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Welcome to my story ideas blog. Here you will find tips that will help you write stories, books, and articles that create an emotional experience for your readers and help you sell your ideas, products, and services.
                   --Lee Pound

Recent Posts

  • Join Me on my New Writing and Story Blog
  • A story taken from History
  • Day 127 Story – A Fascinating Cemetery
  • Day 118 Story – A Very Wet Winter
  • Day 117 – The Short Boat Parade

Archives

Day 7 Story - A Mistake Leads to Great Novel Material

I was thinking about how some people think we don’t have to research our novels so I decided to write the story (365 Stories in a Year blog) of one of my more dramatic bits of research.

I’d gone to Namibia in Southern Africa in September 1990 to visit the places I’d written about in my novel, A Gathering of Strangers. The Kokerboom forest was not in the book and still isn’t but the farmhouse at the Kokerboom Forest became the home of my main characters in the novel.

After I wrote the first draft of the novel, even though it was well researched I still sensed something missing. I didn’t have a feel for the country, its people or its character. The little details were missing. That’s why I went to Namibia. I visited every place I wrote about in the novel, met people, listened to stories, drove the roads, and when I got back home I rewrote the novel. This research made a huge difference.

By the way, I had to go through Germany to get to Namibia. When I flew out to Namibia, Germany was two countries, East and West Germany. When I flew back from Namibia, it was one country.

So yes, researching your novel is important, even if you have to travel long distances to do it.

Day 6 Story - Creating a Short, Short Story

Today’s story (365 Stories in a year blog) is a very short vignette that can be used in a larger piece of writing.

This one is about my trip to Alaska many years ago and one of the quick funny comments my grandmother made on the trip.

You can use this kind of story to illustrate a point, draw a lesson, or simply add a bit of emotional content where needed.

Again, I used my tried and true method to come up with the story: sit down at the computer, ask my subconscious for story ideas and pick the next one that shows up.

As you can see, this story is less than 200 words yet it contains all of the story structure steps except the call to action, which would be provided by the context of the story.

That’s it for today.

Day 5 Story - A Personal Story that Inspires

Read this story of my dad and his first job during the Great Depression at my 365 Stories in a Year blog.

The personal story that inspires is one of the most important that you can write. Although I have not written it down before, I’ve used this story several times in speeches where it was appropriate and have always gotten a great reaction.

The key here is to take an incident from your life, a relative’s live or some other person’s life, make it into a story that follows story structure guidelines, including a call to action at the end, and use it in your sales materials or speeches at a point where you want to create an emotional reaction in your audience.

This story could stand alone as well but works much better as part of a larger piece.

If you compare this story, which is true and which I heard told many times by my father, with the completely fictional pieces of the past few days, you might find a few differences. There is a more overt call to action and I’ve told it from my point of view as I heard it from my father and put myself into the story briefly as the teller.

In the fictional pieces there is no overt teller of the story, just an anonymous omniscient viewpoint.

I decided to include this one because I like the story and because I find it inspirational given our current economic situation. I do plan to include a number of other personal and family stories in this series so keep an eye out for them. It was also easy to write because I knew the story and didn’t have to create it from scratch.

After reading the story, look back at your family and your own life to see if you can find great personal stories that inspire that you can use in your talks and marketing materials.

Day 4 Story - Some Topics Just Sneak Up on You

When I sat down at the computer this morning, I didn’t plan to write this story. You can see the story at my 365 Stories in a Year blog. Anyway, it started with a quick thought about planning ahead. Where the wedding story idea came from I don’t know but it arose pretty much full blown when I wrote the first line.

This is another great example of how just starting can create a flow of story writing ideas. I teach this a lot to my students. Just write something. Break the mental conscious censor you have that keeps telling you that story is no good. Let it flow. You’ll be amazed at the results.

A few writing tips on this story. Watch for foreshadowing items and for items that should warn you that a problem is ahead. The dialogue is clear and crisp with no adverbial tags. Ask yourself if this is what you expected to have happen in the end.

The other key is to get your writing out of the way with early, then go on to other projects. Now I don’t have to worry about finding time to write today’s story. It’s done. On to other things, like walking the dog.

Day 3 - Making Time to Write

Today’s story, which you can find on the 365 Stories in a year blog, was written later than usual because my business partner and I worked on a sales letter for our new product all day. (Can’t give you the URL yet but watch for it soon.)

So I got home, read email and opened the blog with no idea what today’s story would be.  As I stared at the page, the phrase, “a crisp fall morning” popped into my head. Just like I tell my students, I listened and wrote it into the title block.

Then I started writing. And the story evolved, first from a character, then into a person with ideas and fears, then into a sweet confrontation with a neighborhood child that changes the main character’s life.

The point here is that even on a very busy day, I made the time to write. Not found, but made. It’s a priority now so I do it and don’t wait until the last minute.

This is a simple fictional story which has no basis in fact and which I made up completely. The ideas in it are universal and will resonate with many people. If you like it, share it with others.

See you tomorrow.

Day 2 - Life Changing Events

I decided to write this story (365 Stories in a Year blog) last night, late, while editing the Adapt or Perish book I am writing with a group of colleagues.

The idea came from a quick look at turning points in my life. You can find a lot of story ideas by looking at these same turning points in your own life.

I picked this one because it is very dramatic. Again, it follows the basic story structure but this time it is a true story with a strong lesson and call to action.

As with any true story, once I had the idea, my only task was to render what happened in story form. Watch for these items:

  • A title that intrigues
  • A first line that asks but does not answer a story question
  • Several interesting characters
  • A problem
  • How the problem was overcome
  • A lesson
  • A call to action

That’s it for today. If you haven’t read the story, click the 365 Stories link on the left.

Day 1 Story - Overcoming Blocks and Lack of Inspiration

On this blog, I’ll give you some insight into the stories I’m writing on the 365 Stories in a Year blog. If you haven’t read today’s story, just click this link and read it. This post will make far more sense to you.

Just to recap, I’m writing and posting one story a day for the next year on the 365 Stories blog. Here I’ll show you what’s behind the story for that day and how you can learn from this.

I got up this morning not knowing what the first story would be. In this situation, many writers wait for inspiration and many wait a very long time. In some cases they stare at the screen and then proclaim themselves blocked.

In my case, I stared at the screen and wrote, not in a separate screen but in the blog post screen itself, just as I’m doing now, the first phrase that came to mind: “I’m staring at the blank computer screen.” Then I picked a name and had the start of a story.

My default for blank computer screens is the newspaper business (I was an editor) so I set the story there and proceeded. Remembering story structure, I gave my character a problem and watched as he sought a solution. It’s a short story so there was only one step in the problem-solution process. The character then came back, implemented the solution and saved his job.

This story works on several levels:

  • First, it illustrates story structure in use in a very short story.
  • Second, it shows how to use indirect dialogue.
  • Third, it includes a call to action issued by one of the characters.
  • Fourth, it has a satisfying conclusion (not unpredictable but satisfying).
  • Fifth, it illustrates how you overcome writer’s block and lack of inspiration.
  • Sixth, it shows just how I created a story from nothing.

You may think of others. My goal here is to write a story every day so I don’t have the luxury of being blocked. You as writers also do not have that luxury. If you acknowledge blocks and lack of inspiration as reasons not to write, go back and read this post again. You’ll discover that the only thing keeping you from writing is your own mind.

See you tomorrow when we talk about tomorrow’s story. By the way, I have no clue as to what that one will be.

Welcome to Story Writing Ideas

Using stories has always been the best way to create an emotional response in readers that leads to them buying your ideas, your products and your services.

Unfortunately most poeple have no idea just how important it is to use stories correctly. They think that if they tross in something that looks like a story to them, they have done what was necessary.

Not true.

Stories have a specific structure and specific content that needs to be present for them to be effective. Too many time one or more of these elements is missing in most stories.

This blog will focus on how you create stories in the correct way and how you use them to maximum effect. It will also discuss how you come up with story writing  ideas, no matter whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction.

I’ll also talk about how you make stories come alive and how you make them relevant to your readers.

Everyone tells you to use stories. Few people tell you how. This blog will be your resource for how to use stories so that they work for you.