How Stories Come to Life

AD horses book croppedAndrea here, musing about how my stories come to life. The Wenches were chatting the other day among ourselves about great teachers we had in school (look for that “Ask A Wench” blog on Wednesday!) and that’s what got me to thinking about it . . .

I have a very vivid memory of a school assignment that was my first “formal” introduction to the challenge of storytelling. It was sixth grade English class and our teacher gave each of us a random picture that he had cut out from old books and magazines—mine was a vintage engraving of a young Masai warrior facing down a ferocious lion—and told us to write a short story about

Granted, as a kid I had fooled around drawing crayon pictures and making up little vignettes about them. (And yes, I'm still a very bad speller!) But this demanded that I think of a real story—a beginning, a middle and an end. (I’m not sure my brain thought it through quite that clearly, but I do remember that the assignment really sparked my imagination.)

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A Title by Any Other Name

Me at mariposaPat here, writing from Yosemite's Mariposa Grove:

Quantum asked how the wenches choose their titles and are they as important as the covers? (Quantum wins a book of mine and is still in the pot for the rest of the wenches, because it’s a fun question)

Whether we like it or not, book titles are important. Do you ever receive newsletters like Bookbub or EarlyBird advertising book sales? I’m picking through a recent one, and I apologize to any authors I might offend, but I pulled these titles off one sales sheet: Ballad of the Sad Café, The Revelation Room, Arkansas, Shadow of Ashland—what kind of books do you think these titles represent? Would you reach for any of them? I’d jump on Ballad of the Sad Café, and if I were bored or desperate, I might look into the Revelation Room, but the others, big yawn. THAT’s why titles are important—they persuade readers to snatch a book off the shelf and dive in.

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