.”

Elizabeth stood and walked to the old man’s side. After helping him from his chair, she began to walk him to the kitchen door. He stopped her just short of the door and turned to her, “we must take care to be silent as not to wake her before she wakes on her own.”

“I understand,” she replied with an excited grin on her face, “silent as a mouse.”

The two finally walked quietly into the kitchen. The room was pitch black with a very ominous feel that clung to her like rain soaked clothing. A stale stench filled her nostrils as the door behind them shut with a uncommonly loud click. It was about that time when she noticed that the old man was no longer beside her. She began to franticly wave her arms around her immediate area in hopes of finding him.

“Is this a joke?” she asked loudly as she continued her search, “if it is, I’m not very amused.”

“Relax my dear,” the man replied, his voice sounding as though it were coming in all directions, “I just need to find the light switch. It will be but just a moment.”

Elizabeth was frightened at this point but continued to feel her way through the dark until she finally found his hand and held it for dear life. “I am terribly scared of the dark, please hurry!”

“Ah!” he shouted, “Eureka!”

The lights suddenly turned on with a blinding glow. Elizabeth had to squint her eyes momentarily as she became accustomed to the glare. Once adjusted, she was finally able to focus on the man who was standing across the room from where she was.

“I’ve been meaning to have a switch placed closer to the door, will you forgive me?”

Suddenly, she began to wonder to herself that if he was across the room, who’s hand was she holding at the moment. She also noticed the cool clammy feeling the hand she held offered. She slowly turned and stared down at the hand and instantly began to scream.

The hand was attached to the body of an elderly woman who was laying pale on the kitchen counter. Her lifeless face was frozen with the look of extreme terror. But even more horrifying was that a portion of her leg looked as though it had been sheered with a kitchen blade.

As hard as she tried, Elizabeth could not tear her eyes off the woman as the old man approached her from behind, the sound of a kitchen knife being unsheathed from a wood block was nearly deafening.

“Well my dear,” the old man replied calmly, “you did say she was a woman of exquisite taste…or as it would turn out…a woman that taste…exquisite.”

Becoming Undead

I guess I got about five minutes or so, funny how your life really comes into prospective when facing your own death head on. Why on earth did I open that door? I’m such an idiot! Even the reports on TV said not to open your doors to anyone, especially this poor sap. My god I made a mess of him! He was pounding on the door moaning, I was afraid if I didn’t help him he’d of thought badly of me later. Little did I suspect that he was wanting to help himself to me. He wasn’t being polite about it either, bout chewed my arm off not even a moment from the time he stumbled in the door. I must have hit him at least a hundred times before I finally found my trusty Louisville Slugger beside the stove in the kitchen instead of the closet I normally keep it. No use telling my son to stop moving things around I guess. I must have hit him hard for his head to split open like that. He barely resembles the man I used to know from down the hallway. Now he just lying in a heap on my floor, head completely smashed in, and brain matter leaking all over the rug. Perhaps I should clean it before- NO… I will not spend the few fleeting moments I have left on earth cleaning up after this guy. I just feel really tired and need to retire to the living room and sit a spell. Maybe reflect for a moment, whatever good it may do me. In a few moments or so, I will be no better than this guy. I hope I’m too dumb to open a door so I don’t hurt anyone. I’d knock myself off, but I was stupid and sold my gun for cash at one of those buy back events. Didn’t even get what I paid for it. It’s funny, so some odd reason, I can’t seem to recall my childhood. Maybe it is an effect of the poison that now courses through my veins. Try to think man, think! Nothing. I can remember my wedding day though. Oh, what an awesome event, we had the most delicious chicken and…and…funny, that seems to elude me now as well. Good thing my wife is out of town with our son, she won’t have to worry about walking in on this mess right away. Hopefully someone will come in and off me before she returns. This chair feels amazing, always has but this time, wow! I can’t feel my legs. Guess this is how it ends, alone and numb from the waist down. My skin color is starting to change now too, all pale and greenish, and is that puss pouring out of my arm? Not to mention this god awful taste in my mouth and this now constant ringing in my ear. I can’t move now, I am completely numb and can do nothing but stare up at this ceiling, I always hated the color, wanted to paint it on a few occasions but… I hear something…daddy? Who could be…the sound of a kid’s voice is ringing in my head. It just keeps calling out… daddy, daddy, daddy…and another voice now…screaming. I want to cry for help, but right now…the only thing I can seem to think of is…this terrible, dreadful hunger…