path of the storyteller / blog

delivering the news


News overload is a common complaint these days. The world is changing rapidly, and the steady stream of reportage is a lot to keep up with. 

Stories run on news, and by news I mean information. Think about it: everything about your tale is news to the reader. You have to spell it out clearly, from the first line of page one. Who's this story about? What are the rules of the world?  What happened in the past that’s necessary for us to know to understand the present?

Words like backstory and exposition describe the wealth of information you have to somehow get on the page where your reader can see it. But in a forward moving story the news keeps pouring in, as your hero is besieged with unexpected developments, reveals about the true motives of others, clues to mysteries, and plot twists of all kinds. 

Writers need strategies for adding new information on every page. We call this storytelling energy the herald archetype. Herald energy can be as simple...

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cheese is in the details

details writing craft Nov 25, 2020

Today I had an adventure, and it was all about cheese. (I promise this will end up being about writing, so just bear with me for a minute.)

Call me the hero of the tale. My mission was to grocery shop for Thanksgiving. My partner and I are safely COVID-bubbled, and my son and his partner will be coming for an outdoor meal, to be served at opposite ends of my ample-sized terrace. As far as I was concerned, I was cooking for a regiment.

Now, I grew up in an Italian family, and I spent the first 53 years of my existence as a New Yorker. On holidays, I want Italian specialty items — I’m talking prosciutto, olives, really good imported cheese — and I was not raised to purchase them from a supermarket, uninterestingly wrapped in plastic!

No! You go to Little Italy! You head to the Italian market and elbow your way to the counter and you get the good stuff. (Here’s where I used to shop, in case you’re curious.)...

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