Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Guest post: Story, Story Everywhere!




Writing/Blogging Lessons From The Food Industry by Elaine Stock


Gasp. Shudder. I work in the food industry while waiting for my dream job of a writing career to get the Green-Go-Ahead sign from God. No, I do not ask hungry people if they want fries with their meal, but there is nothing wrong with that. However, I do wake up on a work morning at 3 AM to slog off to a job that the American society attaches a stigma to, and yes, even in novels. But, like the budding actress who waits on tables in-between auditions, I’m making a living, earning needed benefits, cat food money, saving for writing conferences, and learning a few life lessons that I want to share with you.
 

Lesson #1: People are more than their hungry self. A hungry customer can only think about his empty belly. Once fueled, he or she returns, usually, to a more caring and sometimes, even more, dynamic and fun self. A character must have an internal self and external persona he or she shows. This will vary based upon familiarity. When I interview an author or contributor for my blog I try to respect who they want to show to the public. Not everyone wants to broadcast every life detail. It’s necessary to respect this.

 
Lesson #2: Some of my co-workers ask “may I help the next guest?” Treat characters like guests, allowing some to exert themselves and others to hold back. Everyone is an individual. Same goes for interviewing a guest for a blog. Let the guest lead. It’s sometimes necessary to step back and let the guest take a different route in responding to a question, even if it’s not the one you anticipated. Be cordial. Inviting a guest onto your blog for an interview or appearance is the equivalent of asking one into your living room. And on that note . . .

 
Lesson #3: Like a hungry customer, characters in a WIP or guests on a blog have added issues in their private lives. Rightly so, they may not explain why they’re refusing to pour out from your typing fingertips and onto the computer screen. Or, if a blog guest, why they aren’t staring at the blog waiting for the second after a viewer comments in order to reply (do you expect your guest to do this? Really?) Again, be cordial. Don’t harp on them. Thank them. Try to make it easy and fun. Promote them! Encourage them!
 

Lesson #4: There are characters in a novel, and guests on a blog, that like the hungry customer in a restaurant, will stick to “the usual” and then those who will be daring and eager to try the “something different.” Work with your characters. Work with your blog guests. Develop a feel for the unique person your guest is. Remember, that’s why you’ve asked them to appear on your blog to begin with. Or, in the case about creating a fictional world around your special character, it is what fascinated you about the character and the story premise to begin with.
 

I titled my blog Everyone’s Story. Everyone truly has a story. Everyone is a blessed individual. May we return the blessing by honoring them and giving our fictional characters and blog guests their deserved spotlight.

Elaine Stock--Writing to encourage others through difficult times.

Everyone's Story  http://elainestock.blogspot.com/
Twitter  http://www.twitter.com/ElaineStock
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorElaineStock

Rejoice in the good stuff. Ignore any discouragement.
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23 comments:

  1. Thanks for these insights, Elaine. I'll remember the "guest" approach with my characters. You're so right, if we push too hard to get them to open up, they resist :)

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    1. Janet, thanks for visiting Author Culture! For me, it's a daily lesson to learn to let my characters breathe themselves into life. It's sort of like I'm the writer who shows up at the keyboard to just take dictation.

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  2. Thanks so much, Lisa, for hosting me today.

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  3. Great points, Elaine, and I love how you tied it in with food service. =] Regardless of what side of food service we're on, these are super examples.

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    1. Oh… thanks so much, Patty. I was hoping that no matter what side of the "counter" one stands on, viewers would get what I was saying.

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  4. Great post, Elaine! I'm a "stick to the usual" kind of guy. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? Most of my characters are just the opposite. That's what makes it fun!

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    1. Tom, when it comes to food--it's whatever pleases. Same with characters--whatever makes them real, honest, and pleasing!

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  5. Everyone's Story is a blog I try to never miss. I love the way it always encourages. And the way you let your guest shine. Good job, Elaine!

    And, I've been looking around Lisa's blog and I like what I see. Sp glad you had Elaine on.

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  6. I meant Author Culture, not Lisa's blog. lol

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    1. Pat, my blog is absolutely nothing and most meaningless if it weren't for beautiful and encouraging people like you! Thanks for visiting Author Culture. And thanks for your visits to my blog.

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  7. Yes, so true, Elaine. We do have to be sensitive to those blog guests--I've learned there are silent guests who like your posts but don't comment at all. Sometimes I'm so moved by something I have nothing to add!

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    1. Heather, it's always a pleasure to see you. As you know, I view blogging as a fun, wonderful, spiritual, and very fickle creature. You just never know what or when or why viewers respond. But, each viewer is a treasure to appreciate. It's also a very complicated world we all live in--it daily boggles my mind that someone, let alone a lot of someones will take the time to visit my blog. And those who leave comments are true joys. Hmm. I need to brush up my end of leaving comments too on other blogs!

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  8. I'm so happy to have Elaine as my guest today. She's made some great points, and we can't forget to look for the story in everyday life, everywhere, wherever we are and whatever we do.

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    1. Heartfelt thanks and appreciation, Lisa.

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  9. Nice post, Elaine! Very good points!

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  10. Really interesting points, Elaine. There is food for thought (no pun intended), in all walks of life. I think I have the job with the second highest stigma--dental assisting. Nobody likes to go to the dentist's office, but you learn a lot about people as they confront fear in their every day lives and depend on you for comfort. Thanks for sharing your insights.

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    1. Kathy, I never would have thought twice about stigmas that you face in your profession----interesting. At least thru a writer's eyes ;)
      We both face those expressing human needs and reactions: hunger and fear, to name two. And I am sure you also get everything in between too if we have a customer/client facing a problem. Keeps things interesting, huh?

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  11. Love it Elaine:) Wonderful that your experiences are so practical to stories of fictional characters or people we meet in everyday life! Wonderful post!

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  12. Wonderful post Elaine...very practical and helpful:) Thx!

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    1. Thanks so much for your comments and visit, Lorna. You're such a supportive friend.

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    2. Of course Elaine...I always like to hear what you have to say:) BTW you're a wonderful friend too...hugs to you!

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  13. Thanks, Lisa, for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts.

    I wish everyone a joyous Thanksgiving.

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