Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
Yes, You  Can  Write! And here’s how . . .  Vincent H. O’Neil www.vincenthoneil.com
Writing is nothing more than telling a story. And if you’ve ever told a joke at a party and held your listeners’ attention...
A Guy Walks Into a Bar . . . If you think about it, a piece of writing is the same thing as a story someone told to a grou...
If You Can Talk, You Can Write If you were telling an anecdote, using an introduction, development, and a conclusion, and ...
Elements of a Story Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. No surprise, right?
The Beginning There are many ways to start telling a story, but the one thing to remember is that you have to get your aud...
The Introduction (or “the Hook”) <ul><li>Here are a few opening lines from a spoken story that would probably get attentio...
Written Introductions <ul><li>It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . </li></ul><ul><li>--Charles Dicken...
Written Introductions (cont’d) <ul><li>Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time. </li></ul><ul><li>--Kurt Vonnegut, ...
Written Introductions (cont’d) <ul><li>Tom glanced behind him and saw the man coming out of the Green Cage, coming his way...
The Beginning -- concluded Once you’ve got the readers’ attention, you have to keep it.   We often have a pretty good idea...
The Middle: Developing the Story Don’t just fill the space between Beginning and End. Develop the story, but keep it inter...
<ul><li>You can do a lot with the middle part of a story, from adding plotlines to developing characters </li></ul>Charact...
Developing the Story <ul><li>Throughout the writing process, from initial brainstorming to final editing, ask:  </li></ul>...
<ul><li>This is also a good opportunity to play around with different events, explore motivations, and add more characters...
The Middle and the Conclusion <ul><li>The entire story leads to the conclusion, but the middle sets it up </li></ul><ul><l...
The Conclusion <ul><li>“ Wow them in the end, and you’ve got a hit.”    – Brian Cox in the movie  Adaptation </li></ul><ul...
The Conclusion <ul><li>Provide resolution without overdoing the explanations: </li></ul><ul><li>Answer the readers’ unansw...
Getting Started <ul><li>Always remember you’re not  writing —you’re telling a story </li></ul><ul><li>Start small. Remembe...
Example <ul><li>Ever lock your keys in your car? Well I did it while the car was still running. Luckily I was at home at t...
Introduction <ul><li>Ever lock your keys in your car? Well I did it while the car was still running.   </li></ul><ul><li>A...
Body <ul><li>Luckily I was at home at the time, so I went inside and got my spare keys. I was in a rush, so I was fumbling...
Conclusion <ul><li>Never thought I’d hear myself saying this, but thank God for nosy neighbors who can fish things out of ...
Finally <ul><li>You’re not a writer—you’re a story-teller </li></ul><ul><li>So if you ever get stuck, imagine an audience ...
About the Author <ul><li>Vincent H. O’Neil is the Malice Award-winning author of the Frank Cole mystery series ( Murder in...
In the Adirondack town of Schuyler Mills, playwright Jack Glynn may just be writing the script to his own murder . . .
Check out my books Published by St. Martin’s Press in hardcover Available on Amazon as  Kindle eBooks and  on B&N Nook Ava...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Yes, You CAN Write!

847 views

Published on

If you think you can't write, you might want to think again. This presentation will show you that anyone who can tell a joke at a party can write.

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Yes, You CAN Write!

  1. 1. Yes, You Can Write! And here’s how . . . Vincent H. O’Neil www.vincenthoneil.com
  2. 2. Writing is nothing more than telling a story. And if you’ve ever told a joke at a party and held your listeners’ attention, then you can tell a story.
  3. 3. A Guy Walks Into a Bar . . . If you think about it, a piece of writing is the same thing as a story someone told to a group of listeners—just written down
  4. 4. If You Can Talk, You Can Write If you were telling an anecdote, using an introduction, development, and a conclusion, and someone wrote down what you were saying, that would be a written story And if you wrote it down yourself, you’d be a writer
  5. 5. Elements of a Story Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. No surprise, right?
  6. 6. The Beginning There are many ways to start telling a story, but the one thing to remember is that you have to get your audience’s attention
  7. 7. The Introduction (or “the Hook”) <ul><li>Here are a few opening lines from a spoken story that would probably get attention: </li></ul><ul><li>“ You are not going to believe what just </li></ul><ul><li>happened to me.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I really shouldn't be telling you this . . .” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Ever have one of those days?” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Written Introductions <ul><li>It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . </li></ul><ul><li>--Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities </li></ul><ul><li>This opening is an excellent hook because it promises the reader a wide range of experiences, from joy to sorrow, involving everything from success to disaster. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Written Introductions (cont’d) <ul><li>Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time. </li></ul><ul><li>--Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five </li></ul><ul><li>This opening intrigues the reader because we don’t know who Billy Pilgrim is, or how anyone could become ‘unstuck’ in time. Notice how the word ‘listen’ implies a spoken story instead of a written one. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Written Introductions (cont’d) <ul><li>Tom glanced behind him and saw the man coming out of the Green Cage, coming his way. Tom walked faster. There was no doubt the man was after him. Tom had noticed him five minutes ago, eyeing him carefully from a table, as if he weren’t quite sure, but almost. He had looked sure enough for Tom to down his drink in a hurry, pay and get out. </li></ul><ul><li>--Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley </li></ul><ul><li>This opening starts with action, putting the reader right into the story. It identifies the main character Tom and hints that he has reason to fear being followed. </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Beginning -- concluded Once you’ve got the readers’ attention, you have to keep it. We often have a pretty good idea of the beginning and end of the story, and so the challenge is to keep the readers reading through the middle portion. In the following slides we’ll use the tale of “Jack and Jill” as an example.
  12. 12. The Middle: Developing the Story Don’t just fill the space between Beginning and End. Develop the story, but keep it interesting Jack and Jill went up the hill To fetch a pail of water Jack fell down Jack and Jill went up the hill Beginning : Developed idea : Jack fell down and broke his crown And Jill came tumbling after Why were they going up the hill? What happened when Jack fell down? We’ve lost track of Jill; What did she do? End :
  13. 13. <ul><li>You can do a lot with the middle part of a story, from adding plotlines to developing characters </li></ul>Characters Time The Middle: Adding Depth Treated Jack Summoned by Jill Seeing routine patients Doctor Explained what happened Tripped while running for help Agreed to go with Jack Jill In the hospital Went up the hill with Jill. Fell and hurt himself Asked Jill if she would go with him to fetch a pail of water Jack Monday Evening Monday Afternoon Monday Morning
  14. 14. Developing the Story <ul><li>Throughout the writing process, from initial brainstorming to final editing, ask: </li></ul><ul><li>“ What if?” </li></ul><ul><li>What if this happened? </li></ul><ul><li>What if this character performed this action instead of that one ? </li></ul><ul><li>What if we added a new character, motivation, or action? </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>This is also a good opportunity to play around with different events, explore motivations, and add more characters – see the changes below </li></ul>Characters Time The Middle: Adding Depth Heads to hospital to accuse Jack Learns where Jill was and is angry Unaware Jill is meeting Jack Jill’s Boyfriend Visits Jack in the hospital to show concern Tripped while running for help Agreed to go with Jack but already has a boyfriend Jill In the hospital, concerned Jill thinks he’s uncool Went up the hill with Jill. Fell and hurt himself Invited Jill because he wants to ask her out Jack Monday Evening Monday Afternoon Monday Morning
  16. 16. The Middle and the Conclusion <ul><li>The entire story leads to the conclusion, but the middle sets it up </li></ul><ul><li>In many cases it helps build toward a climactic moment or event </li></ul><ul><li>The middle can contain many big moments and memorable scenes, but these aren’t supposed to cast a shadow over the story’s climax </li></ul>
  17. 17. The Conclusion <ul><li>“ Wow them in the end, and you’ve got a hit.” – Brian Cox in the movie Adaptation </li></ul><ul><li>This doesn’t mean you need a car chase, a death, or an explosion </li></ul><ul><li>BUT </li></ul><ul><li>The conclusion is the payoff of the whole story, so it doesn’t hurt to have the readers say “Wow!” or “Ah . . .” or laugh out loud </li></ul>
  18. 18. The Conclusion <ul><li>Provide resolution without overdoing the explanations: </li></ul><ul><li>Answer the readers’ unanswered questions — don’t leave them hanging </li></ul><ul><li>BUT </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to leave some loose ends; the readers are able to figure out a lot of things, and you may want to write a sequel someday </li></ul>
  19. 19. Getting Started <ul><li>Always remember you’re not writing —you’re telling a story </li></ul><ul><li>Start small. Remember a story you once told successfully, and try to write that </li></ul><ul><li>Identify the ways you got your listeners’ attention, held it, and made them react at the end </li></ul>
  20. 20. Example <ul><li>Ever lock your keys in your car? Well I did it while the car was still running. Luckily I was at home at the time, so I went inside and got my spare keys. I was in a rush, so I was fumbling with them as I walked, and the next thing I knew I dropped them straight into a rain gutter. So there I was, looking down at my spare keys through a heavy metal grate and wondering when my car was going to run out of gas. Never thought I’d hear myself saying this, but thank God for nosy neighbors who can fish things out of rain gutters using nothing but a wire hanger. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Introduction <ul><li>Ever lock your keys in your car? Well I did it while the car was still running. </li></ul><ul><li>A question can be an excellent introductory sentence </li></ul><ul><li>The experience of locking the keys in the car connects with the readers, and the added difficulty of the running engine makes them wonder how this will end </li></ul>
  22. 22. Body <ul><li>Luckily I was at home at the time, so I went inside and got my spare keys. I was in a rush, so I was fumbling with them as I walked, and the next thing I knew I dropped them straight into a rain gutter. So there I was, looking down at my spare keys through a heavy metal grate and wondering when my car was going to run out of gas. </li></ul><ul><li>Develops the story while holding the readers’ interest; doesn’t just fill the space between the Introduction and the Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Pulls the readers even further into the experience and has them asking, “How would I get out of this?” </li></ul>
  23. 23. Conclusion <ul><li>Never thought I’d hear myself saying this, but thank God for nosy neighbors who can fish things out of rain gutters using nothing but a wire hanger. </li></ul><ul><li>Provides a resolution </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t spoon-feed the reader </li></ul><ul><li>Leaves some loose ends such as “Who was the neighbor?” and “Why were you in a hurry?” </li></ul>
  24. 24. Finally <ul><li>You’re not a writer—you’re a story-teller </li></ul><ul><li>So if you ever get stuck, imagine an audience is listening to your tale </li></ul><ul><li>Imagine what you’d say next, and write that </li></ul><ul><li>When all else fails, tell the story </li></ul>
  25. 25. About the Author <ul><li>Vincent H. O’Neil is the Malice Award-winning author of the Frank Cole mystery series ( Murder in Exile, Reduced Circumstances, Exile Trust , and Contest of Wills ) as well as the theater-themed mystery Death Troupe . Described as “a mystery for writers”, Death Troupe is loaded with murder, betrayal, romance, and the creative process. </li></ul><ul><li>For links and sample chapters please see his website, www.vincenthoneil.com </li></ul>
  26. 26. In the Adirondack town of Schuyler Mills, playwright Jack Glynn may just be writing the script to his own murder . . .
  27. 27. Check out my books Published by St. Martin’s Press in hardcover Available on Amazon as Kindle eBooks and on B&N Nook Available on Amazon in paperback or as Kindle eBooks, as well as on B&N Nook books

×