Roney Writes

Christine Roney, Author

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The Spark That Fires Up Our Imagination

 

I was recently asked what makes a story come alive. My short answer to this was that a story comes alive when the words on the page not only propel the story along but also create imagery that allows the reader to experience the story both intellectually and emotionally. When a reader identifies with the characters and feels what the characters feel, that’s when the magic happens.

But the question started me thinking. When most of us think of “story”, we think of being entertained. Someone has spun a tale that makes us laugh, or cry, or scares the heck out of us.

But stories are about people — about the characters who populate the pages. (What about animals, you say, there are many stories about animals and not people. Take Watership Down for example. Yes, but in those stories we attribute human traits to the creatures that run around on the page.)

What I want as a writer is to create characters that readers see as living, breathing people. In order to do that they have to live and breathe for me. Otherwise, they will lie there on the page — lazy, boring. How do you create rich, developed characters? Through the story! We get the sense of who a character is by how he/she handles what we throw at them.

I rub my hands together in anticipation of being that puppet master that walks her darlings through an obstacle field before they can get to the prize — which is dangled before them at the far end. What they experience, physically and emotionally, as they face each obstacle reveals who they are to the reader. Conflict is what makes things happen in a story and it’s what shapes our characters.

Soon after a story begins, an event should occur that changes your character’s path. He/she is faced with a problem or a complication that he/she must deal with. If not, and everything in your character’s life is and stays hunky-dory then there is no story, at least not an engaging one.

This article is not a primer on writing but in order to examine what makes a story come alive, conflict must take a mighty bow.

I said above that I relish putting my characters through hell on their journey to claim the prize, but when I started writing one of my biggest problems was being too nice to my characters. And creating characters that were too nice! So even though I loved the protagonist in that story, she was kind of boring. I had to throw things at her, I had to create conflict within her and outside of her. And when I finally and reluctantly did that, the story began to live. She became someone the reader could relate to and care about, someone to root for.

A story also comes alive when the writer creates visual images that pulls the reader into the story world. An example is John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. Through the use of imagery, Steinbeck invites the reader into the Row to see its life, its pulse, its heart. When I read that book, I became a short-term resident of Cannery Row.

Stories are part of our everyday life. Whether it’s our spouse relaying his day to us, our friend telling us about how she got a traffic ticket on the way to our house, our co-worker telling us about her dog’s newest antics. Stories are how we relate, how we communicate. It’s the way we as humans connect to each other.

A storyteller who is a writer captures the spark of a story and puts it on the page to fire up our imaginations.

(Originally published on Medium on May 17, 2018)

Check Out My Stories On Medium

First, as you can see I have revamped this website – a new look for a new era in creativity!

Next, I’ve started writing articles on Medium. From time to time, I will post some of those articles here. In the meantime, click here to go to my profile page on Medium where you will find a list of my articles.

 

Sunshine and Wings

Yesterday, I felt inspired to write this poem.

2018 And Beyond

The BookLoverWorm blog is hosting a month of guest posts from authors about their plans and hopes for 2018. I’m delighted to have been included in this fun feature. Check out BookLoverWorm’s blog and my post here.

 

Beyond Stone Goes To The Golden Globes!

My novel Beyond Stone will be in swag bags at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards today!

Release Day!

Fading Grace releases today!

Beyond Stone Wins Award!

I am pleased to announce that Beyond Stone won Best in Psychological Dramas/Thrillers at the 2017 Book Talk Radio Club Awards.

Fading Grace – Cover Reveal

I’m excited to announce that the Kindle edition of my new novella Fading Grace is available for pre-order at Amazon!

Get Fading Grace during the pre-order for 99¢. It will go up to its regular price of $2.99 after its release date of November 30, 2017.

Grace Tyler led a comfortable, unremarkable life. In her twenties, she had been an up-and-coming artist with shows in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, London, and Prague. But those years were long past.

A year ago, her husband suffered a fatal heart attack and she’s having difficulty adjusting to her new life. She begins to feel invisible. But she’s coping.

Or is she? One morning, Grace looks in the mirror and watches in horror as her reflection fades. She doesn’t just feel invisible anymore, she is invisible.

Why did this happen? How can she be seen again? As Grace searches for answers to these questions, what she discovers will impact the way we see ourselves and others.

[Cover design by The Cover Collection]

Beyond Stone Included In Swag Bags For The 2017 Emmys!

I’m thrilled that my novel was chosen to go in swag bags for the Emmy Awards!

Happy Anniversary, Beyond Stone!

Beyond Stone debuted one year ago today! And what a year it’s been. Beyond Stone went to the Oscars, it went to the Golden Globes, and it rode the New York subway.

I want to thank everyone who bought Beyond Stone, or borrowed a copy from the library or a friend, and took the time to read it. I also want to thank everyone who posted a review.

It’s been a great year! I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

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