“Storytelling. What is it? A Mystery! It’s the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. Of seeing what we say. How do we define this lively darting about with words, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be Storytelling?” – Guy de Maupassant
     The story is a sequence of events that we use with words and imagery to reveal an adventure, an emotion, a history, a lesson, a character…a story. As writers, Buck and I like to visualize our Black Eagle Force stories as they happen…If we don’t see it or feel it, neither will the reader. After twenty-five screen/teleplays and five novels, we have yet to write an outline. We prefer to create a situation and let the characters work it out. Our story will change, adapt, fluctuate and morph as we write. We rarely know how the story is going to turn out when we start and often we are as surprised at the ending as we hope the reader is.
     We feel the story itself is far more important than the writing of it. Storytelling is the oldest form of communication/education/healing in the history of mankind, dating back to the “Storyteller” (the shaman) around the campfires of prehistoric or primitive villages. The stories painted or drawn on the walls of caves in petroglyphs, on animal skins and in the oral tradition, were man’s first form of education, communication, entertainment and healing, far predating the written word.
     The Twelve Tribes of Israel used the “oral tradition” for centuries in passing down the parables of the Creation and Noah’s Flood. It was not until King Solomon decreed that these stories be written down, that we had any records from which much of the “Old Testament” was taken. We, as writers, have a responsibility to carry on this tradition, yes, in fact, mankind has a need for “Storytellers” that is almost as great as his need for love. But above all the story must entertaining or nobody would listen.
The story itself is why Dan Brown’s novels “The DaVinci Code”, “The Lost Symbol” “Angels & Demons” and “Deception Point” are so successful and popular, in our opinion. Brown was vilified, chastised and raked over the coals by so-called critics over his style, grammar and poor structuring, etc. The poor guy is laughing all the way to the bank…It’s about STORY, hello! Critics often think they know the way, but can’t drive the car. If you start looking at proper style, edit errors or grammatical rules, you’re not looking at the story. It’s like watching a movie with nonstop sex or gratuitous violence…it’s there to cover up the absence of story.
Most people can readily recite passages from great stories, including from the Bible on command even if the writing suffers in translation or style. The images are there and stimulate our powers of visualization. Of course Cecil B. DeMille helped out a great deal, but the story was still there.
Of course, action verbs, adjectives and judicious use of adverbs are important, but they’re not going to help tell the story if the story itself sucks. With the plethora of commercial fiction novels on the market today, good storytelling is also the reason why some writers excel while others fall by the wayside. Stories are not told to the reader…you must suck the reader into the story with visual imagery (word pictures) and emotions. A story without emotions is like an eagle without wings. You can’t just have wonderful, believable characters, you must follow the five precepts of storytelling: Make the reader See, Hear, Feel, Taste and Smell what’s going on in each and every scene. These things far outweigh style, structure and grammar. They are the core of storytelling.



About darephillips

Marine and Air Force Pilot team to create BLACK EAGLE FORCE. The authors of BLACK EAGLE FORCE, Buck Stienke and Ken Farmer have combined their creativity also in writing over twenty-five screen and teleplays, some of which have received award winning recognition like their movie, Rockabilly Baby. One such recent collaboration resulted in a magnificent screenplay adaptation from the hit novel by John Eastman, Verdict in Search of a Crime. The script is now in Hollywood. John Eastman's work and friendship inspired Ken and Buck to write, Black Eagle Force: Eye of the Storm. BEF novels 2 (Black Eagle Force: Sacred Mountain) and 3 (Return of the Starfighter) have been released and are all in Amazon's Best Sellers Top 100 list, Fiction>War. We have also just released our first historical fiction western, THE NATIONS, on Amazon and elsewhere.
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