Another Time, Another Place, Another story

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Jim Best writes historical novels and contemporary novels with a strong historical theme.
His talk will be about storytelling, especially stories that take readers to another time and place.

Jim Best is the author of The Shopkeeper, Leadville, Tempest at Dawn, The Shut Mouth Society, and The Digital Organization. James has also written two regular magazine columns and numerous journal articles. As a conference speaker, he has made presentations throughout North America and Europe. He is currently working on Murder at Thumb Butte, a Steve Dancy Western.

Another Time, Another Place, Another Story is his presentation on storytelling.

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  • Wiley, 1997
  • Madison notes: over 230,000 words
  • Hero: fish out of water, rich Bad guys: an accountant, a matronly woman, Narcissistic wantabe
  • Protagonist is a surfer Daughter lives in Omaha Son’s apartment in NYC
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin Upton Sincair, The Jungle
  • Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, 1719 Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders, 1722 Henrey Fielding, Tom Jones, 1749 Laurence Stern, Tristan Shandy, 1759
  • Angela Lansbury
  • Another Time, Another Place, Another story

    1. 1. A Presentation on Storytelling James D. Best Author of Tempest at Dawn, The Shopkeeper, Leadville, The Shut Mouth Society, & The Digital Organization Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story
    2. 2. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story Working on Murder at Thumb Butte
    3. 3. A Little Background <ul><li>Started writing fiction in 1998 </li></ul><ul><li>Previously wrote non-fiction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Digital Organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Magazine columns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Journal articles </li></ul></ul><ul><li>First book written Tempest at Dawn </li></ul><ul><li>Last book published Tempest at Dawn </li></ul>Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story
    4. 4. Tempest at Dawn <ul><li>Twelve year project </li></ul><ul><li>Novelization of 1787 Constitutional Convention </li></ul><ul><li>Inside Chamber—True to Madison’s notes </li></ul><ul><li>Outside Chamber — Conjecture </li></ul><ul><li>based on solid circumstantial evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Accurate character presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Alternating Points of View </li></ul>Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story
    5. 5. The Westerns The Shopkeeper Leadville <ul><li>Different Kind of Western </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First person </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong historic theme </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mining instead of cowboys </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unusual hero & bad guys </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appeals to women </li></ul></ul>Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story
    6. 6. The Shut Mouth Society <ul><li>Started as a sequel to Tempest at Dawn </li></ul><ul><li>Changed direction for Lincoln bicentennial </li></ul><ul><li>Chase/Suspense plot </li></ul><ul><li>Contemporary story with a strong historical theme </li></ul><ul><li>Used what I knew </li></ul>Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story
    7. 7. Storytelling Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story
    8. 8. What is storytelling <ul><li>Possibly the real oldest profession </li></ul><ul><li>Storytelling takes the reader/listener to another time, another place </li></ul><ul><li>Storytelling can … </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Entertain, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provide moral lessons, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Transmit culture/heritage to the next generation, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage social change </li></ul></ul></ul>Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story
    9. 9. In the first fifth of the story, put the protagonist up a tree In the middle of the story, throw rocks at the protagonist In the final fifth of the story, get the protagonist out of the tree Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story How do you tell a story?
    10. 10. Great literature is also great storytelling Books read down the generations must be well written and good stories Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story
    11. 11. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story Raymond Chandler “ It might reasonably be said that all art at some time and in some manner becomes mass entertainment, and that if it does not it dies and is forgotten. ”
    12. 12. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story Tension <ul><li>Tension between characters </li></ul><ul><li>Plot tension </li></ul><ul><li>Tension reflected in dialogue </li></ul><ul><li>Or even tension in time or place </li></ul>
    13. 13. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story Protagonist <ul><li>Cerebral—Sherlock Homes, Nancy Drew </li></ul><ul><li>Action—Dirk Pitt, The Bride </li></ul><ul><li>Thinking Champion—Philip Marlowe, Joan of Arc </li></ul>
    14. 14. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story The Protagonist Roy Rogers Flawed Hero The Anti-Hero The Wholesome Hero John Wayne Chigurh
    15. 15. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story Traditional Hero—As Defined by Raymond Chandler “… down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor—by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. “The story is this man’s adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in.”
    16. 16. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story Antagonist <ul><li>The antagonist makes the story interesting </li></ul><ul><li>Must be formidable </li></ul><ul><li>Misdirection common </li></ul><ul><li>No norm, so wide open </li></ul>F. Murray Abraham Salieri
    17. 17. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story The Antagonist can be: A place A child Time A longing An animal A comic
    18. 18. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story The Antagonist is often: A villain
    19. 19. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story My favorite theatrical villain Alan Rickman Professor Snape Sheriff of Nottingham Hans Gruber Elliot Marston
    20. 20. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story Villainy and Redemption Darth Vader Anakin Skywalker Moll Flanders
    21. 21. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story Mrs. Iselin, a.k.a The Queen of Diamonds Villainy with Demagoguery
    22. 22. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story Villainy disguised with a phony niceness Eddie Haskell
    23. 23. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story Relentless Villainy Wile E. Coyote
    24. 24. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story Depraved Villains Hannibal Lecter Cujo Voldemort Amon Goeth
    25. 25. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story The Ghost of Christmas Past Dorian Gray Inner Villainy
    26. 26. Great storytelling <ul><li>A story you care about—The Plot </li></ul><ul><li>With people you care about—Characterization </li></ul><ul><li>Transport audience—Description </li></ul><ul><li>Eavesdrop on interesting conversations—Dialogue </li></ul>Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story Gets our hero out of the tree
    27. 27. Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story What next? <ul><li>Murder at Thumb Butte </li></ul><ul><li>Prescott, Arizona, 1880 </li></ul><ul><li>A who-done-it disguised as a traditional Western </li></ul><ul><li>Steve, Jeff, and Joseph will be back </li></ul>
    28. 28. Always do right—this will gratify some and astonish the rest. Mark Twain (1835–1910) Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story
    29. 29. <ul><ul><li>Thank You </li></ul></ul>Another Time, Another Place ... Another Story

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