Trust 30: Entry One

Gwen Bell – 15 Minutes to Live
We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.
1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.

2. Write the story that has to be written.
(Author: Gwen Bell)

To whom it may concern:
Now that is a lame way to start the last thing I will ever write but I honestly don’t know who will read this so I am sending it out to whomever. I realized when I passed 50 that I was over halfway through my life. Little did I know that it was actually my 26th birthday that marked the mid point. Funny what we don’t know when we think we know it all. At 26 I was still convinced that life was run on a track in front of adoring crowds and well wishers. I was sure of what I was going to accomplish and had five and ten year goals written down and committed to memory. I was limber, lean and my energy levels were high, allowing me to stay focused and keep my expectations high.

Now I know that the race resembles an extreme trail run, most of my time spent looking down, dodging rocks and snakes, praying I don’t turn an ankle because I can’t afford the day off to recover. And the great throng of supporters stayed in the bleachers and didn’t follow me on the journey. Yes, I was blessed to have family and a few solid friends that yelled encouragement when I passed them or we crossed paths, and that cannot be measured. The five and ten year goals are a little fuzzy in my memory but that’s because they changed. A wife and kids altered those theoretical milestones, all replaced with real life situations where the payment was a smile or a hug or an “I love you” out of nowhere. Grace replaced accounting ledgers and I am finishing this race with zero disappointment.

It’s interesting that this is happening just as my youngest is taking off. All three kids will be fine, more than fine, great, and my wife is a lot tougher than she thinks. I’ll miss them if that is even possible in the next phase, and I know they’ll miss me, but I also know they are prepared to go on. Their story is my story. All they need to do is write some more chapters.

#Trust30 is an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Find out more at http://ralphwaldoemerson.me


Read on

Story Engineering: Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing
By Larry Brooks

When I started this book, my expectations were low. I have read a number of “how to write” books and they start to take on a sameness, with the amount of quality, new information either buried or non-existent. I am very glad I worked past my prejudices and made the effort to give this book a chance. It did not disappoint. 

As the title suggests, the book is based on six core competencies the author shows are a requirement in every successful story. Whether you are a writer who works from an outline or a writer who is more organic and lets the story come to you, he is convincing in his logic. I especially enjoyed the use of movies and screenplays, along with best selling fiction, as examples, making it clear that a story that “works” is not under the sole jurisdiction of the published novel. The detail for each competency is clear and easy to follow and the author’s enthusiasm for my unpublished manuscript—even though he hasn’t ever read it—was infectious. His cheerleading for the reader stopped just short of corny, but it made me want to write.

One thing he stressed time again was this was not a set of rules to squelch your creativity and beautiful words. The core competencies are used because they work. Skip one of the six and your story may still be readable, but it will not be publishable. He makes his case and I was convinced. This paragraph from the author helps sum up his concept:

That’s all this book really is. It’s a set of principles that help you get bad ideas, unprofessional habits, incomplete notions, and outdated techniques out of the way, allowing the best story you have in you to surface, while creating a benchmark for the best sentences you can bring to it.

BookSneeze® has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review.