Category Archives: On creativity

The 7 Elements of Great Storytelling

book-863418_1280What are the elements that make a story great? Recently, I sat down and decided to write the core elements that I feel make a story great, and I came up with seven.

1.      Writing

Writing a great story naturally involves great writing. This is why I put this as the very first element. If you’re thinking about having a career in writing, your writing must be good – a base level of proficiency should consist of:

  • Fluidity
  • Clarity
  • Purpose
  • Proper spelling and grammar
  • Expansive vocabulary
  • Appropriate word choice
  • Logical coherence

The good news is that almost anyone can reach this level with practice, which is actually encouraging. Unlike other disciplines such as singing or playing in the NBA, writing well has less to do with natural talent or physical attributes, it’s just a matter of putting in the effort. Stephen King wrote in his book ‘On Writing’, “the first million words are practice,” and I believe this to be more or less true. If you put in the work and show up every day, your writing will eventually improve.

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2.      Originality

Your idea or story has to be somewhat original and interesting. I say ‘somewhat original’ because it’s very difficult to come up with a completely original and interesting idea. Most great storytellers borrow ideas from others. It’s okay to be inspired by others and borrow ideas – I borrow ideas all the time, but I make reference of them to give credit where it’s due. In my Prodigy book, I use themes from Plato’s Republic, but I make sure to reference them to let the reader know that I’m not trying to steal Plato’s ideas and pass them off as my own. Instead, I’m paying homage to something that inspired me.

To improve originality, it’s important to be well-rounded in terms of your interests and your scope of knowledge. So try to be very broad with your understanding of things, especially areas where you have relatively no knowledge, whether it’s science, religion, cultures, economics, history, geography… It’s also helpful to be:

  • World travelled
  • Read books
  • Hang out with different types of people
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Watch documentaries
  • Challenge your opinions and assumptions – be critical and objective about your thoughts
  • Be observant about the world
  • Develop a new hobby such as archery, yoga, ballet, rock climbing…

Over time, you will uncover things, learn new truths, and develop original thinking in areas where you would otherwise not have gone down if you just stayed in this narrow lane of topics that interest you.

man walking

3.      Characters

Your characters have to be well-defined and relatable. Part of having well-defined characters means they should each have their own distinct voice and unique set of characteristics that separate them from other characters in your story. Here are some things to consider:

  • Your characters shouldn’t all sound alike
  • Each character should have their own point of view
  • Your reader should be able to tell who’s talking without you telling them
  • Your characters should generally behave in a consistent manner

One method I use, and a lot of other writers use, is character profiles. These are simply one or two page summaries of each of your main characters. Start by selecting an image of what your character looks like (you can draw it if you like or find an image online). Next, write down the answers to the following questions:

  • What are their beliefs or values?
  • What is their background?
  • What motivates them?
  • What are their goals?
  • What are their interests or hobbies?
  • What are their opinions?

You can then have a few quotables, something like, “I’m working part-time and going to school to become a doctor,” “My girlfriend is a painter,” “I really don’t like how lazy I am, I want to change.” This will help cement the idea of their true nature in your head.

When you take the time to write character profiles, you can put your characters in any situation and have very good understanding of what they would do and how they would behave in that situation.

Biker through tunnel

4.      Pace

The pacing of your story has to be such that the reader does not get bored easily. Make them want to keep reading. I often use the metaphor of a monkey swinging from vine to vine – when it swings from one vine, and that vine has reached its maximum extension, there should be another vine within reach, ready to be grabbed and allow the monkey to carry its momentum forward.

So if you have a really lengthy and verbose opening that describes the house the person grew up in, the colour of the carpet, their lovely neighbours… and you go on and on and on about minutia, then it’s going to be boring for many readers – it’d be like starting a race with your feet in mud. Why have your readers slog through mud at all. They should be able to take off with your story and maintain that momentum (or have the momentum increase) until the very last page.

If you want your book to hit with a lot of people, you need to hook them in immediately and maintain a steady pace. This may not come easy to you in the first draft, but it can be done in the editing process. For instance, maybe in the revision you decide that the first three chapters can be combined into one chapter, or better yet, one paragraph. This gets the story started as deep into the story as possible.

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5.      Story Arc

The story arc must be suspenseful. By nature, human beings are really attracted to suspense. In most stories, the hero always wins, and yet despite knowing this, we still love watching movies and reading books. That’s because it’s not necessarily the payoff at the end that we live for, even though that is satisfying. What we truly crave is the uncertainly of the drama.

In his book called, ‘The Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama’, David Mamet talks about this hypothetically perfect ball game in which he does a very good job of describing the kind of natural tension that we love.

He says, “The perfect ball game – what do we wish for in the perfect ball game? Do we wish for our team to take the field in thrash the opposition from the first moment to the final gun? No, we wish for a closely fought match that contains many satisfying reversals, but which can be seen retroactively to always tend toward a satisfying and inevitable conclusion. We wish, in effect, for a three act structure.

“In act one, our team takes the field and indeed prevails over its opponents, and we, its participants feel pride. But before the pride can mature into arrogance, this new thing occurs – our team makes an error. The other side is inspired and pushes forward with previously unsuspected strength and imagination. Our team weakens and retreats.

“In act two of this perfect game, our team is shaken and confused. They forget the rudiments of cohesion and strategy and address that made them strong. They fall deeper and deeper into a slew of despond. All contrary efforts seem naught and just when we think that the tide may have turned back the other way, a penalty or adverse decision is rendered, nullifying their gains. What could be worse?

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“But wait. Just when all else seems irredeemably lost, help comes, which is act three. A player, previously believe to be second rate, emerges with a block, a throw, a run, and offers a glimmer of that possibility of victory. Yes, only a glimmer. But it is sufficient to rouse the team to something approaching its best efforts and the team indeed rallies. Our team brings the score back even and makes the play that would put them ahead, only to have it called back yet again by fate, or by its lieutenant, a wrong-headed, ignorant or malicious official.

“But see, the lessons of the second act were not lost on our team. People might say that it’s too late or the clock is too far run down, our heroes are too tired… yet they rouse themselves for one last effort, one last try, and do they prevail? Do they triumph with scant seconds left on the clock? Oh, they do. They all but prevail. As the final seconds of the play, the outcome rests on the lone warrior – that hero, that champion, that person upon whom in the final moment all our hopes devolve. That final play, run, pass, penalty kick. But wait. That hero that would have been chosen for the task, that champion is injured. No one is left on the bench…”

There is the perfect game as described by David Mamet. It’s very interesting and obviously points to these kinds of ebbs and flows, this tide, this yin this yang, this push pull tension where they’re up, they’re down, they’re up again, they’re down again. And just when it appears there is no hope, somehow by all odds stacked against them, they come back and become triumphant in the most unsuspecting way in the final seconds of the game. So if you can, your story could follow a similar arc as well.

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6.      Conclusion

Your story must have a satisfying ending, which is indeed difficult. When I write, a lot of times I don’t know how the story will end. I may have an idea, but I usually discover it when I get there. I just wing it and hope for the best. It’s difficult to have a satisfying, original, and unpredictable ending that pays off for the reader. If you build up the story adequately, the ending must deliver so that the previous efforts are not lost. You want your reader to finish the book with a smile, unable to contain their joy – they can’t wait to tell their friends, read the sequel, learn everything they can about you… A good ending can also save, or make up for a lackluster climax. An average story with an amazing twist ending can bolster the story in ways that no other part of the book can.

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7.      *Bonus* — Timing

If you incorporate the first six elements of storytelling into your book, you may come close to creating a masterpiece. However, I think one bonus element could be included in the list that may elevate a great book to a nearly perfect book – and that is well-timed comedy or drama in appropriate places. By this I mean, if you’re writing a really dramatic scene with lots of tension, a great way to keep the reader engaged is to inject some comedic relief (or if your book is funny, inject some drama in certain places). Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is an excellent example of this. And if done well, it could really take your book to the next level.

So there they are, the 7 elements of great storytelling. If you have any other insights or feel I missed some, please let me know in the comments below.

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How to Transition Smoothly Between Chapters

How to Transition Smoothly Between Chapters I get a lot of questions regarding writing advice. While I’m no expert, I certainly have some opinions that I’m more than happy to share. Recently, I was asked:

“Are there any ‘good’ ways to have smooth transitions between chapters so that the story flows in an understandable way for the reader?”

First we need to understand that there are two different types of transitions that can occur when a chapter ends:

A.) transitioning from one scene to a completely different scene

B.) transitioning from one scene to a continuation of the same scene, but just in the next chapter

Biker through tunnel

In scenario (a) if there are large gaps of time between the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next, then I usually say something like, “The last 6 months had been rough for Joe. He kept his head down and worked hard…” This is my “establishing shot” so-to-speak. It provides context for the reader and lets them know that the scene has now jumped. The next paragraph after that, I will have Joe doing something and engaging in a new scene.

My book The Art of the Hustle does this quite a bit since I cover 10 years in the book. In one scene, there was so much of a gap (like 4 years), that it was weird to just transition from one chapter to the next so I made a new part. So the book starts out with Part 1 – Chapter 1,2,3,4…. then about halfway, I introduce Part 2 and mention that it has been 4 years later. man walkingIn some cases, it may be more fluid to not have a chapter break, but instead just have a text break. So an example would look like this:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

***

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

With this technique, you don’t have to be all that smooth since the separator lets the reader know that you’ve transitioned into a different scene. If the gap in time is not that large, say the character is at work in one chapter, and then at home in the next chapter, I may just say “Joe was exhausted. He sat on the couch as he usually did after his shift and watched sports highlights…” hot air balloon at nightScenario (b) — a continuation of the same scene, but just in the next chapter — is much easier. I actually prefer this ‘cliff-hanger’ technique as much as possible to encourage people to continue reading. TV shows often end this way as well. So if a chapter ends like, “Joe turned around and was shocked by who was standing before him.” I’ll end the chapter there so the reader wants to keep reading to find out who was standing behind Joe.

Then, in the next chapter I would begin by saying something like, “Joe couldn’t believe his eyes as he was now staring at a man he long presumed dead…” So basically you just pick up where you left off. In fact, I often write the scene straight through and then later pick some moment which I feel would make a good cliff-hanger and then end my chapter there.

Some writers have an ‘A’ plot and a ‘B’ plot and they stitch it together like a zipper. So in my above example, you would say something like, “Joe turned around and was shocked by who was standing before him.” End chapter. Then the next chapter would be the ‘B’ plot — a completely different scene altogether.

Then once that chapter ends, you pick up where you left off with the ‘A’ plot. I tend not to do this, but it can add more excitement as the reader now has to read an entire chapter just to get back to where they left off in the story. Blog banner

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How to Describe Things in Writing

 

man scratching his head

One question I get a lot is, “I’m not very good at describing things when I write, do you have any advice?”

Play to your strengths

If you’ve read any of my books, you’ll notice I never really tell the reader what my characters look like beyond “she was beautiful” or “he was scrawny”, I let the reader decide those details on their own. Rarely do I describe rooms or tiny details of things. I think the brain is wonderful at extrapolating those details without the aid of the author. So the mental image I talk about is more for the author’s sake than for the reader’s.

hustle_coverFunny story… after reading my book, The Art of the Hustle, someone made a comment stating, “Great story, and I love that the main character is black!” I’m like, “He is? Okay, sure.” So to this guy, his mind filled in the missing details with what was relevant to him and what he pictured in his mind, and I think that’s great.

Another trick some author’s do is put in a placeholder word that is easy to find using the search function and will not appear anywhere else in the text. So for example, use the letters TK any time you have to describe something and are getting bogged down. The idea is that you can go back to those spots and fill in the details later, and not fall into a trap and disrupt the flow of your writing. For instance, “Joe walked into the TK room and noticed a TK couch on his right…”

Turn weakness into strength

So my first suggestion would be to play to your strengths and avoid your weaknesses. But if you don’t like that idea, the alternative (there may be more than one) would be to work on your weaknesses much like you would working out at the gym. Eventually, you will get stronger in this area. So for example, what you could do is start your day with a writing exercise to describe some object in your house – something that you know well. It doesn’t need to be in front of you, but have a clear picture of it in your mind. Describe the shape, texture, material, weight, shine… anything you think the reader would like to know about it.

five senses

Usually with good writing, you want to include the 5 common senses such as Sound, Smell, Sight, Touch, and Taste. If you keep those in mind when you describe a scene, you will get the reader more into the story. I’ve been using this approach a lot and I think it’s good. Of course, you don’t want to overdo it and describe the five senses every time your character interacts with something new, but let’s say your character walks into an old kitchen – it should smell a certain way right? And maybe the fridge has a low frequency hum, and maybe there’s s grease stain on the floor that’s sticky, and so on. So you can see how you start to build a mental picture.

I hope that helps.

Edward Mullen

Read Also:

OVERCOMING WRITING RESISTANCE

HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL

HOW TO BUILD AN AUDIENCE AS A WRITER

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Overcoming Writing Resistance

Overcoming writing resistance

Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to write when you have other obligations such as work, school, or family. It can be tough to find motivation and maintain momentum, especially with so many other distractions competing for your attention and limited resources, but it can be done.

MOTIVATION

I can’t really tell you any secrets to motivation other than if you want something badly enough, you’ll find the time to do it. Otherwise, you may need to be honest with yourself and re-evaluate whether writing, or whatever it is you need motivation for, is really something worth pursuing. Eric Thomas has a great quote, he says, “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” Steven Pressfield also addresses this in his book, The War of Art, where he discusses the concept of resistance. If you like something, but not enough to find time to do it, you may need to just move on.

eric thomas quote

But if you want to be a writer, here are a few ways to get motivated:

    • Set a writing goal. I aim for 1000 words per day, but if you cannot write everyday, try a realistic goal such as 3000 words per week. Based on this schedule, you will complete your first draft in about six months. Mark it on your calender, set notification reminders, and stick with it.
    • Get into a routine. Human beings tend to be quite adaptable to almost anything if they can create a habit. Getting in shape for instance works on the same principle. It may be tough at first, but then it becomes easier when you make it a part of your lifestyle. So schedule times to write and stick with it. So let’s say you set aside time to write Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday night, and aim for 1000 words per day. Chances are you’ll write more than that and finish your first draft ahead of schedule.
    • Reading bad fiction is a really strong motivator for me. I’ll sit down on the couch or my favourite reading chair and dive into some book that I happen to own. Usually what happens around chapter two or three is I get up and say, “I can do better than this!” and go to my computer and immediately start writing.

DISTRACTIONS

    • There are many software programs that can facilitate the writing process and eliminate distractions. Try Write Room (Mac) or Dark Room (Windows) – they make the entire screen blank with only a cursor and your words visible. Some writers find this helpful so they’re not tempted by the browser icon. While I’m discussing writing software, try Scrivener, it can be really useful for compiling notes and organizing large documents.
    • Another method I’ve heard of is having a “writing computer” that is not connected to the Internet. This will allow you to focus on the task at hand and not wander by checking email or social media sites. It is also useful for not losing your work since there will be no threat of viruses. One word of caution; however, most people’s so-called ‘writing computers’ will be old, and old hard drives can stop working without warning. Make sure you’re consistently backing up your files. You may want to get an external hard drive and leave it plugged in.
    • It’s not always easy to sit and write when it’s sunny out, or when people in your house want to hang out, so what you can try is writing late at night or early in the morning when everyone else is asleep. If you’ve never tried writing from midnight until 2:00 am, you should. You may be surprised at the result. Sometimes my best ideas come to me when my mind is fatigued. I also find this adds motivation because you’re reinforcing your work ethic. Of course you could be sleeping – that’s what most people are doing – but not you, you’re working toward achieving a goal.
    • Try cleaning your house, room, office, desk… whatever needs cleaning. I don’t know what it is, but when something is cluttered, my mind becomes cluttered and I can’t focus as well. I like to take care of all the distractions before I start writing, so they’re not nagging me.

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MOMENTUM

    • One really effective method to achieve something is having a buddy working toward the same goal. Together you will push each other and keep each other accountable. A writing buddy can also be a great way to brainstorm, or bounce ideas off and see which ones stick. This has been a tremendous help for me.
    • Creative writing classes are another way to get honest feedback. Look up courses at your local college or university and see if they offer a class that fits your schedule. You will partake in group discussions, writing exercises that sharpen your skills, and perhaps most importantly, you will have other writers critique your work. At first, this can be demoralizing to have a group of people rip your story to shreds, but you’re all there to learn and become better. It also puts you in touch with other writers who can edit your work.
    • Even when you’re not writing, it doesn’t mean you can’t be working on your story. One great quote I like is from Rudolph Erich Rascoe, he says, “What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he’s staring out the window.” Try to think about your story on your commute to and from work, while you’re working, when you’re at the grocery store… and then capture any ideas you may have. Then compile those notes into a master ‘note’ file so when you sit down to write, you will have momentum throughout the week. In other words, you’re not forcing yourself to come up with ideas at the time when you need ideas – it may not be the most efficient way to work. I come up with ideas all day, even when I’m sleeping, and when I sit down to write, I’m excited to explore where the ideas lead me.
    • If you find your momentum has waned a bit, you may need to re-evaluate the plot and see if you’re still passionate about it. There’s no shame in abandoning something that doesn’t work and starting fresh, just make sure abandoning doesn’t become a habit when the going gets tough. Some days are more of a grind than others, but hang in there and keep jabbing away at it. If the plot is no longer entertaining you after you’ve given it due consideration, then maybe it’s best to leave it alone. You can always come back to it.
    • My final piece of advice is this – You’ve heard the phrase, ‘you have to crawl before you can walk’, well the same applies to writing a novel. Try writing a blog post or a short story first. The simple satisfaction you receive upon completing a short story will often inspire you to work up to a larger project.

Edward Mullen

READ ALSO:

HOW TO BUILD AN AUDIENCE AS A WRITER

HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL

HOW TO STAY COMMITTED TO YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

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Finally, a Prodigy Sequel!

Prodigy - Edward MullenAfter months of planning — plotting out the characters and story arcs — I finally sat down last Monday and began writing the sequel to my futuristic techno-thriller, Prodigy. I’ve been working on it nearly every day and currently have roughly 14,000 words. I wanted to make a post answering some questions that may come up about the book.

Why a sequel?

While I like to leave the endings of my books open to allow for sequels, I never planned on writing one for Prodigy. However, due to the popularity of the book, I have reconsidered my position. The book I planned to write this year will have to wait until next year… no big deal.

The great thing about Alex is that she is young, so there’s so much about the world she has yet to discover. Diving back into this world has been a lot of fun. Once I started, I was super motivated to find out what happens next. I even designed the cover art, which is something I usually save until the end. Needless to say, I am brimming with creative juice on this project.

When’s it coming out?

Since I write full-time, I should be able to finish the book in the next four to six weeks, depending on my schedule. The actual writing of the book doesn’t take too long (if I work on it 70+ hours per week), the most time-consuming part is always the editing. That can take many months. So if I finish on schedule, and the edits go smoothly, the book could be out before the end of the year or early next year. We’ll see how things go and I will continue to post updates on my social media channels.

1069921_10100669193867131_531800510_nWhat’s it about?

I don’t want to give any of the plot away at this time, but I can assure you if you’re a fan of the first book, you’ll like this one. It takes place one year after the last book ends and addresses some of the craziness Alex would expect to face as she transitions back to her life. I’ve added a new cast of characters and brought in some of the old ones as well. So far I’ve tied in many elements that made the first book special so technically you could probably read the sequel without having read the first book.

The main challenge for me was to come up with a story that is equally as epic as the first novel. After what went down with her in the first book, I couldn’t just have some regular Tom Sawyer fence-painting adventure, it needed to be able to compete with the first book.

Writing is like a puzzle to me in that I don’t necessarily see the big picture from the beginning. Even yesterday I was struggling to fit certain pieces together, but I did not get discouraged. I slowly picked away at it and arranged more pieces. Once those pieces fell into place, I had another chuck I could add to the whole. That’s what it’s all about for me, showing up each day and arranging my ideas and words in a way that assembles something greater than the sum of all its parts. I guess what I’m saying is that at this point I have an idea what it’s going to be about, but I’m discovering so much along the way, stuff that would be difficult to sit down at the beginning and plan for. Once I start writing, the story almost takes on a life of its own and could turn out drastically different than what I originally intended.

What about other Prodigy projects?

I am currently working on a Prodigy audio book, as well as a Prodigy graphic novel. The audio book takes a lot of time to do well. It’s currently on hold while I have some people record their voices. Once I get those recordings, I just need to piece it together.

The situation regarding the graphic novel is this: I hired a really talented artist, inker, and colourist to help me bring my vision to life. Eventually, I’d like to direct a big-budget feature, but I have to pay my dues first and gain more of a following. But for now, a graphic novel seems to make sense. Anyways, I’m paying to produce this book out of pocket and it’s not cheap. To tell the full story may end up costing around $100,000. From a business perspective, it would not make much sense spending that kind of money without first testing the demand for the book. So what a lot of people do, and what I am also doing, is creating a first issue in a 22-page comic-book. If people like it and sales permit, I will produce a second one and so one.

A few more things…

As always, thank you for your support. If you haven’t already liked me or subscribed to my various channels, I would appreciate you doing that. It’s a simple thing to do, but cumulatively it can change a person’s life. The more followers and support one receives, the more doors begin to open for them.

Also on that note, 5-star reviews are extremely important – heck I’ll take 4-star reviews! The reviews let others know about the books and encourages more people to check them out. Often times when we like something, we don’t leave a review, but if we hate something or have had a bad experience, we lash out. It feels good, almost like we’re righting a wrong that has been done to us. What can end up happening is those negative reviews give other readers a false perspective of the quality of the book.

Art is subjective – something may be loved by someone and hated by another. So if you like comedy flicks but hate horror, then it doesn’t seem fair to give the horror flick a scathing 1-star review… It may be the greatest horror flick ever made, but it wasn’t made for you, it was made for an audience who likes that sort of thing. Please keep that in mind for reviewing in general, especially my books. Thanks.

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Edward Mullen

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How to Build an Audience as a Writer

The following is a list of advice that can improve your writing.

1069921_10100669193867131_531800510_n1. Practice Makes Perfect

Think about how much practice it requires to be really good at something. If you want to be exceptional, then you need to put in the same effort into your craft as Kobe Bryant puts into basketball – you need to write and edit everyday. To give you an idea, I write or edit around 11 hours nearly every day. There’s a really good quote I like to use often, it’s from Steve Martin’s book Born Standing Up – he says, “Be undeniably good.” If you are undeniably good at what you do, then people will find out about you.

2. Take Your Time

A common mistake a lot of new writers make is they release their work too soon. RESIST THE URGE TO DO THIS!! To give you an example of what I do, I wait at least a year before putting any book or short story out, but usually longer. From the time I write something until the time it goes public is around two years. This is such an important point and should not be overlooked. Trust me, you need some separation from your work and within that time, your skills will have improved. You’ll go back to stuff that at a time represented your best work, but a year later will be complete rubbish. So if you want to make the maximum impact with your writing, it has to be good, and a story hot off the press usually isn’t good.

3. Make a Good First Impression

You’ve heard the saying ‘You only get one chance to make a good first impression’. Make sure your writing is very polished. You won’t be able to do this on your own so you must get editors to review your work. This also applies to the cover art as well. Make sure the product you’re representing is indistinguishable from a professional book. If your writing is of a poor quality, and then your next book is the best book ever written, you may not get that second chance from people.

4. Expose Yourself

If you’re writing for the sake of writing, that’s great, but most of us want others to read our work. There’s nothing wrong with that, nor is there anything wrong with trying to make a living from your art. However, to do this is very difficult. To build your fanbase, you must first reach some kind of audience – a large number of people who will evaluate your work and decide whether or not they like it. One way to do this is to be featured on a website that reaches a lot of people. You want the spotlight on your book for as long as possible to give people a chance to read your words. If your book is featured and appeals to people, you may even make a ‘trending’ list or a ‘hot’ list. This is also a great way to gain exposure. It also helps if you can be number one on those lists, but anywhere in the top ten is good.

Edward Mullen Prodigy #1

Another great way to expose yourself is to have multiple avenues where people can access you, and don’t be afraid to give your stuff away for free. Be active on as many social media accounts, respond to fans, have a podcast, have a YouTube channel, a blog, and be candid. People are usually really good at spotting fakes. If you want success in anything, you have to be authentic to who you are. Don’t be afraid to expose your personality and even your insecurities, because those things are what make you unique.

5. Explore the World

Writing well is not only about constructing grammatical sentences, your ideas have to be engaging and interesting for people to read. Interesting ideas, interesting points of view, and interesting ways of describing things comes with life experience. As a teenager or young adult, your experiences may be limited so I encourage you to experience new things. While you are exploring the world, remember to be observant and take notes. Observe how people behave, how systems work, what the inside of an office building looks like, and capture your ideas in digital form or on paper for later review. The more experiences you have, the more reference points you will be able to draw from in your writing.

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Edward Mullen

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Prodigy Introduction

Prodigy - Edward MullenThe year 2030 was a significant turning point in human history. It was the beginning of a global catastrophe known as World War III.

Those who were fortunate enough to survive the attacks, nuclear blasts, and fallout were met with decades of economic recession, famine, and illness. Staying alive during those times required diligent effort, team work, and a lot of luck. People grew despondent and any remaining civility eroded. While the war was going on, there was a total disregard for law and order. Riots, looting, and senseless murders were a routine occurrence in nearly every city. Financial systems unraveled, infrastructures deteriorated and entire neighbourhoods were abandoned as people sought refuge in rural parts of the country where it was deemed to be safer.

When the war finally ended, it was a pyrrhic victory that decimated the majority of the world’s population and left the world in a state of ruins. If there was a positive, it was that the survivors came together like never before. Roughly one billion remained – a technologically savvy group of individuals who refused to be bound by outdated ways of thinking. They had nothing more to lose and everything to gain. With a fierce tenacity, they organized together and vowed to never let the mistakes of the past lead them to war again. They used the Internet to create a true democracy that allowed them to vote on every issue. Humanity had given life to technology, and when they needed it the most, technology gave life back to humanity.

The access to information enabled them to be tolerant of other cultures, educated about the issues, and intelligently discuss different ideologies. They took pride in rebuilding a new civilization because they felt like their voice mattered. Each law, policy, and institution was examined and discussed. Within a relatively short period of time, a new constitution was enacted by the people, for the people. Shortly thereafter, the New World Order was established – a benevolent and centralized government that became the administrative body for the entire planet. They operated with a simple agenda of creating optimal living conditions for all. There were no invasions of privacy and no invasions of countries; the sole purpose of its existence was to facilitate the will of the people – the way it was intended by the ancient Greeks.

Once the financial system was put in the hands of the people rather than power-hungry individuals, everything changed for the better. The economy became more efficient and people were no longer at the mercy of cyclical fluctuations and unstable speculative markets.

The educational system of the past was determined to be fundamentally flawed as well. It was designed hundreds of years before and no longer met the requirements of the modern world. The entire world population was now required to be educated according to a contemporary curriculum consisting of ten main subjects: mathematics, finance, science, languages, law, history, philosophy, psychology, art, and athletics. Each main subject could be subdivided into a vast collection of subsidiary subjects. Amongst these traditional subjects were a number of new and important additions to the curriculum. The study of personhood, mind management, and discipline were introduced in an effort to help people better understand the complexities of their egos and to moderate their temperaments.

Each subject would take years to master, but would not be learned in the traditional sense. Now, subjects were broken down into several parts and downloaded directly into people’s brains. Once downloaded, there would be no need for tests since the student was able to recall anything they had downloaded at a moment’s notice. For the most part, learning the traditional way, through repetition, became obsolete. Nearly everyone on the planet was enlightened, in effect, creating a world of kind and rational human beings.

The concept of countries no longer existed. People were free to live anywhere they wished. Individuals from underprivileged parts of the world were offered the chance to receive a one-time location reassignment, temporary lodging, and a full education – completely free. Nearly everyone accepted and moved into major cities leaving many of the harshest environments on the planet abandoned.

The Child Rearing Act was introduced as a method to maintain the global population as well as filter out children who were deemed to be a high risk for causing problems in society. An evaluation process was put in place and each woman was required to be approved before she conceived. Any woman wishing to have a baby would have to meet certain financial, educational, physical, and psychological requirements. Global populations became stable and for the most part, poverty was nullified.

Before all these changes, the world was on a steep descent into depravity and this seemed like the only logical step to take. Any woman who was found to be in violation of this act was often imprisoned and sometimes sterilized to prevent future offenses. In addition, the baby became the property of the state to ensure it would receive an adequate upbringing. Although the punishment was severe, it was deemed to be the only way to keep the system from falling back into the flawed ways of the past.

The ubiquity of information allowed people to gain a thorough understanding of worldly cultures. As a result, many of the cultural differences between people began to fade. Despite being separated by great distances, people still felt connected to each other in a communal sense. They had no nationality, no allegiance to a flag, and viewed themselves as citizens of Earth. They acted as one conglomerate global super-culture where many old nonsensical customs were abandoned and replaced by rational thinking and empathy. For the first time in human history, there was sustained global peace.

Article by Edward Mullen

Author of The Art of the Hustle and Destiny and Free Will

Host of The Edward Mullen Podcast

www.EdwardMullen.com

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