What’s Your Angle?

17 Sep

003Look at me, back on Wednesday, twice in one week. Will wonders never cease?

I’m actually getting comfortable with the new schedule, and that means more efficiency, and that means you are burdened with another blog post.  LOL

I received two more rejections for “Resurrecting Tobias” today.  Good thing because the kitty litter box needed cleaning.  Think about it…think about it….I knew you’d find the humor in that eventually.

Okay, let’s get this show started.


“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared
believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.”
– Bruce Barton

So, let’s talk about naysayers and self-doubt.


I don’t really use my rejection letters for the kitty litter box. I print them out and hang them on the wall of my writing studio.  I need a reality check daily, and a little motivation never hurt me either.

Check out the quote by Mr. Barton, whoever the heck he is.  Do you believe there is something inside of you that is superior to your circumstance?  It’s an important question so give it some thought.

Writers live an isolated life at times.  We are sitting on a tiny island in a vast sea, and there are days it feels like the rescue ship will never arrive.  Those are the days you better believe in what you are doing.  Those are the days you need to take those self-doubts, and the negative words you have heard from others, and you need to either push them aside or use them as motivation…but whatever you do…don’t believe them.


Begin each morning by standing in front of a mirror and repeating these words:  I am a writer and a damned good one.

Then go out and prove it.


My dear friend Liz Davis (Radcliff on HP) agreed to do another post for me, so I’ll turn the rest of this blog over to her. I just love it when my friends do my work for me.


In an early episode of Seinfeld, Jerry and Elaine forged a plan before heading out to a party later that night. The plan was this: If either were to become stuck in dull conversation with a stranger at the party, Jerry or Elaine would signal one another by patting themselves on the head. The free one would swoop in to pull the other away, saving the victim from ongoing boredom.

But they weren’t prepared for the inevitable. Both ended up stuck with twits, and both ended up patting their heads with no one to relieve them. Jerry finally broke free and rescued Elaine.

“Where have you been?” She asks. “I’ve been beating myself senseless over here.”

Like so many other Seinfeld moments, it’s funny because we’ve all been there. Whether it’s the chatterbox at the supermarket or the egomaniac on the plane, your insides tingle as anxiety mounts. Your brain screams in agony while you sit and nod politely with glazed eyes.

Whether you’re writing an essay or having a conversation, no one wants to tell a dry story devoid of that gasp-factor. Yet we’ve all had amazing tales to tell that simply fell flat straight out of our mouths or onto the page.

So how can plain stories be saved? How do we avoid putting readers to sleep with humdrum writing?

The answer is in the angle.

An angle adds an element of surprise to your personal essay or memoir. Although the angle is called something different in fiction writing or advertising, the gist is still the same. It’s what makes your story interesting, even if it’s happened a million times before.

Once you find your angle, you have a roadmap. A clear angle keeps your story trimmed down to the essential elements, making sure you don’t drift down any dead-end alleys.

For example, say I wanted to write an article on my current hometown of Hudson, Florida. This is about as dull and drab a place as you’ll ever find, so creating an angle is crucial. I could base my article on the subject–Hudson is six-point-something square miles, it’s an hour north of Clearwater, it’s in the Tampa Bay area–cluttery data no one cares about. Another option? I could interview my high school teachers who still teach, asking them how students here have changed over the past 25 years. This creates an angle from the subject. It adds interest–and perhaps surprise elements– to the story.

So how do you find an angle?

  • Talk it through. Speaking out loud is a great way to pull the angle from your story, especially if you’re talking to an audience (spouse, parent, friend).
  • Look at what’s trending on Google. Why is this story so gripping? The answer is your angle.
  • Did you overhear someone say something that grabbed your attention? Did it make you angry/happy/worried? There’s your angle.

So if your story has you smacking yourself in frustration, remember: there’s an angle in there somewhere. Find it and your muse will rescue you from that crowded party of boring storytellers.

I invite you to come check out my new blog called Mellow Mother. The tagline/angle: enjoying simple moments amid the chaos. At Mellow Mother, I’ll talk about easy creative projects, simple stress management, and painless teaching techniques. I’m delving into the subjects of Montessori education and the Reggio Emilia approach to learning, so I’m sure I’ll soon be writing about those subjects as well.


Check out this new poet I found on HP…crissalina is her profile name and I think you’ll enjoy her.


My thanks, again, to Lizzy for that great post.  She hit the proverbial nail on the head with that one. I don’t think there are boring topics. I do, however, believe there are boring writers.

Please check out her new blog at http://www.mellowmother.com.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”







14 Responses to “What’s Your Angle?”

  1. Janine Huldie September 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    Bill, I have a dog crate if that helps?! No, but seriously couldn’t help smiling at your comment and loved today’s guest post referencing that classic Seinfeld episode, which makes total sense in the way it was related for us writers here today. Happy Wednesday to you both now 🙂

    • Billybuc September 17, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

      Janine, I’ll take that dog crate. Thanks! LOL You are special and I do appreciate you. Happy Hump Day my friend.

  2. Denise Anderson September 17, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

    This happened to me just yesterday as I was writing a blog post. I wanted to put a spin on it that emphasized the feelings I had during a particularly difficult moment, and then how these feelings were resolved. It took a few tries, but I think that I accomplished that goal!

    • Billybuc September 17, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

      Thanks Denise. I think most of us have faced that moment when writing when we realize we need a new angle….hopefully we always find it.

  3. Audrey Howitt September 17, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    When I was practicing law, I used to have my wall of fame and my wall of shame–where I pinned the oddest wins and losses–kind of like kitty litter–sometimes I felt I had a part in the win or loss, but often, no–it was something else in the universe that would have pushed to that conclusion without my presence entirely–well enough rambling–it is a teaching dday for me so I had best be getting to it

    • Billybuc September 17, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

      Audrey, I always appreciate your thoughts…I love the wall of fame and wall of shame. Classic! I should do that with my articles.

  4. Shauna L Bowling September 17, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

    Great post, Liz! Bill, I love your final comment: there are no boring topics, just boring writers. So true!

    Sorry to hear about your rejections. This just means you’re closer to acceptance, right?

    • Billybuc September 17, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

      Thanks, Sha, and I love that last line too. As for rejections, they are just motivation for me. 🙂

  5. Dee September 18, 2014 at 6:18 am #

    Another great lesson learned reading your post! I love the trending posts for inspiration.

    • Billybuc September 18, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

      Thank you Dianna and I love them too. We all need a little inspiration, don’t we?

  6. klsilver September 18, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    Look at you go Bill! Keep up the great workxx

    • Billybuc September 18, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

      We do what we can, Sis! Some days it’s like treading water. 🙂

  7. Melanie Chisnall September 23, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

    I just realised I haven’t been over here in a while… oops! Can def relate to your post today about having an angle. The cover for my first fitness eBook got finished today and I spent most of the day reworking the first two chapters with another slight angle to match the tone of the cover. Wow, I forgot how fun publishing a book was. And stressful. 😛 How’s your new book going? Hope you’re having a good one Bill! It’s a public holiday here tomorrow so taking some much needed R&R… now if only it wasn’t going to be raining, lol.

    • Billybuc September 23, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

      Mel, thanks for stopping by on a holiday, and congrats on that cover and the progress on your ebook. My book is progressing…not as quickly as I want, but steady progress…thank you….and if you’ve written on your blog I have not heard about it. 🙂 enjoy your holiday and thank you

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