Sleepless

#SeptemberFalls22

Noctiflorous thoughts
Weave gossamer webs
Dreams lay entangled
In the silver threads
Droopy eyelids await
Slumber so deep
To serenade visions
To surrender to sleep
Yet, destined to a night
Drowned in the aroma
Of frantic wild petals
Wilting at sunrise

Book Review: Crafting Great Stories

Crafting Great Stories -Gerald Gallagher – Book Cover

Book: Crafting Great Stories

Author: Gerald Gallagher

Genre: Non-fiction, writing

Review copy: Reedsy Discovery

Available at: Amazon.in

Recommended: Must Read

A concise guide to starting with the art of crafting impactful stories – ideal for students, beginners, leaders, and writers of all genres.

Storytelling is a buzzword not just amongst creatives and academicians but also in corporate boardrooms. Off late, there is an emphasis even on delivering impressive stories around bland data charts. Effective storytelling requires skills in story writing and narration. While there are several books on the subject, Gerald Gallagher’s Crafting Great Stories is a succinct and handy guidebook. It gets straight to the basics and carves an easy-to-grasp set of rules and practices based on research.

Gallagher summarizes all the key elements of story writing and supports them with ideas that can act as writing prompts for a beginner. He builds his book on the affirmation – “The author is mighty, indeed, having the ability to create worlds unlike our own.” His book is then a simple toolset to get a writer started on this unique journey. Crafting Great Stories has valuable information for those who are exploring the art of storytelling and a ready-reckoner for those wanting to hone their craft. My copy of the book has several highlighted takeaways for reference.

Apart from the rules related to good writing, such as outlining, plotting, characterization, setting, and tying it all up neatly together, Gallagher talks about an important subject – writer’s block. He offers advice on how to tackle writer’s block and acknowledges, “…writing burnout is a real and sometimes terrifying thing.” He talks about first deciding on the narrative type you want to build. On this canvas, one can add brush strokes and colors that give a complete picture of an outline. Sometimes, where to start from is the toughest question and Gallagher gives sound advice.

He has given numbered lists and cheat-sheets while providing ample material to create your own. There is information on story arcs and subplots, secondary characters, subvert expectations, and how the story’s theme differs from the moral. I found it interesting that the moral should be woven “into your writing mostly during the middle section of your writing.

I appreciate the author has dedicated an entire chapter to the art of editing and publishing, which I always believe breathes life into any piece of writing. I also enjoyed the chapter on creating settings and backdrops, and even treating them as characters. This is an important book and a must-have for all writers who want to learn the dynamics of creating impactful stories.

Newspaper

Off late, have you felt the need
The urgency to walk down
The sleepy morning street
To grab a newspaper from
The silver ink-stained stand?
Or, is the news now stale
With clicks at your fingertips
You rather sit still, unmoved
Behind doors, unperturbed
With how the world is cold
Just like the blood that runs
In your grease-clogged veins
Your thoughts are now numb
Beyond despair, beyond repair

Just life

#MMPoetryBattle prompt is: AMALGAM⚔️

The sun melts into the horizon
Amalgam of light and darkness
Where the lines are blurred
Between paradise and hell
Consumed by the ocean
Glitter hues of golden days
Now wrapped in tempests
Bellowing over troubled waters
Such is life – Moments of delight
Washed away by turbulent tides

Also features on #MMPoetryBattle week of Aug 12 highlights, with a couple of different words to meet the Tweet character limit: https://jdgreysonwrites.medium.com/poetry-battle-highlights-a945024a33e6

The butterfly

I have a corner seat in my office where I can lift the blinds from the tall glass window and glance outside. When I am writing and can’t find the right word or tone, or even mood, I just gaze outside or stand next to the glass trying to capture inspiration from a tiny piece of concrete- ensnared Universe.

When I lifted the blinds this morning, I saw a yellow butterfly in a small manicured green patch. Throughout the day I shivered in the office air conditioning while admiring the blue sky and the cotton candy clouds, imagining it to be a pleasant winter morning. The truth is after a week of regular Monsoon rainfall, the sun was back with vengeance. The washed sunlight was extremely harsh outside. I felt sad for the yellow helmet-clad cleaning and construction guys. Somehow, their work never seems to end.

The sun beat down upon them as they shoveled through their assigned chores. I wonder if they saw the butterfly, or the sky, or the white cloud drifting by. All I could do was sigh, return to my desk to work, and pay my taxes so that the world still goes around, and there is always a patch of grass that needs to be manicured. Such is life!

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