There are few things in my life as special as walking the aisles of my local library. This is where book scents and muffled conversations create an environment that feeds my imagination and prepares my mind to function at peak performance. Here are the comfy chairs where I open book after book to explore research topics that support my clients—and my own writing projects. This is where I enjoy the unique whispered quiet that lifts my writer’s spirit and encourages me to get the job done—despite the tumult that circles the globe.
Today, I focus on feeding the writers’ minds through reading nonfiction. I’m not talking about the chemistry or political science textbooks of the university kind, although they can be an excellent resource for mystery and science fiction writers. Today’s topic is the True Story genre—authentically written life events that offer perspectives for me (as a person and writer) and the characters I am developing in my work of fiction.
One such True Story is A JOURNEY TO MANHOOD: The Village that Raised the Boy by Ty Burton. This is Mr. Burton’s first book, written with passion, and acknowledges the value of teachers, coaches, mentors, and friends who step up to make a difference in someone else’s life. It lets readers understand “the high stakes that hang in the balance of every action we take.” Mr. Burton holds dual master’s degrees in Administration of Justice and Human Resource Development. Although he did the university work to obtain these degrees, reading his book reveals that much of his education came much earlier in life.
The second book I’ll mention is 17 HOURS: Tracking Down Our Runaway. This True Story is getting a lot of attention because of the “imminent threat” all young women must be aware of in the world we live in today. As the book cover states, “No family is immune to the dangers of sex trafficking.” The author, Diane Bassett, is one of many moms whose beautiful daughter had been drawn into a dark world operating in local parks, a world that pushes naive girls into such no-win positions. Bassett’s story details their 17-hour journey to save their daughter’s life. The book also places a Tip Guide in the hands of every reader with resources that will help locate a runaway child.
This nonfiction genre of True Stories holds many teachable moments for writers of every genre. Here are the key concepts I believe help us improve our skills as well as reader appreciation:
- Before sitting down to write, prepare your mind to function at peak performance. If you need to set up your personal writing station in the library—or close your office door and relax with a cup of morning tea or coffee—then do it.
- Write the story and the characters (real or imagined) with passion. Let the world hear their voices and feel their experiences as if you and each reader were experiencing them.
- Keep your project (chapters) balanced. Nonfiction, real-life stories can be intense. Our reading audience today lives pretty intense lives themselves. However, learning about others who have survived is a valuable tool to encourage us all. So, balance the heart-pounding moments with lighter events—tender moments with family and friends—a pillow fight with other children, etc.
- A major aspect of real-life stories is exposing the “imminent threats” that could very quickly impact our lives. These books can—and do—make a real difference, especially when helpful resource information is also provided. Keep a list as you do your research and consider adding it to the back of your book.
The last checkmark on this list is to GET THE JOB DONE! Your nonfiction, real-life True Stories need to be on library bookshelves, in bookstores, and online! This genre is a big part of what inspires future generations to step up and make their own “difference” in the world. So, don’t give up! Complete your book! Get it PUBLISHED!
ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. She developed these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, has received excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.
Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena. December 2017 marked the end of Royalene’s tenure at Self Publishing Advisor. and we will be spending the next few weeks celebrating some of her all-time hits, her most well-received articles for our blog, in thanks for years of generous service.