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Writing News, Issue #004 -- Be a Better Writer
May 05, 2010

Writing News May 2010

In this issue:

  • News
  • Of Interest
  • Best Free Offer for Writers
  • Article: Why Ďonce Upon a Time' is Still the Story of Our Times
  • New at
  • New Short Stories
  • Writing Contests Closing Soon
  • Websites of Interest to Authors


Due to the number of requests for one on one instruction, I'm now offering the Novel Immersion Workshop on an individual basis. It's the same valuable format, structured one-on-one.

Of Interest:

Will the book you publish in the 21st Century actually be a Vook? Some think so. A Vook is new form of literature that combines text and video for a multidimensional reading experience. A few are already on sale at

Best Free Offer for Writers:

Make use of the Free Audiobook offer and add to your writing library. To build a better vocabulary, and save $39, see the link at the bottom of the Free Audiobook Page.

Writing Article:

Why ĎOnce Upon a Time' is Still the Story of Our Times by Mike Consol

Most professionals seem to regard storytelling as a quaint relic of the past Ė something modern society and all its technological gadgetry has made outmoded and unnecessary. Who needs story when you have cool new apps?

Itís an easy conclusion to come to because we have drifted so far from the basic roots of human communication, which began with storytelling, both hieroglyphics on cave walls and oral recitations.

Then again, all one must do is run that conclusion against the reality that surrounds us to know itís provably false. There are endless examples. Letís just review a few of them.

Podcasting is a very modern technology. Do you know the most popular podcast on iTunes, the mother of podcast distribution sites? Itís This American Life. If you know anything about this wildly popular National Public Radio program and podcast, you know it is old-fashioned storytelling on a grand scale, augmented with sound effects, music clips and other modern affectations. Itís a marvelous production.

People are drawn to it en masse because it offers what is missing from so many American lives Ė meaning. Without a narrative that draws relationships between people and the things around them life becomes vapid. Life becomes disparate pieces rather than a relational whole.

Ever wonder why the National Enquirer and magazines of its ilk are so popular and widely read? It isnít that most readers think the information contained is true or accurate. Indeed, the ultra-sensational Weekly World News publishes bizarre tales of alien invasions and babies whose heads explode. No sane person could possibly believe such tales are based on credible facts.

The truth is people donít care that those stories are based on a modicum of truth or are complete fiction. What they want are good and interesting stories to read, stories that entertain and titillate. If some publishers have decided not to let the facts get in the way of a good story, all the better.

Don Hewitt, the late creator and long-time producer of 60 Minutes, said his program had endured for more than 40 years based on a simple four-word formula that he used as a mantra with 60 Minutes reporting staff: "Tell me a story." It worked and 60 Minutes became the first news program to be the top rated TV program for the year Ė and it accomplished the feat three times, beating situation comedies and television network dramas in the ratings competition.

Hewitt was so committed to the magic and importance of storytelling he titled his autobiography, Tell Me a Story. Hewitt would say, "We don't do stories about issues, we do stories about people swept up by the issues." That's as old as time, he said, and referred to The Bible and the wisdom of its authors use of storytelling.

"The people who wrote The Bible were smart enough to write stories about people," Hewitt said.

Thatís true of religious faiths the world over. Religion is the most powerful force in billions of peopleís lives, and those religions are based on parables, allegories, metaphors and all forms of storytelling. It isnít a stretch to say the worldís religions are, at heart, a giant compilation of stories about mankind and its relationship to a Higher Power. To talk about religion and practice oneís faith is to tell profound stories.

Itís apparent that storytelling is innate to the human system and is active long before religion takes hold of us. The first thing any child requests on a regular basis Ė other than nutrition Ė are bedtime (and daytime) stories.

That carries on right into adulthood. Workplaces and friendship circles are riven with gossip. We canít resist telling stories and sometimes spicing them with wild speculation and embellishments. Even outright falsehoods are common. Some of us tell real whoppers. We want to tell a better story than the next person.

When we reach old age weíre filled with a lifetime of stories and relish sharing them with anyone and everyone willing to listen.

As screenwriting legend Robert McKee wrote in his award-winning book Story, "A story well told gives us the very thing we rarely get from life, meaningful emotional experience."

Mike Consol is president of, which provides business writing seminars, PowerPoint presentation skills training, Web 2.0 strategies and media training. Consol spent 17 years with American City Business Journals, the nation's largest publisher of metropolitan business journals. Article Source: U Publish Articles

New Articles at

Visit the Sitemap for a list of any articles you may have missed.

New Short Stories:

Read the stories in Page Forty-Seven online anthology.

Writing Contests Closing Soon:

View more creative writing contests HERE

Websites of Interest to Authors:

For a long list of interesting web sites visit the Writing Resources page.

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