Blessed To Do Research!

Blessed To Do ResearchNo matter what you know or think you know about a subject, there is always more to learn. One of the most embarrassing situations to have happened to you is being called out because what you thought was true was not. If there are differences of opinion in the area you are presenting, recognize the other side. You will come across more strongly if your audience knows you have taken the time to learn both sides of an issue. It is amazing but true, that once you write something most of your followers are going to believe you. You owe them accuracy.

What if you are writing your autobiography or maybe your family history. Who better to know the story than you? It’s true, but others may have a different perspective. Memories, even yours, can be faulty. Checking your facts can lead to the perfect tale. As an editor, I see all kinds of stories. I was editing a memoir and the author made a reference to an event that took place during World War II. The problem was that it never happened. It was related to a post-war event and that meant it had to be moved and rewritten. A little research on the author’s part would have solved that problem.

What if you are writing fiction? Surely doing research is not needed in this case. After all, you are making things up as you go along. The truth is that the details of fiction need to be as accurate as nonfiction. There is always an element truth in every story and those details need to be correct. For example, if you are writing about an ax-wielding maniac and you call his blade a rapier, there is a problem. Even when you invent your own universe, it has to be understood by earthlings. If you are going to have impossible things happening, you need to offer some explanation that will make sense.

I myself love to do research. I look at facts to build my stories and locations on. It gives your audience a starting reference and will make them feel comfortable with the subject matter.

-Ron

This Week’s Podcast: On the show, we have more stories than you can shake a stick at! Sylvia Shults is back with her famous brand of ghost stories and we have one of the creepiest chupacabra tales I have ever heard. Also, I introduce a new member of Ron’s Amazing Stories family. You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on Stitcher Radio or on the mobile version of Spotify. Do you prefer the radio? We are heard every Thursday at 10:00 pm and Sunday Night at 11:00 PM (EST) on AMFM247.COM. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link

Ron’s Amazing Stories is produced and hosted by Ronald Hood:
Email: ronsamazingstories@gmail.com
Blog Page: https://ronsamazingstories.blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ronsamazingstories/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RASpodcast

Helpful Links:
Podcast Survey – Help the podcast by taking this survey. 
Story Submissions – Use this link to submit your stories to the show.
Podcast Archives – Looking for the first 100 episodes of the podcast?

That’s Crazy

That's Crazy!I don’t have much of a blog this week. It has been a crazy weekend. On Saturday morning at about 11 am I heard a heavy explosion in the backyard. It literally shook the entire house and sent a cold chill through my body. I thought a tree fell on us.  It was not a tree, but the concrete patio in the backyard was buckled and broken. I tried to reason why this happened and thought perhaps a water pipe burst. I checked and sure enough, the meter indicated a leak. The problem, however, is that no water lines run under the patio. So, in a nutshell, I have two issues probably not related. 

The podcast will roll out as normal, but the blog is skimpy.

-Ron

This Week’s Podcast: On the podcast this week we have an amazing story about Billy the donkey and we play the conclusion to The Diamond Thunderbolt. We also hear a listeners’ story that just might be the most chilling we have ever had! You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on Stitcher Radio or on the mobile version of Spotify. Do you prefer the radio? We are heard every Thursday at 10:00 pm and Sunday Night at 11:00 PM (EST) on AMFM247.COM. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link

Ron’s Amazing Stories is produced and hosted by Ronald Hood:
Email: ronsamazingstories@gmail.com
Blog Page: https://ronsamazingstories.blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ronsamazingstories/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RASpodcast

Helpful Links:
Podcast Survey – Help the podcast by taking this survey. 
Story Submissions – Use this link to submit your stories to the show.
Podcast Archives – Looking for the first 100 episodes of the podcast?

Why We Tell Stories

Ron's Amazing Stories

Throughout history and across the globe every known society has produced stories. Whether it is told around a campfire in a primeval jungle or in a bus bound for nowhere we tell our tales. In contemporary society the resources dedicated to storytelling are remarkable. Think of how much time, money and effort is spent on movies alone. Stories are truly central to our lives. In the book The Seven Basic Plots, Christopher Booker outlines the basic plots of a story. Booker suggests that all successful stories utilize at least one of these basic plots. I have yet to find a story that doesn’t.

Overcoming The Monster – One great example of this is Jaws, the famous Steven Spielberg film of the 1970s. Spielberg’s enduring shark-tale addresses many of the key factors that make monsters …well, monsters. Numerous other examples of this basic plot type are found in myths, folklore, fairy tales, religion, and film. Again and again, man is forced to face his demons and overcome the odds to kill the beast.

The Rags to Riches Tale – This one really needs no explanation. However, if you think about it this is very similar to overcoming the monster. The lack of money is the beast and it is killed when the main character makes good. This simple plot is used throughout history and in the most diverse of cultures. After all who did not cheer for Cinderella when she finally got her prince charming?

The Quest – This is my personal favorite. The best example I can come up with is Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The idea of a man searching for answers and doing what it takes makes for great storytelling. We have seen this being used for thousands of years to create stories that are as fascinating to us as they were to our ancestors.

Voyage and Return – While almost Identical to the quest it differs in one very important way. The quest takes you from point A to point B and resolves itself. In this plot type, the main character makes a journey only to find out that he must return to the beginning and face whatever it was he was running from. Homer’s Odyssey is a prime example of this and gives credence to the ageless ability of tales to be told, retold and kept for generations.

Comedy – Stories of this type are highlighted by misunderstandings, mistaken identities, and disguises. Only in the end are the true identities of the characters and their intentions revealed. I have never been a big fan of comedy. I will admit though in literature it does have its place. Finding examples of this is not hard to do at all. I guess if I had to pick a favorite I would have to go with a movie that I watched quite a few times, Mel Brook’s smash hit, Young Frankenstein.

Tragedy – Who doesn’t love a good tear-jerker once in a while? Shakespeare’s Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet are two examples of this. We see this plot type being used again and again in so many different ways. I think we like to hear about the trials and troubles of others so we can say, “Well at least I didn’t get poisoned or run through with a saber”.

Rebirth – Again this is one of my favorites. This plot type is best illustrated in stories like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. An evil man gets a second chance in life and makes the most of it. These are stories of hope, change, and rebirth.

What all of these fundamental plot types share in common is  …it’s all about human development and becoming a mature person. Needing to tell a story is not a sign of creativity, but a measure of how we have become separated from our own basic nature and what we need to do to go back. The purpose of stories? They teach us how to grow-up and tell us how others did it.

This Week’s Podcast: On the show this week Jason Dowd joins us to talk about and tell stories about the Dogman. Also, we play part two of The Diamond Thunderbolt.  You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on Stitcher Radio or on the mobile version of Spotify. Do you prefer the radio? We are heard every Thursday at 10:00 pm and Sunday Night at 11:00 PM (EST) on AMFM247.COM. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.

Ron’s Amazing Stories is produced and hosted by Ronald Hood:
Email: ronsamazingstories@gmail.com
Blog Page: https://ronsamazingstories.blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ronsamazingstories/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RASpodcast

Helpful Links:
Podcast Survey – Help the podcast by taking this survey. 
Story Submissions – Use this link to submit your stories to the show.
Podcast Archives – Looking for the first 100 episodes of the podcast?

The Crazy Sounds of A Versus An

Crazy EmoteI received an email from a listener. He criticized my use of “an” versus “a”. I have always thought the usage was based on whether the next word in the sentence began with a vowel or a consonant. As it turns out it is a bit more complicated. Let’s look at an example:

John waited on the corner for an hour. While he waited a historic event occurred.

You will notice that “an hour” works. Why is that? Well, it is because “hour” starts with a vowel sound. In the case of historic, it uses the h sound and therefore uses an “a”. Yes, I am quite aware of how crazy that sounds. Here is another example:

John was thinking about how he wants to work as a missionary. However, before he will do that he wants to get an MBA.

The letters o and m can be tough to determine usage for. The reason is the “o” can be used as a “w” like in the word “onetime”. So, the bottom line to this is simple. The rule of whether to use “a” or “an” is actually determined by how the word is pronounced not the letter used.

How about that!

-Ron

This Week’s Podcast: On the show this week we begin a new journey with the story The Diamond Thunderbolt. Also, we have two reactions to Charlie’s tale from last week that you won’t want to miss. You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on Stitcher Radio or on the mobile version of Spotify. Do you prefer the radio? We are heard every Thursday at 10:00 pm and Sunday Night at 11:00 PM (EST) on AMFM247.COM. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.

Ron’s Amazing Stories is produced and hosted by Ronald Hood:
Email: ronsamazingstories@gmail.com
Blog Page: https://ronsamazingstories.blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ronsamazingstories/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RASpodcast

Helpful Links:
Podcast Survey – Help the podcast by taking this survey. 
Story Submissions – Use this link to submit your stories to the show.
Podcast Archives – Looking for the first 100 episodes of the podcast?

Writing A Short Story

Pen and Paper

As an editor, I don’t get to write many stories, but I sure love to read them. I have taken quite a few creative writing courses over the years and one word can sum up how to write a short story: RELAX.

First Step – Make an outline

One of the biggest mistakes a writer can make is to sit at the computer and try to write a tale from beginning to end. Rather than spend hours staring at the computer screen, humbled in frustration, make a simple quick outline. They’re easy to understand and you can even find templates for your word processor to help you organize your thoughts. Write out the plot and use that as a basis to make up the rest. It may be helpful to write out some of the more complicated scenes

Second Step – Develop your characters

  • Who is your main character? Knowing a name and that she has blond wavy hair is not as important as fears, wants, and desires. Remember that the life you breathe into a character will not only carry the story, it also lets your readers know that you have a stake in what you have written.
  • Listen to your character – Often times they will come alive in your mind and tell you who and where they want to go. Yes, I know it sounds silly, but give it a try. It actually works.

Third Step – Set the scene

Use enough detail in the introduction of your story so they know where they are. You want your reader to feel the environment and see it in their mind’s eye. While there may not be space for this in every short story, you still need to give them something. Maybe as simple as, Betty looked around her bedroom.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you creating your scene.

  • Walk yourself through the scene. Be your character as they walk through it. What do they say, think, feel, and do?
  • Know where things are. You want the area to be consistent so that your readers will know where they are at all times.

Step Four – Write the Story

This is the hard part, right?  Not if you have done the things above.  All you have to do fill in is what happens.  Here are some simple tips to get the story flowing.

  • If the story has a principal narrator, that character can start off by walking through the setting. They can relate everything to the reader in a kind of nonchalant, casual way.
  • Write the parts of the story that you know. If you can’t begin the story, why not start in the middle?
  • Get into some action quickly. Studies have shown that the attention span of the average audience is limited. They want quick action at the beginning. It is the most important thing if you want to keep your reader interested.
  • Let the words flow as you write an early draft of a story. Type your heart out. Don’t go back and edit. Type what comes to mind and then read it. You may be surprised how much you like it.

I hope you enjoyed this little Ron’s Amazing Stories seminar.  I plan to do more of these in the future. Also, if you ever need help with a story I am there to answer questions. If you are ready for a complete review I can do that as well. Head to http://editright4u.com.

This Week’s Podcast: On the podcast this week we have another edition of Ghost Stories with Sylvia. This time we talk about her very first encounter with the paranormal. You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on Stitcher Radio or on the mobile version of Spotify. Do you prefer the radio? We are heard every Sunday Night at 8:00 PM (PST) on AMFM247.COM. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.

Ron’s Amazing Stories is produced and hosted by Ronald Hood:
Email: ronsamazingstories@gmail.com
Blog Page: https://ronsamazingstories.blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ronsamazingstories/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RASpodcast

Helpful Links:
Podcast Survey – Help the podcast by taking this survey. 
Story Submissions – Use this link to submit your stories to the show.
Podcast Archives – Looking for the first 100 episodes of the podcast?