Style Or Substance?

Style Or Substance? Guest Blogger: Marty Coleman, The Napkin Dad Have you ever been on a movie set? If you have, you know how fake the whole thing is. Beautiful buildings, looking solid in marble and brick, are in fact wood facades with painted-on brick and marble. Luscious landscaping with exotic plants— plastic and fake. Actresses in ornate costumes turn out to have old t-shirts and shorts on underneath, not the sexy lingerie the outer garment suggests. And so it is with writing. All the stylistic hoops you jump through won’t be of value unless there is a real story underneath… something of substance that’s worth the reader spending their time and paying attention. Substance first, then style. All the style in the world won’t overcome emptiness. Which are you better at…...
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Writing Lesson #6

Writing Lesson #6 Guest Blogger: Marty Coleman, The Napkin Dad When my daughters were young, I had a tendency to exaggerate in my story telling. I might say, “Joe Blow was the GREATEST catcher who ever lived.” Or “General YadaYada was the MOST brilliant war tactician ever!” It became a running joke in my family — they expected my superlatives and would crack up or roll their eyes when they came. My eldest, Rebekah, was adamant that I see the movie “Big Fish” about a father who was a giant story teller, exaggerating stories to absurd lengths. Hmm, I wonder why she thought I’d like that one. Over time I realized that exaggeration can rob a story of its power, as well as damage trust and believability. It took me a while to understand the effectiveness of using the...
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Step Up to the Plate and Lay Your Cards on the Table

Step Up to the Plate and Lay Your Cards on the Table Guest Blogger: Marty Coleman, The Napkin Dad I am not a great writer. I get my grammar wrong, my sentence structure is sometimes caddywumpus and I definitely do not know proper punctuation. But I do know metaphors and analogies pretty well and it’s one of my great pleasures in life to read, hear or come up with good ones. But just as pleasurable is when I hear, read or come up with really bad ones. Why is it so great to hear something so bad? Because it’s as if the world suddenly became an absurdist Looney Tunes cartoon with funny looking people and fractured language right in front of my eyes. I like things that make no sense whatsoever but still point to something that makes sense. Most importantly, it makes me laugh and I like that. What are YOUR favorite mixed...
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Have You Annoyed Anyone Lately?

Have You Annoyed Anyone Lately? Guest Blogger: Marty Coleman, The Napkin Dad Have you ever read a book where you liked everyone and everything they did? Did you like everything about how they behaved, all their quirks and eccentricities, all their choices and concerns? If that was the case I think you read a pretty boring book. The essence of a story is conflict. Maybe it’s not through a ‘good vs. evil’, black and white dilemma, but in a story you are introducing characters who have to go through something. They can be very nice people, but if you don’t show some aspect of their character and their methods contributing to the problem as well as the solution, then they really aren’t all that engaging. You can’t root for someone who has nothing to overcome. What they have to overcome...
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Try Not to Sound Like a Writer!

Try Not to Sound Like a Writer! Cartoon courtesy of “The Napkin Dad” Marty Coleman, Photographer and Artist Visit Napkin Dad Website See Marty Coleman’s photography View Napkin Dad Products Be Sociable, Share! Tweet
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Don’t Put Your Reader to Sleep

Don’t Put Your Reader to Sleep A famous quip from Elmore Leonard. But take note…it’s more than just dry humor! It’s the best advice for good writing. Unnecessary backstory? Character’s long and involved dreams? Excessive description? Leave it out. Cartoon courtesy of “The Napkin Dad” Marty Coleman, Photographer and Artist Visit Napkin Dad Website See Marty Coleman’s photography View Napkin Dad Products Be Sociable, Share! ...
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Friday Fun!

http://www.rachellegardner.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Lesson-1-Napkin-Dad-400px2.jpg Is this perfect to finish off our week or what? Cartoon courtesy of “The Napkin Dad” Marty Coleman, Photographer and Artist Visit Napkin Dad Website See Marty Coleman’s photography View Napkin Dad Products Be Sociable, Share! ...
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