Playing a pirate can be fun. Being a pirate is stealing.

Pirating is Stealing

The interwebs have been vibrating with arguments over a website that has pirated many books. Let me be clear. Any site, person, organization which did not pay for copyrighted materials has stolen that property. Pirating books is stealing. There have been flurries of arguments. Some have insisted that all ghostwriters are pirates (ridiculous). Others have argued that anyone who publishes a book a month must be a pirate (not necessarily.) No Excuses I once posted on a social media site. I warned about an organization that had instituted a new policy. Their new policy allowed them to post copyrighted material without permission. My post went to a group of readers and video/movie watchers. The derision invoked by this post amazed me. One commenter said that I’d found the wrong group. No. I did not. If my post warned those who cared, it was enough. If my post educated some who did not understand. That was enough. There are people who understand that pirating is stealing. Some people choose to excuse stealing. Though I suspect that those who excuse stealing books would protest long and loud if a thief had stolen their car or money or furniture. What is Not Piracy […]

Create Strong Obstacles to Make A Super Story

Stories need structure. You don’t have to outline your story but the structure must be there. One of the essential pieces of story structure is the story obstacle or antagonist. As a writer, you know you need a strong obstacle to make a super story, but how does that work on paper?  The Power of the Goal and Problem Your character’s goal and his problem must be powerful enough to engage your reader for the length of the story. Thus a short story problem is short and simple. A novel-length story problem is longer and more complex. And a series of novels have even more complex story problems.  How do you know your story problem is strong enough for a novel? The answer to that question is in your story structure.  Your story starts in the protagonist’s normal world. He has a goal but hasn’t pursued it for internal reasons. If he achieves his goal without difficulty, you have no story. Enter the obstacle or opposition. The obstacle can be one or many things. It can be internal. It can be physical disabilities or challenges. Environmental things such as distance or weather can be an obstacle. Or the obstacle can […]

Do You Know The Secrets of Successful Story-writing?

Yes, there are secrets to successful story-writing but don’t worry, the recipes aren’t hard. The ingredients are classic and simple. The directions aren’t difficult. The execution…well, that part’s up to you. Let’s start with the basic M-R unit. Story equals change…equals cause and effect… equals motivation and reaction. —Dwight V. Swain The Motivation-Reaction Unit Remember the Because-But-Therefore statement I talked about in Because There are Lies, Secrets, and Scars? Now we’re digging deeper into that concept.  The M-R Unit is the creation of Dwight V. Swain and discussed in his book, Techniques of the Selling Writer. The writer who understands the M-R unit will write a successful story. Success may not come in the first draft. But if you understand the M-R unit, you understand one of the secrets of successful story-writing.  In his book, Swain says, “External events have no meaning in themselves, no matter how bland or how violent they may be….They aid in story development only as someone has feelings about them and reacts to them.” Cause and Effect That external event in a story causes the character to have a reaction. Swain calls the event, or cause, a motivating stimulus. The cause, or motivating stimulus,  is […]