I'm currently reading a crime novel based in New Orleans. It's got quite an interesting premise but about 60 pages into it I've come across a few flaws.
As I said, the story line is great but I have a hard time believing that an editor ok'd this particular version. The author is fond of very long paragraphs. And they aren't just long, they've got multiple topics within each paragraph making it very difficult to follow along. This creates more of a distraction to the flow of the story causing the reader to go back and figure out how the paragraph started again.
And then there's a detail that I'm having a hard time getting past. It's math. The author had given the protagonist an age of 37, however, he's packed a lot into his 37 years. His 13 year marriage is on the rocks - putting him at 24 when said marriage took place. Prior to his marriage he got a degree in law, passed the bar and had been working as a prosecutor for about 18 months BEFORE he met his wife. So, by my calculations unless he was 13 when he went to law school, the numbers just don't add up. As they've also given the back story on him, not only did he not start University right out of high school but he spent a year doing other activities.
In reality he should be about 43 or 44 for all of this to ring true.
So, my advice to authors - take care of the details because if you create an area in your story of disbelief, it's going to make the rest of it difficult for your readers to buy into.
It's important to get feedback on your work from people other than friends and family. If you are serious about writing, then spend some time and money on finding a good editor that you can learn from and can help you take your work to the next level.
Take care and happy reading!
Darlene Poier Publisher / Owner Pages Of Stories
It's All About Books
Go into any bookstore and you'll find a decent sized section devoted to personal growth. You'll find books about meditation and spirituality, books on overcoming self-limiting beliefs, books on positive thinking and books about finding your passion. I read all of these books and then some, but it's the last set on finding your passion that made me pause and re-think what my goal in life is.
I don't know if you've ever struggled with what really makes you tick and gets your juices flowing, if you have then I highly recommend heading to a book store or library to find out. But if you've got the time, I'd like to share a little of my journey to finding my passion.
I never became an author because I wasn't prepared to dig deep and face the demons of my imagination. I wasn't prepared to explore the emotional highs and lows that's required of an author in order to get the story out. I wasn't prepared to find out who I was while writing a story.
Instead I preferred the entrepreneurial path. I felt that being an entrepreneur meant that I come up with an idea, a good business plan and then market the heck out of it. I didn't realize that I was missing a piece - a piece of my soul needed to be involved in this plan. Truthfully I didn't appreciate that until quite recently. I didn't appreciate that you need to invest yourself emotionally as well as intellectually and financially in any business.
Writers face this emotional challenge each and every time a new story invades their imagination. I can appreciate that it's exhausting to be all characters in a story and still remain who you truly are. Similarly, I've tried to run this business all sorts of different ways but one thing I never explored was the way that was truly me - Darlene Poier.
It's a scary proposition to do some inner reflection and it wasn't pretty. I was inspired to this particular juncture in my journey by my husband Gary. His workshops - while always good and informative - lacked a personal connection to him. He struggled with admitting who he was and as he delved further into what seemed an abyss - he found some light. And as I watched this unfold I was completely taken aback. My stoic, German husband pealing away the layers of his walls and allowing a truer and more authentic Gary to shine through.
I watch as he looks back in clarity and forward in confidence and I think to myself - "If he can do it, then I can do it." Thus started my journey of self-examination.
Like with everyone else, society puts pressure on people to be like everyone else because being different could mean getting hurt; being different also shows people who they can be. I tried for years to be like everyone else and it wasn't until this self-examination that I understood why I failed. In each job I've ever had I was always technically competent at it but after 3 or 4 years I found a reason to leave it. Often it was a company policy I found distasteful, or an ask that offended me or having my abilities discounted by someone in authority. I went from job to job to job and I told myself that I was always moving up the ladder.
I wasn't. I was never going to get promoted because I'd built a reputation in each of these companies as a difficult employee. While never outwardly rude or belligerent I'd never fully bought the mantra put forth by these companies and their executives. They knew it. I've always had my own mind and am not motivated by the things they think motivate me.
While I admit that I'm not an easy employee, the biggest thing I learned about myself was that I wasn't entirely fair to those that did want to succeed in those companies. I was arrogant in my own rebellion because I'd not found anything else to be truly passionate about.
When I was laid off from a job that I actually loved I was crushed and bitter - for years. But I started publishing because I loved to read and thought everyone else did too. So it came as a surprise to my ego to discover that not everyone else loved to read as I did. I eventually went into hiatus and licked my wounds.
I started back up again 18 months later with a new look and new technology and with the same thought - everyone will love this. Once again my ego was surprised to discover that wasn't the case.
So, I re-evaluated the business plan yet again and came up with something new. And what I again failed to understand was that it wasn't the business plan failing, it was me. Somehow after all these years I'd kept a wall up between what I really love and what I was really doing.
I truly believe that if people read more creative and enlightening stories, they will learn and grow and think and imagine and learn. Their minds will be stretched by what they've read and comprehended. I encourage people to read stuff they wouldn't normally read, read something that's politically repulsive or spiritually benign. Read something out of your comfort zone so your comfort zone can expand.
I know people that will only read political articles, or romance novels, or personal growth - and that's OK. But if you don't diversify what goes into your mind, how do you continue to grow? "“He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that." - John Stuart Mill. If you only know one genre, how do you really understand it if you haven't read anything else?
Sorry, I digress. My original thought with my company was that if I could find really interesting and creative stories more people would want to read in order to expand their minds or at least be entertained. But what I chose to ignore all these years was that I absolutely love the process of putting a book together. At first when it was just an online magazine I had a great deal of fun and it was exciting to create something on my computer that looked like a real magazine.
As we've evolved and I look at the process of having put together "Tales from the Script" I realized that there was no part of the process I didn't enjoy. And when I finally spent the time to examine this, I admitted that it's taking a story from a draft to a printed and bound product that gets my juices flowing. The process of finding a unique and creative story, getting a talented editor to make it appealing to all and then finding a graphic designer to make it look pretty was exciting. But the best part for me was putting all these finished pieces into my computer and coming out with something spectacular. Knowing that on this computer something was being created that had never existed before. Knowing that someone was going to read a story and love it or hate it - but their mind will be a little more open than it had been before.
I love it. I love every step of this process and now my big goal is to help authors through this same journey so their stories can be read and shared throughout this world.
I couldn't have gotten here without looking clearly in the mirror and evaluating what I'm about. And now I'm excited for the future because finally - at the age of 46 - I figured out what I truly love to do.
My hope for you is that as you do some self-examination you can find what truly gets your juices flowing and then ... pursue it like you have no tomorrow.
What's New at Pages Of Stories
The very first book, "Tales from the Script" has been out for about 3 months now. There really is no difference between this book and the previousFicta Fabula magazine except for more stories. We've been really fortunate to find some very talented authors that come up with fairly creative stories. All magazines and books are available for sale in the shop section of our website.
JOURNAL MAKING AND BOOKBINDING WORKSHOP
I've now done two bookbinding and journal making workshops and they've gone over really well. I can honestly say that I think I've learned as much from the participants as they have from me. The next one takes place at Airdrie Public Library starting on May 29. You can register at the library by calling (403) 948-0600. There are 3 sessions lasting 3 hours each. The cost is only $15 to make a journal of unlined pages and $20 to make a journal of lined pages. The paper is supplied and I'm in the process of creating a manual.
While this isn't a Pages Of Stories news item, I just wanted to officially congratulate one of our favourite authors and supporters of this little venture. Gordon Arnold has his own collection of short stories - a couple of which have appeared in our realm. You can purchase his book by clicking on this link.
PROFESSIONAL PRINTING AND BINDING
A new service is being offered to people who have written their memoirs or novel or anything and want a professional looking finish. One of the many challenges I've faced over the years of publishing is getting the work printed as cost effectively as possible. Last summer I learned two kinds of bookbinding methods and I've printed and bound Tales from the Script myself. If you would like to discuss how to get your work done up professionally, just send me an email. To get more information about the service being offered, just click on this link.
I'm applying for a grant from Yale Publishing Course to attend their week long course in the summer for book publishers. I've only just started the application process and don't yet know what the application fee is but I remain hopeful. To spend a week at Yale University in Connecticut would be mind blowing for me.
I've also started applying for a grant from the Canadian government to create and publish Folkloric stories from the Aboriginal culture. I've always believed that there's lots of interesting lessons that we never heard about and would like to help bridge the gap between Aboriginals and non Aboriginals.
And there's always new items being added to our store. Take a look at our store.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!