The Top 10 Reasons Why Over 50% of the Novels in Your Local Library Should Not Exist

Over 50% of the novels in your local library either. . .

1.) . . . teach you to escape the world and not how to live in it.

This is problematic because the reader will be discouraged to live life, always wanting something different from what they have. A novel should tell a story that will encourage the reader to understand this world rightly. It serves as a way to interpret the world, not how to escape it.

2.) . . . exhaust you.

One of the best “virtues” touted for storytelling these days is to always keep the reader at the edge of his/her seat. This is a huge mistake. If the reader is always at the edge of his/her seat when reading a novel, they will be far less likely to re-read the story because they will be on to the next adrenaline-pumping novel.

3.) . . . are narcissistic.

Haven’t you noticed that most new novels these days are all about one individual discovering something secret and using it for himself/herself? Either that, or an individual wants something special and obtains it near the end of the story. Many people actually state this is one of the reasons why the Millennial generation is a lot more discouraged. They’ve been taught all their lives that they are special and can have whatever they want.

4.) . . . are not imaginative.

Read the below example and see how much you can envision the scene.

So saying, he stopped his horse and let the reins fall on its neck: then, slowly beating time with one hand, and with a faint smile lighting up his gentle foolish face, as if he enjoyed the music of his song, he began.

Of all the strange things that Alice saw in her journey Through The Looking-Glass, this was the one that she always remembered most clearly. Years afterwards she could bring the whole scene back again, as if it had been only yesterday — the mild blue eyes and kindly smile of the Knight — the setting sun gleaming through his hair, and shining on his armour in a blaze of light that quite dazzled her — the horse quietly moving about, with the reins hanging loose on his neck, cropping the grass at her feet — and the black shadows of the forest behind — all this she took in like a picture, as, with one hand shading her eyes, she leant against a tree, watching the strange pair, and listening, in a half-dream, to the melancholy music of the song.”  ~Lewis Carrol’s Through the Looking Glass

This sort of imagination you cannot obtain through the new-fangled fantasy genre that has popped up in the modern world. I am not opposed to fairytale, but stories full of witch-dogs, magic incantations, wizards battling sorcery, etc. do not aid imagination. They only hinder it because they are not things we can (or should try) to grasp. Such stories end up leaving the reader empty.

5.) . . . do not sustain the reader.

A book must have places of respite, very much like the example I gave in the point above. Such places are points the reader can go back to and re-read again and again – places of great descriptions and imaginative scenes.

6.) . . . have a theme of despair.

Too many stories these days end in sorrow or poorly made decisions by the hero. I understand if an authors doesn’t want a story to end with the old cliché, “and they lived happily ever after” (though I also think this is a nice ending!). There can be a moment of sadness even in a last chapter, but the overarching theme of a story should be one of redemption/joy instead of despair/sadness. If a plot gives a message of despair to its main characters, then it gives a message of despair to its reader.

7.) . . . are dumbed down for the youth.

I love children’s stories. In fact, stories about children having adventures or living ordinary life, stories that families could read together so they desire, are some of my favorite stories. Yet, these stories are not being told much today. Instead, we have a genre where everyone is trying to be “teenager-ish”. In the “good old days”, adolescence was the stage where a boy started growing into manhood and a girl into womanhood. They learned from their elders what adulthood is about. Now, we are dealing with youth rebellions, and our literature is encouraging it. Instead of appealing to youth immaturity, literature should be appealing to values and virtues that apply to all ages, young and old alike.

8.) . . . have too much magic in them.

I wanted to further explain point four with this point. Imagination I think is key to writing a good story. Without imagination, a reader cannot see the story themselves. Yet, tales of dark sorcery that are all about magical powers beating out other magical powers without any real conclusion are pointless and only corrupt imagination. A society indoctrinated with such stories become ignorant because they do not understand the simple wholesomeness of everyday life. Where are all of the great ordinary adventure stories and historical fiction books of the day? Reforming literature is key to reforming society.

9.) . . . run from moral truth.

Let’s be honest, the “subjective moral reasoning” of today has greatly affected storytelling. Heroes are no longer heroes, and villains are no longer villains. Yet, this does not change the fact that moral truth still exists. A good story never twists what moral truth really is because if it did, that would be the message given to the reader. Since that message is false (that morality is subjective), it would be portraying falsity to the reader.

10.) . . . are unintelligent and disorderly.

So many people do not understand these days what a good character really is because they do not have many examples of what a good character is. Instead of constantly writing turmoil in our stories, we need to show what truly good characters are like and how they would live.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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An Encouragement: Who Else Wants Free Writing Tips and Resources?

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” ~Louis L’Amour

I want to encourage you today to write. No, I’m not asking you to sign up for my Writing Imagination Academy. Hopefully, you already have. If not, you know you can always do so at your discretion. As Ernest Hemingway once said, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” And I trust your decisions.

Setting aside my desire to personally guide you through your story, I want to provide you with as many resources as I can – completely free. That’s one of the main focuses of this blog!

To start off, I want to Re-blog the top ten reasons of why the first draft of your story isn’t complete:

1. You began without preparation.

Before you begin writing your story, minimal preparation that should be done is: Research your story for accuracy (even if you’re creating a world yourself, you should be well aware of what other people are doing); Obtain reference images for your own inspiration; write about the images you have imagined; gain information like character names, places your story will take place in, and so on; and from your inspired and imagined images, create an outline.

2. You haven’t made writing a habit.

In order for your first draft to be written, you need to make writing a daily habit in your life. If you don’t, then you are not a writer but a dabbler.

3. Fear.

You’re too afraid of how your book will be received. For your first draft, it’s best to not think about such things at all. Think of it this way: Your writing is just you and your writing instrument.

4. Editing.

Something I learned years ago, if you want to get through a first draft, don’t edit!!! Write all the way through, and then you can go back and edit. That’s what drafts two and three are for.

5. Discouragement.

You become discouraged when you don’t see your book living up to your expectations. Don’t worry! Rarely, if at all, will a first draft live up to one’s expectations. Remember the quotes at the top of this email. The first draft is a stepping stone.

6. You’re writing too slow.

The longer a first draft drags out, the less chance you have of ever completing it. Why? Because we all have busy lives! Things come up, and soon, it can be easy to shelve your book project. Don’t do this! Write your first draft quickly.

7. Distractions.

Distractions are easy when you have picked the wrong writing environment. Try writing in a different sort of environment and see what happens.

8. Not knowing where to begin.

It is hard to begin some days. You sit down with your writing instrument in hand and don’t know how to get moving. At such a stall, go back to some of the material you collected before you began writing Draft One and look it over. Remember all your inspiration, and try to write about that on your page. After all, that’s supposed to be your story.

9. Having a dis-joint plot.

Sometimes, after writing for a while, you can realize the plot-line you came up with wasn’t the best and should have been tweaked in your outline stage. If this happens, don’t panic. Tweak the plot, but don’t go back to make everything match. Finish the draft. Then you can go back and revise.

10. Not enough words.

Vocabulary is something that can occasionally run dry. You find yourself repeating the same words. Sometimes, this is okay, but make sure that every scene is unique. Even if you mention the word “sunshine” in every chapter twenty times, talk about it in different ways: It’s spilling through limbs and boughs, shooting across the field, rising in the morning, gleaming through the window, beaming behind the mountain.

congrats picture

You have completed all of my on-boarding blog posts of my products to date. Congrats!

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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The Top Ten Reasons Why Your First Draft Isn’t Complete

“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so later I can build castles.” ~Shannon Hale.

“It is better to write a bad first draft than to write no first draft at all.” ~Will Shetterly

“Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. ~Nicholas Sparks

Below, I delve into the meat and potatoes of the top ten most common mistakes that result in a first draft of a story never being completed. However . . . I have a promise to keep, first!

In a previous post, I said that I would talk a little more about my Writing Imagination Academy course. I’m going to begin by making a shocking statement: Over 50% of the novels in your local library should not exist. Have you ever picked up a book, began reading it, and promptly set it down to never return to it? Or have you ever enjoyed a story the first read-through to find that afterward you were exhausted? You don’t want to go back to it because since you know everything that happened, it can no longer keep you at the edge of your seat.

Both of these sorts of stories are examples of poor storytelling. There are so many stories being told today that give dismal views of life, takes away a reader’s imagination, have poorly described places, and altogether shouldn’t exist. Don’t get me wrong! I think there are a lot of good stories as well. Personally, I usually like stories that have stood the test of time, though there are some good treasures being written today. The trick is in finding them.

In Writing Imagination Academy, I show what an imaginative, inspirational, and wholesome story is and how to write one. It starts by understanding what inspired you to write your story and continues by describing how your imagination should flow onto the page so your story exceeds your own expectations! You’re driving and I’m navigating. Tell me where you want to go, and I’ll help you! Go to my home page to find when my next class is, and apply today!

And now, onto your first draft – after all, you’re probably saying right now, “But Joshua, I need help this minute with my writing!”

Here are the top ten mistakes people make with Draft One:

1. You began without preparation.

Before you begin writing your story, minimal preparation that should be done is: Research your story for accuracy (even if you’re creating a world yourself, you should be well aware of what other people are doing); Obtain reference images for your own inspiration; write about the images you have imagined; gain information like character names, places your story will take place in, and so on; and from your inspired and imagined images, create an outline.

2. You haven’t made writing a habit.

In order for your first draft to be written, you need to make writing a daily habit in your life. If you don’t, then you are not a writer but a dabbler.

3. Fear.

You’re too afraid of how your book will be received. For your first draft, it’s best to not think about such things at all. Think of it this way: Your writing is just you and your writing instrument.

4. Editing.

Something I learned years ago, if you want to get through a first draft, don’t edit!!! Write all the way through, and then you can go back and edit. That’s what drafts two and three are for.

5. Discouragement.

You become discouraged when you don’t see your book living up to your expectations. Don’t worry! Rarely, if at all, will a first draft live up to one’s expectations. Remember the quotes at the top of this email. The first draft is a stepping stone.

6. You’re writing too slow.

The longer a first draft drags out, the less chance you have of ever completing it. Why? Because we all have busy lives! Things come up, and soon, it can be easy to shelve your book project. Don’t do this! Write your first draft quickly.

7. Distractions.

Distractions are easy when you have picked the wrong writing environment. Try writing in a different sort of environment and see what happens.

8. Not knowing where to begin.

It is hard to begin some days. You sit down with your writing instrument in hand and don’t know how to get moving. At such a stall, go back to some of the material you collected before you began writing Draft One and look it over. Remember all your inspiration, and try to write about that on your page. After all, that’s supposed to be your story.

9. Having a dis-joint plot.

Sometimes, after writing for a while, you can realize the plot-line you came up with wasn’t the best and should have been tweaked in your outline stage. If this happens, don’t panic. Tweak the plot, but don’t go back to make everything match. Finish the draft. Then you can go back and revise.

10. Not enough words.

Vocabulary is something that can occasionally run dry. You find yourself repeating the same words. Sometimes, this is okay, but make sure that every scene is unique. Even if you mention the word “sunshine” in every chapter twenty times, talk about it in different ways: It’s spilling through limbs and boughs, shooting across the field, rising in the morning, gleaming through the window, beaming behind the mountain.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

P.S. In my Writing Imagination Academy course, you will receive five modules full of videos with invaluable information that can aid you in your writing. I plan to delve more into this course in subsequent posts. Want to know more now? Sign up to my email list and find out (button below)!

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The Top Ten Points of Healthy Reading

Agree with these points, and you have the same appetite for literature as I do! Apply these points to your life, and you will have a much more imaginative, inspirational, wholesome, and healthy lifestyle. If everyone applied these points to their lives, Social Media would die within a few years. It will anyway. . .though it might take a little longer (a couple generations tops). Don’t understand that statement? Keep reading!

1. A good story has a theme of redemption instead of a theme of despair.
2. A good story doesn’t keep you in suspense on EVERY page. There are places of refuge where the reader’s imagination can fully develop – these places are places the reader will want to re-read the rest of their lives.
3. A good story doesn’t exhaust its readers – it invigorates them in their daily lives.
4. A good story builds strength/resourcefulness on every page and not conflict. There can/should be places of conflict or at least suspense, but they should be balanced with strength.
5. A good story builds new descriptions on every page. If readers are not continually re-brought into the story, they will not be able to fully picture and imagine it for themselves.
6. A good story should be something that can be enjoyed by everyone of all ages even though it might focus on a particular age group. If a story is only enjoyed by a few who grow out of it, then it is not a good story in the slightest.
7. A good story encourages healthy society in some way or another. Literature that does not do so is only used by those who change society for the worse.
8. A good story shows the reader how to live life and not how to escape it.
9. A good story shows that we are not merely individuals but that we belong to a family.
10. A good story encourages virtue and not vice in the reader, and as such its main focus should be on virtue.

So, what did I mean about Social Media? Social media (similar to Hollywood) has not been encouraging these ten points in the stories that it focuses on, and that’s one reason why you won’t find me on SM! For instance, it does not encourage healthy society because it encourages people to become more and more involved with it until your energy is consumed. Did you know that most social media companies hire “attention engineers” who study Los Vegas tactics to make social media more addictive? Want to know more about the ills of social media in today’s society? Watch the below video!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E7hkPZ-HTk

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

P.S. To get you started on a more imaginative, inspirational, and wholesome life, buy my books The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor today!

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