Archive | February, 2020

The Bestseller Within You

25 Feb

“Inside each man is a bestselling novel.”

Have you heard that saying before?  I paraphrased it, I’m sure, and I don’t know who is credited with originally saying it, but that has stuck in my mind for years.

Is it true?  I think in the broadest sense yes, it is a true statement.  I’ve written before that we are all extraordinarily ordinary.  There is a great story in each of us for sure, and that story, in the hands of a master storyteller, could be a bestselling novel.

Please note that last phrase, “in the hands of a master storyteller.”  I think it’s important!

I see sunshine and beautiful colors

Anyone can tell a story.  We have all done it.  Hell, anyone can write a book.  You just string about seventy-thousand words together in some organized fashion and you have a book.

But not everyone can write a book people would actually enjoy reading, and therein lies the rub!

Writing a good book, an enjoyable book, a desirable book, requires skill in story structure.  It requires a knowledge of pacing and foreshadowing and voice and setting and dialogue.  It requires vision and the ability to make that vision a cohesive piece of writing spanning multiple chapters.

I have heard it said before that there are no new ideas about books or songs. The major themes have been done, redone, and done ad nauseum for decades.  Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy and girl meet obstacles, boy and girl live happily ever after.  Or protagonist meets a major challenge and somehow finds a way to overcome that challenge, blah, blah, and more blah, and that’s the simple point:  a skilled writer can take an overused story concept and somehow, through skill and creativity, make it so interesting that it seems brand new.

Can that ability be taught?  To a certain extent, yes!  I can take an average writer and make them a good writer.  I might even elevate them to the “very good” level simply by working with them on the basics of writing a book.  Can they elevate to “master?”  That, I’m afraid, depends upon their inherent talent.

Give me a shout out if you want some coaching.  Email me at holland1145@yahoo.com and let’s make that idea inside of you a coherent, interesting novel.  I look forward to the challenge.  I will work closely with you, for one month, for only fifty bucks.  I promise you that kind of deal only comes along once in a lifetime.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Bouncing Around My Brain

11 Feb

RANDOMNESS

I was watching a documentary on Netflix the other day, The Pharmacist, a powerful tale of one man who wanted answers about the shooting death of his son during an apparent drug buy in New Orleans.  At one point the audio captures the anguished ramblings of mother and father as they come to grips with the death of their beloved son, and I have to tell you, you would have to have a heart of stone not to be touched by that one scene.  I was in tears as I listened to the raw pain in their voices.

As a writer, that audio was an inspiration for me.  As a writer, it is my job, through the written word, to capture that kind of angst.

It is a formidable challenge for sure!  I fail as often, if not more, than I succeed, but the times I do succeed are a high unlike anything I have ever experienced.  I imagine it is the same for a song writer or an artist or anyone else dabbling in the Arts.

I was listening to the beautiful song “Vincent” by Don McLean.  The same reaction, tears, and absolute admiration, silent applause for a song writer hitting a home run with one mighty swing of his pen.

The painting by Munch, The Scream, is one more example.  It is impossible for me to see that painting without feeling the helplessness inherent in that painting . . . and some of the photographs by Dorothea Lange of people trying to survive during The Great Depression . . . there is one photo of a woman feeding her baby, the woman showing on her face the absolute gravity of the situation she is in . . . it is brilliant!

THE POINT

I guess the point is this:  The Arts are vitally important.  They provide a window for us all to see the Human Experience, and as a writer I am very proud to be a part of that effort, and I hope you are as well.  You may never be famous, but what you do is important!

Keep on keeping on!

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

You can find my memoir, “And the Blind Shall See,” on Amazon, and if you are in need of a writing coach, email me at holland1145@yahoo.com.  $50 for one month of individual instruction . . . you will not find a better price.

REVIEW

A review about my memoir which touched me deeply:

“I have been blessed to know Bill since 2003. I was blessed to meet some of his family, including his Mother, and he was there for me when my Mother passed away. His story is brutally honest. This is not fiction….just the story of a man’s life thus far. If your life is perfect, this may not be a story for you, but read it anyway. If you’ve hit a bump or two over the years, or are going thru some bumps now, by all means, you need to read this book. You are welcome to my copy, I’ll get another. We all go thru similar stuff, and it is truly a blessing to read how others navigate this journey. Truly from his heart, which I believe is the only way Billybuc would have it…..Peace and love, my brother. Thank you for being “you”.”

The book is called “And the Blind Shall See,” and if you purchase it, I thank you, and I hope you find something in it which speaks to you.

Have a great week!

Bill

 

What Do You See?

4 Feb

What do you see?

Look at the photo!  What do you see?

The tranquility of a Fall day, Mother Earth resting before the tumult of Winter, long shadows of early afternoon, the sun trying in vain to provide heat to this mountain valley, the river calm and peaceful, the distant mountains free of the snowy mantel which will be upon them soon.  A colorful palate, at least four shades of green, five of blue, the sunshine playing tricks on the eye’s mind, first you see it, then you don’t, nature’s magic show on display daily, no admittance cost.

What else?  Look closely!

Dying pines in the forefront, losing the battle against shallow soil, relentless winds, and a drier than normal summer.  Looking north/northeast, the shadows relinquishing that bit of information, the valley oddly empty of wildlife, an oddity for this area, known for wildlife and man coming together in a NO-FIRE ZONE, designated a protected area to infinity and beyond, and thank the gods for that designation.

What you don’t see

A dam-free river, one of the few remaining in the contiguous United States, looking much the same as it did in the early 1800’s when mountain men swarmed the area in search of beaver, the photo could be from that era or it could be from present-day, time standing still for generations to marvel at.

Flowing north, northeast, finally meeting up with the Mighty Mo, this is a river rooted deeply in the American story, known to the French who once trapped here as the Roche Jaune, the surrounding area known as Colter’s Hell, geysers and hot pools appearing mystical to early visitors.

The reveal

The Majestic Yellowstone River, flowing through Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park, one of the truly beautiful, unspoiled spots in the United States, free to all visitors, a gift from our ancestors, a gift to our children, may we always see the wisdom in conservation and preservation.

What’s the point?

Inspiration is all around us, for all of us who love to write.

A fun experience

I recently sat down for a video chat with my friend Shell Vera, a Fireside Chat about my writing process and about life.  You can see that video by following this link.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for spending some time with me.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”