The Amazing Secrets of Storytelling

Now that I have your attention by my motivating headline, you probably think that I’m either a genius or a quack. The truth is neither. The amazing secrets of storytelling are something that’s common sense; the trouble is that so few people are taught common sense these days. I can give you the secrets in three simple words.

Imagination. Inspiration. Wholesomeness.

Imagination refers to your ability to give your reader through words the same visions and images you have inside your head. Drawing a reader into your story takes imagination – the right descriptions, composition of scenes, environments, and proper portrayals of characters.

Inspiration refers to everything you need to gather in order to have imagination. I call this “reference material”. The truth is that no writer is 100% original, or even 50% original. We acquire our ideas from our interactions with the real world: Places we go to, people we visit, paintings/pictures we observe, other stories we read, stories we are told verbally, smells and tastes, etc.

Wholesomeness refers to the level of simple virtues placed within a story. If your story never talks about food or nature or sleep/rest or water or trees or rocks or characters who appreciate such things, then your story will not be a good one.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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The Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Stop Watching TV and Start Reading

I doubt whether anyone at the end of his/her life has said, “Oh, if only I had watched one more hour of television – my life would have been complete.” Yet, reading produces far greater rewards for your life.

  1. Television is heavily liberalized and one-sided.

Let’s face it: Most television is junk. In today’s modern world, generally only one political side controls all the major television political news. Not only politics is affected by this subjectivity. Most channels are created to present people with very few morals and depressing stories – both fiction and non-fiction. Areas with higher television viewing have higher depression rates.

  1. Reading produces better intelligence.

Yes, this depends on what you read, true. Yet, even the simple act of reading will give you more rewards than watching television for that same amount of time. It requires more concentration and allows you to think in a quieter setting.

  1. Television produces unintelligence.

When most fictional television stories revolve around things that do not and cannot exist and most non-fiction stories are presenting false facts, the viewer is only being fed unintelligence.

  1. Reading gives better imaginative rewards.

The creative rewards are far greater with reading because you have to envision the story yourself instead of having it all passively spoon-fed to you through a screen. You actively participate with the story instead of watching it from a distance.

  1. Television commercials are only getting worse and influence you to spend more money

Most commercials are fake. They are designed by computer graphics artists that change the appearance of whatever the company is trying to sell, and the entire point of most of them is that your life is incomplete without their product, which isn’t true.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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Do You Have the Courage to Read: Last Call to Action

This is it. This is the moment. The Last. . .Call. . .to Action.

You have a choice to make: Do what you’ve been doing (or worse, do nothing at all). You know where that will lead. No imagination. No inspiration. Wandering through aimless stories that exhaust you and lead you nowhere. Is that really where you want to go? Take a new action, and get a new result. Buy The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor. Finally immerse yourself in stories that will profit your life.

What do you really want for yourself? If you still have not purchased my books, I’m sending this post as a last reminder. Sure, I’ll remember to include their links in future posts, but my topics will shift a little to other writing aspects.

Do it. Take the course of action that will unlock the key to:

1. understanding what imaginative, inspirational, and wholesome stories are.
2. You will be able to spot in your local library what a good story is and what it isn’t.
3. You will enjoy your life much more and be more content.
4. You will have a deeper imagination and love for the outdoors and for stories that use them.
5. You will have started on a path to a much . . . healthier . . . life!

Purchase these stories today:
The Williams House at Amazon
Treasure on the Southern Moor at Amazon

Always your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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Here’s More FREE Stuff!

I completely understand where you’re at. Sometimes, we need to just gather as much free material as we possibly can while not putting any money on the counter, yet. If your curiosity is still perked about the books I have written, then please enjoy more free excerpts of all of them!

Thick and dark clouds had now massed overhead, and threatening rumbles could be heard in the air. It had scarce been ten minutes since Adrianna had pointed out the clouds that the first raindrops fell and only another five before the full force of the storm struck. Adrianna then realized that storms can come up quite suddenly at sea.

“You two must get to safety,” said Captain Underwood to Adrian and Adrianna. “Go into our cabin by the doors near the helm on the quarterdeck. Once we get a little settled in this storm, I’ll be calling you, Adrian, to help – maybe in a day.”

The wind was tearing at Adrianna’s hair. “Do they really last that long?” she asked.

“Oh, much longer,” said her father. “Storms can last for weeks out at sea.” His eyes looked tired, and he was holding his hat from being blown off his head, yet he didn’t flinch as the vessel rolled again, another thin cataract of sea water spilling over the deck. It was colder than Adrian and Adrianna expected, and before five minutes were over, they were soaked through. The captain gave his hat and wig to them.

“You have not had any sleep yet,” said Adrian.

“I’ll be fine,” said the captain. “Now hurry.”

And with that, Adrian and Adrianna were forced to leave, knowing they would only get in the way to the crew who was rushing above and below decks. They made their first steps toward the stern, unsteady on the pitching deck, and had to cling to the railing as they ascended the spiral wooden steps of the aftercastle to the quarterdeck. Winton Northrup and two sailors were at the helm, doing all they could to keep the ship straight and steady.

The decorated wooden doors with windows in them that faced opposite the helm were latched. Yet Adrian was able to force them open, and the doors slid and folded smoothly to the left and right. Inside was a very small cabin, mostly bare, that housed a few navigational tools whenever the helmsman, captain, or other crewmember needed them. A couple yards in, they reached the back of this, where a single thick door stood with a lock in it, yet the lock was open. Inside was a wide room for the officers to dine in, with a long table stretching from port to starboard, and at the end of this room was the door to the captain’s cabin, which was currently locked. The curtains to the officers’ dining room windows on port and starboard were still open, and they could see the rushing of the storm outside.

“Father gave me this,” said Adrian as he pulled out from the folds of his clothing an iron key attached to a string. He fumbled with the lock for a moment as the ship rolled about. The creaking, snapping, and groaning of the ship sounded all the louder within the ship than it did without. Adrian knew it would only be all the worse below decks in the belly of the ship.

The lock finally gave way, and they entered, shutting out the rain and sea water behind them. Yet the sounds intensified within the ship, and they could not shut out the noise. A long central table ran down the center going from abaft forward, and along the side walls of the captain’s cabin were their three cots and mattresses. There was a large window seat at the stern windows, and a dark and hazy gloom came from those windows of the cabin, showing thick dark waves and rain and clouds. They could look out and see the rolling waves at the ship’s back, and it looked a gloomy gray sea. There was so much tossing about that they became dizzy looking at the rollers rising above them and tossing the ship about countless times. Adrianna stumbled over and pulled the curtains closed, fastening them tight. Yet she could not drive out the sound of the creaking ship, snapping and groaning in the storm, and she huddled up on one of the long, cushioned seats that she would be using as her bed. Adrian lit a lamp that was fastened securely to the ceiling. It was pointless to attempt any sleep, so they sat on their bunks and just listened to the horrendous groaning.

“How long do you think the storm will last?” asked Adrianna barely above a whisper, her voice echoing in the dark.

“I don’t know,” said Adrian, and his face looked gloomy himself. “We knew storms would come.”

“But did they have to come this soon?” blurted out Adrianna. “We’ve only just started sailing.”

~Treasure on the Southern Moor, Chapter 4: Rough Sailing

“Listen to the trees,” said Will. “They sound eerie. Hear all those creaks and cracks? It sounds as though there were a thousand boughs all dancing in the wind.”

Everyone sat quietly for a moment as they listened to the sound of the wind from over hill and under roof and around the trees. A gentle stirring was in the air, and as Ann opened the window, they could hear the wind come softly in. It blew in their faces and ruffled their hair, and they could smell the scent of earth and wood. Yet it was also a cold smell, and they soon started wrapping in blankets to ward off the chill. Yet no one wanted to close the window. They could hear the wind, blowing the clouds together and sending threatening rumbles against the darkened sky.

Then Margaret walked over to the light switch, still wrapped in her blanket, and turned the light off. A quiet hush came over everyone, and they did not feel like stirring, yet their eyes were wide awake.

There is always a special and different feeling to be wrapped up in a blanket with the cold all around you. It is the way most people have lived during cold winters for thousands of years, and my own grandmother, whom I wish you will meet one day, said she remembered what it was like to wake up in the morning and see a glass of ice upon her dresser, when she had put it there full of regular flowing water the night before.

A great rumble came through the attic window and echoed throughout the room, and then a raindrop came. Water started coming down, slowly at first, going pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter. Then it picked up, starting to come down in sheets.

~The Williams House, Chapter 5: Uncles, Aunts, Nephews, and Nieces

If you are more satisfied with the content and style of my stories, then purchase The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor today!

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

A Further Insider’s Look

I wanted to share something with you today.

If you’ve read any of my former posts, you may be interested in stories that captivate your imagination. Below, I would like to give you a further insider’s peek to the stories that I have written.

This is a story about eight children whose names are Lilly, Ann, Will, Johnathon, Timothy, Margaret, Susan, and Maria. They live in a very large and mysterious house where they have all sorts of adventures. It is a stone house on an old country lane, and it is not only the place where they explore, imagine, tell stories, sing, and play musical instruments, but it is also the place where they do school and study, and so you see, between the work and play, they became very familiar with the house indeed. Yet it never ceases to surprise them, how it can look in the moonlight, or on a rainy day, or with morning beams of sunlight flowing through its windows. Join them in the attic for a story on a stormy night, or find them in a park on a summer afternoon with the warm wind in their faces, or see them bent over candles as they look at old rooms and dusty shelves.

Friends of theirs are the Bentley family, who are allowed a peek into many of their family adventures. Find them all listening to birds sing while they look for buried treasure, or listening to bassets howl on an autumn night. Though there is a sad moment between them, it is also strangely filled with joy and contentment, as those who are filled with light cannot be anything else.

Perhaps the most exciting moment of all is when the Williams’ children find something on the basement landing of their home. The basement is not a place they are allowed to go to often, and the children have called it the cellar among their whispered stories, yet the discovery makes the cellar stairs a more easily traveled lane. . .

~Back Cover of The Williams House

The thrill of the sea – the song of the ocean winds – out sails and up anchor! – guided by the compass and stars – as a poet once said, “to the lonely sea and sky”. It is the eighteenth century, and the sailing vessel is the only way to travel the raging seas. The Southern Moor sets sails from England to Africa with a crew of forty-two persons, guided by a captain with his son and daughter, where those of the trusted crew hope to find treasure with only the guidance of a map an old friend of the captain’s had given him and a handful of the treasure itself, brought back from the African shoreline. With the smell of cooking from the galley, you may find them about on the weather decks reefing the sails or lashing down the ship’s boats, or listen to the captain play on his fipple flute with the accompaniment of the cello and violin. Hear the ocean waves lap against the bows, or have cataracts of sea water come flooding over the main deck in the midst of a raging storm.

In Plymouth, England, there are those few friends of the captain who wonder if he will ever return. Is the Southern Moor, newly finished vessel and never before tested in the ocean waters, strong enough to sail through storms and cannon fire to reach the warm lands of the African shoreline and make the same journey back? With all of its rectangular sails billowing in the wind, bowsprit brass tip of heather shining in the sunlight, and the polish of the wood shining without a fingerprint to be seen, the Southern Moor leaves the harbor of Sutton Pool to test itself in the ocean and plough the stormy seas. . .

~Back Cover of Treasure on the Southern Moor

Both of these stories are meant to do the same thing: Captivate the imagination while awakening the reader to good storytelling. You can look up my books at my bookstore, or purchase them from Amazon below.

The Williams House
Treasure on the Southern Moor

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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What Makes a Good Story? Demystified!

Have you ever wondered what makes a good story? When you were a child, why was it that some stories you loved, and other stories you hated. I think that as children, we sometimes can have a much better mind for judging stories than when adults. This is because as children, we are always wanting to go back to the secure world we live in. If we see a scary movie, we want to sleep in our parents bedroom the next night so that we can be reassured of the stable world we live in. If we read or are read an inspiring and imaginative story, we want it to be retold to us over and over again. In this, we could be considered very critical as children.

But, let me say something: As adults, we shouldn’t change our screens for what makes a good story. No, I’m not saying that there won’t be stories we’ll understand or appreciate better as adults. As our minds mature, so should our appreciation for proper storytelling. However, our minds shouldn’t change. They should only mature on what we knew as children.

In other words, the secret ingredients that make a good story for a child ARE THE SAME ingredients for what make a good story as an adult.

So, what are these ingredients?!?

Simply put, these ingredients are the same ingredients that encourage healthy society – that is, stories that build up the reader – stories that the reader can think about any time of day with fondness – stories that give them hope, inspiration, imagination, and wholesomeness.

To be more boiled down than the above: “There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him.” ~C.S. Lewis

Ultimately, good storytelling is that which looks to Him. I think many stories of the past understood this principle better, even if the author wasn’t aware of it, which is why many stories have stood the test of time to be called a classic.

E. Nesbit’s The Railway Children / Five Children and It
Frances Burnett’s The Secret Garden
Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows
Beatrix Potter’s many short animal stories, including Peter Rabbit
Kate Wiggin’s Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Mary Dodge’s Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates
Laura Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie

This list can go on and on. . .

Why is it that these stories have stood the test of time? In some way, they all give hope, inspiration, imagination, wholesomeness, outdoors adventures, vivid and wonderful descriptions, a theme of redemption.

Such elements in storytelling are the ingredients to making a good story.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

P.S. As further extrapolation with what I mean by “good storytelling”, check out my authored books The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor in my bookstore! You can find free chapters of them here.

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A Night in the Attic Before Thanksgiving

This is for those familiar with my book The Williams House. To learn more about it, please visit my bookstore, or my Williams House site.

The Williams House; Chapter 5: Uncles, Aunts, Nephews, and Nieces; Pgs. 126-129

.     It was a long time later when several people started to file into their bedrooms. The uncles and aunts did a good job at tracking down their own children and preparing them for sleep. As for the Williams children, they were soon directed for sleep themselves, only the boys could not seem to settle down at first.
.     “Let’s talk for a little while,” whispered Will. “Everyone will probably sleep in, anyway.”
.     “No one can hear us, that’s for sure,” said Johnathon. “Do you think it’s snowing yet?”
.     “I think it is,” said Will. “This will probably be the first time Oliver, Tabitha, Orla, or Isaac have seen and felt this much snow.”
.     “You mean they’ve never been sledding?” asked Timothy.
.     “Neither had you till we moved here,” said Will.
.     “I say,” said Johnathon, “it is great to sleep in the attic. What an adventure!”
.     “Isn’t it, though,” said Will and Timothy.
.     “I ate too much sugar to go to sleep, though,” continued Will. “What books do we have up here?”
.     A lamp was turned on, and the boys shuffled around a little. The dim light shined murkily out and shone on several books on a shelf and scattered elsewhere throughout the attic.
.     “What about on the shelf by the chimney,” said Will who was still in bed.
.     Johnathon walked over to the shelf, putting his hand on the warm stone that was radiating heat into the room. “Several good titles here,” he said as he started going through them one at a time. Then he started listing them by author to save time. “We have Burnett, Nesbit, Dickens, Dodge, Stephenson, Lewis, Henty—”
.     Will interrupted and suggested one of the titles, and soon Johnathon had brought over the book.
.     “Do you think it’s all right?” asked Timothy.
.     “We might as well do something if we’re already wide awake,” said Will, “and it could help us to fall asleep.”
.     Johnathon and Timothy slunk back to their makeshift beds and rolled themselves up in their covers, exchanging excited glances with one another. The wind continued to blow against the side of the house, and they could tell it was definitely sleeting now, yet the attic was warm from the chimney and furnace vent, and the murky light of the lamp cast a dim light about the long expanse of the room.
.     Will started reading, imitating perfectly an old British accent, as though telling his life’s long tale. It was nearly an hour later when the murky glow of the lamp shone down upon three sleeping forms, Will still holding the book in his hands.
.     “Wake up, wake up!” whispered a voice, shaking Will from side to side.
.     Will sat up with a jerk, looking about the room in a single glance. A dim grayness was lighting up a little of the outside. “What time is it?” he said as he looked for the clock.
.     “Seven,” said Timothy, “and you left the light on last night. I just switched it off.”
.     “Oh, thank you, Cap!” said Will. “But why wake me? Everyone will probably be asleep for a couple more hours.”
.     “Look outside,” said Timothy. “It’s white.”
.     “So it is,” said Will strangely as he rose from bed. “Just look at it shine.” Then Will looked over at Johnathon and saw him still sleeping. A mischievous gleam entered Will’s eye, and he mouthed and motioned to Timothy. They both crept over to the window and opened it. Then they reached out to the short ledge and took some of the snow off from it, quickly closing the window with a slight squeak. Both cringed, but Jonathon only stirred slightly and then resumed his normal breathing.
.     Will crept over to Johnathon’s bed, raising his hand and throwing the snowball plop onto Johnathon’s face. Yes I know, this is the second time that Johnathon has woken up coughing and spluttering in this story. Let us hope it is the last. In any case, after the laughter and explanations, all three boys moved over to the window and looked out, gathering as much snow on the outer sill as possible.

Audio Continuation of Story; Pgs. 129-130

You may purchase The Williams House here at Xulon or here at Amazon

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Joshua Reynolds on Conservative Cornerstones – Author of Children’s Books / Family Stories – Finding Conservative Thought in Olde Books. Check out my Authoring Conservatism Post. Look up my two books, The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor in my bookstore!

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Discourse with the Gamekeeper – Added Scene

This is for those familiar with my book Treasure on the Southern Moor:

.     Adrianna stepped below the main deck, descending down the ladder that took her to the middle of the gun deck. She would always see Mr. Heath there around that time inspecting the gun ports. Sunlight was filtering through the open holes and shinning on the freshly oiled cannon. Adrian used to always have to walk with her down this way especially after the three week storm. Yet, over the last couple weeks, she had ventured down by herself.
.     Once she stepped below the gun deck down to the supply deck, she was once more reminded of the night, seeming so long ago and yet still fresh in her mind when the loyal crew defended the ship against Mr. Northrup and his men. Most everything had been put back to its original place, but some of the barrels still formed a half barricade just to remind the faithful crew what almost befell them. Adrianna smiled at the molasses barrel.
.     The sounds of the crew members talking above were muted, yet the sounds of the creaking of the ship sounded louder and more threatening. Adrianna shuttered, as she always did, at thinking how it must have sounded for Adrian in the storm, when he would go down to the supply deck to fetch something for the cook or another crew member.
.     Then, lifting the hatch to the cargo deck below, Adrianna descended into darkness, down into the deep of the Southern Moor. She went quickly aft, feeling the ceiling with her fingertips until she caught hold of a lantern, which she promptly lit. Then, she continued her way aft past the pump house and toward the stable door. No matter how long they stayed aboard ship, Adrianna could never get used to the way the walls sloped outward on this deck. There was more ceiling than floor, and it always looked as though the ship would tip over at any moment, though it never did.
.     The stable door was unlocked, but Adrianna always knocked.
.     “Come in, come in!” said a voice from inside, and Adrianna knew it to be the gamekeeper.
.     “Thank you, Mr. Ducks,” said Adrianna. “May I see the ox?”
.     “I suppose you may,” said Jemmy Ducks, “yet remember what I said about getting too attached to it, ma’am. I hardly had the nerve to do my duty the first time I was gamekeeper aboard ship – I became such close friends with the animals.”
.     “I know, and I suppose you’re right,” said Adrianna. “Poor things,” she continued, “stuck down here every day and every night, without any hope of living in fresh sunlight again. Do you think?”
.     “I’m afraid we must eventually,” said Jemmy Ducks. “That is, after all, why they were brought with us, miss – to provide us with a few more square and honest meals, and I suppose the crew does need it.”
.     “But it’s nice to tend them in the meantime,” said Adrianna.
.     Then, in the far distance above them, they could hear the bell toll, and a very faint voice was calling out, “Land ho!”

To learn more about Treasure on the Southern Moor, please visit my bookstore.

You may purchase this book directly here at Xulon or here at Amazon

Subscribe Form

Joshua Reynolds on Conservative Cornerstones – Author of Children’s Books, Young Adult, Historical Fiction / Family Stories – Finding Conservative Thought in Olde Books. Check out my Authoring Conservatism Post. Look up my two books, The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor in my bookstore!

Subscribe to my email list and receive my free eBook, titled Rhymes for a Child’s Picnic Lunch, plus email updates, writing news, and more!

View my Book Articles on Literary Titan

Please check out the presentation of both my books, The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor on Literary Titan! The information I gave him was compiled well.

The Williams House Literary Titan article: https://literarytitan.com/2017/09/13/the-williams-house/

Treasure on the Southern Moor Literary Titan article: https://literarytitan.com/2017/09/14/treasure-on-the-southern-moor/

Thanks again Literary Titan for letting me guest blog, and I hope everyone enjoys! Please comment below to share your opinion.