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Writing Books/I need a start.


I have authored numerous articles for my work newspaper and have also penned papers on academic topics related to work/labour issues for a diploma course I did at University last year (2003). This has stirred a desire in me to explore the possibility of taking my writing endeavours further. My idea is to pen some of my life experiences as a fictional story. The Brazilian movie "City of God" has given me some insight as to what can be done because I have witnessed numerous similar scenes depicted in this movie as a young boy growing up on the Cape Flats in Cape Town South Africa. I have given it some thought and decided that I would have to base it on a philosophical bias. The content would basically be a "collage" of experiences which would have to be synchronized to articulate the story to have a body content that would make sense to the reader.  

My question is multi-fold, where do I start, How do I develop the plot, character etc. I know this is not the right forum for a lesson in writing skills, but can you possibly give me a brief overview of what to do to get my teeth into this project even if it is only to nudge me in the right direction?

Dear Mr. Williams:

Your choice to write autobiographical fiction is a powerful one.  No story affects a reader more deeply and causes profound changes in one's life like the story in which we, the reader, become the subtext of the author's theme.  

It is because each of us is different from one another that autobiographical fiction is interesting; simultaneously, it is because we are all so much alike that we can walk in the other fellow's shoes and ask ourselves how we would handle a conflict that the author is now facing.  All of us wish to give and receive love.  All of us wish to give and receive respect.  All of us wish to feel secure in who and what we are and how we conduct our lives.  When we bring so much of our judgmental selves to the reading of a story, we become the subtext of the author's theme.

I believe there exists an implied warning here; you will be responsible for creating change and direction in your readers' lives - if you are any good, and I believe, from the intelligence of your stated query, that you are just that good.

As far as where to start, all good stories and plots work off of specific common elements.  Once you have learned these elements, you will use them to express your creative concepts in a way that best represents your individual nature.

I have a manuscript of my private and public university  lectures that have been sewn into a book length project.  It is due out in 2006 (so they say!).  The title is 'THE POWER OF THE WORD; A PHILOSOPHICAL REALITY CHECK'.  This is a workbook style course.  You begin with nothing and in seven lessons you will have a completed book or film script, as you wish.  I will guide you through every step of the creative process and still leave you room to 'be yourself.'

If you send me an email I will return your email with a free Microsoft Word attachment of the book in manuscript format (there are a few mistakes, but nothing that would slow you down).  You can set your printer for 'draft' mode and print up a quick copy, throw it into a notebook and go to work!  You may email me from my web site .  Write "All Experts private request" in your subject line so I won't delete you.

One more thing, large sections of the manuscript have been published and copyrighted over the last three years.  You are on the honor system: you may not publish by any means any of the manuscript in whole or in part without my permission.  You may not lend out or share the manuscript.

My best,
M.L. Youngbear Roth, URM, Exec. Ed.
The Success Trust Literary Family  

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M.L. 'Max' Roth, Executive Editor


My specialist area is literary and philosophical fiction. I am pleased to answer all queries regarding story, plot, character arc and development, environment, structure, theme, subtext, and conflict.


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Numerous client references may be found at: under 'References'. Their contact information is available on request.

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