Fairytales: The World Of Goodness and Hope

IMG_2035

Last week, Hubby and I spent a day in New York City.

It was cold but beautiful. Busy, loud and fun.

When I saw Cinderella was playing at the Broadway Theater, well, I couldn’t resist.

My friend Tanya and I dragged our hubbies to the classic theater and the classic of all classic fairytales.

As I watched the show unfold under the lights, I was enthralled.

Enchanted.

Cinderella is a story of goodness. That if you do the right thing, good will win out in the end.

Every fairytale must have an element of goodness.

Of light in the midst of darkness.

Hope.

We’ve talked a lot in this fairytale series about Cinderella. How she maintained a good heart in the midst of her trials.

The step-mother, though evil, just wants a better life for her daughters.

She’s just all twisted around the axel on how to get it.

The Prince merely wants true love.

Goodness. Hope.

So, how do we demonstrate hope and goodness in the midst of our protagonist’s trial?

Let’s go back to the movie The Proposal.

Margaret Tate is all about herself. She’s kind of the opposite of Cinderella.

But when she starts to see how she’s robbing Drew’s family of the truth, she has a change of heart.

She abandons the fake marriage plans.

Goodness…

But Drew knows what’s transpired between them. He’s determined not to let Margaret go. He chases her to the airport, then back to New York City.

Because he has hope for them.

Fairy tales showcase how good wins over evil. Love triumphs over hate and bitterness.

As Christian authors with the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead living in us, our stories are the perfect canvas to show the love and goodness of God.

But with the fairytale like quality.

So, how do we do that? Give our stories the fairy tale quality of love and goodness.

After all, isn’t tension supreme? Don’t we need that in all of our novels?

1. Set up your protagonist with a “good want.” Cinderella “wanted” true love. She “wanted” her prince to come. You can showcase goodness from the onslaught of the story by setting up a worthy goal.

2. Let your protagonist make good choices. Cinderella chose to go to the ball and abide by the rules of the night — home by midnight. Sure, there could’ve been lots of conflict, tension and drama if she decided to push the limits and remain dancing in the arms of her prince. But she chose to leave when she’d been commanded. We cheer for her. We love her all the more for choosing well even though it cost her a piece of her heart.

3. Demonstrate how they love others. This is tricky. We don’t want the story to be about external events and outside drama, but set up a small subplot that allows your heroine and hero to love others well.

In my book, Love Starts With Elle, our heroine is dealing with her own troubles as well as her younger sister’s. I used her love and aid to her sister to show Elle’s goodness in the midst of her own trials.

4. Give a hint of the victory. While the protagonist must go through a valley of obstacles, remember to keep a glimpse of the hope and truth throughout the story. She will get what she wants. He will win the day.

In Cinderella, there’s the constant hope that the Prince will find her. In the Roger’s and Hammerstein version, the Prince and Cindy meet right away as she’s helping an old beggar woman in town. Later at the ball he can’t help but think he’s meet her before.

“Yes, you have, you have,” we cheer as we go along with the story. “Just wait… you’ll figure it out.”

So, give the reader a glimpse of the hope and goodness shining through.

5. Deliver a bit of beauty. By that, I mean give us a sense of the beauty and worthiness of the protagonist goal. Is it worthy to want true love? Or justice? Absolutely!

You can also deliver beauty through the setting and the secondary characters.

In Cinderella, one of the step-sisters turns out to be sweet and nice. There’s beauty in the “animal friends,” and the fairy godmother.

So, show a hint of beauty.

Happy Writing.

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Balance With Writing & Life: Getting Organized

About ten years ago, a friend introduced me to FlyLady at www.flylady.net, whose practices helped me learn how to manage and organize my household. With time, practice and patience, I managed to juggle my family, my business and other responsibilities without stressing out.

When we are trying to balance family, work, life and writing, it can be a juggling act. Many times, we see others handle their responsibilities with grace and feel we’re all alone. But you’re not alone.

The key to my household and business management was getting organized. The same goes with my writing. Now I’m keeping track of two demanding careers, managing my family, maintaining church responsibilities and finding time to take care of myself.

I needed to designate an office space in my house. For years, this office was a desk and bookcase in my bedroom. Then my hubby and son moved my desk to the open closet in the playroom. Now my office is an alcove off our bedroom, and it works well for me.

Take a look at the layout of your home. Maybe you’re fortunate to have a spare room you can turn into an office. If not, see if you can find a space in the living room, family room or even your bedroom for a desk and a bookcase or a cozy chair and a bookcase. You need some place to store your reference books and when you go to your office space, you can prepare yourself mentally for designated writing time.

Once you have designed space, review your monthly calendar. Mark doctor/dentist/vision appointments, school functions, work meetings, church activities and block off family time and date nights. Then, over the next few days, keep a time journal—write down everything you do from the moment your feet hit the floor to when you crash into bed for the night.

The purpose of this is to see where you can find pockets of time to write. Then pencil in your writing times. Consider getting up an hour early, writing during your lunch break or children’s nap times or while waiting in the carpool lanes. Delegate household responsibilities to family members to free up more writing time. Finding the time to write may be a challenge at first, but once you express your desires and get your family onboard, you may be able to claim more time than you expected. Then you need to discipline yourself to use the allotted time to work on your current WIP.

When you’re working, caring for your family and managing your other responsibilities, finding time to write can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. After all, your dream is worth the effort.

***

LisaJordanHeadshotMarried over twenty years to her real-life hero, Lisa Jordan knows a thing or two about romance. She and her husband have two college-aged sons. By day, Lisa is an early childhood educator, operating her in-home childcare business. By night, she writes contemporary Christian novels for Love Inspired. Her debut novel, Lakeside Reunion, won the 2012 Carol Award for short contemporary romance. She is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such. Visit Lisa at www.lisajordanbooks.com.

Marketing Via Video Part 2: Video Ideas & Tips

Interest piqued by last week’s post on why you should consider adding videos to your author marketing strategy? Suh-weet. Today’s post is for you! (For the video-phobes, it’s okay. Simply put, not every marketing strategy is for everybody. In which case, see you next week!)

Today I’d like to offer some ideas for videos you might create to support your author platform. And I’m sure I’m just barely touching the tip of the proverbial ice berg, so if you have more ideas to add, throw ‘em at me in the comments!

Welcome video: This is something I’ve seen on a lot of author websites. Consider creating a welcome video for your home page or your “About Me” page with a brief intro of yourself. Be witty, be fun, be you.

  1. Why I wrote this book: It’s always fun to hear why authors wrote their book, and this is a great idea regardless of whether you’re published.
  2. Character spotlights: Author Katie Ganshert did something really neat around the release of her second book, Wishing on Willows. She created short videos talking about her main characters. It was a fun glimpse into who her story revolved around.
  3. Setting spotlights: In the same vein, author and MBT Skills Coach Beth Vogt created videos around the release of her book, Wish You Were Here, about the various settings in her book. In fact, she filmed the videos on location!
  4. Book banter: Do you review books? Consider doing video reviews. You can post them on your website, yes, but did you know Amazon.com also allows video reviews?
  5. Answer reader questions: If you’re a published author or a blogger with a steady readership, consider asking your readers to send in questions…then answer the questions on video.
  6. Behind-the-scenes: We all know writers are a bit wacky, right? Why not give us a peek into the “behind-the-scenes” of your story. Show us your writing space or your tell us about a funny research trip experience.
  7. Join forces: Google Hangout, Skype and other programs make it super simple to connect with others via video-call…and it’s possible to record your calls. So, why not interview a fellow author? Or host a panel? Or simply find a fun and engaging friend, join forces and entertain your viewers.

Again, these are just a few ideas to get you started. The goal is simply to engage with your readers. Now, a few tips:

  • Don’t worry about having perfect lighting, perfect hair, perfect everything. Just be you.
  • That said, if you can avoid a glare from windows, that’s great.
  • Stay brief. This is a biggie. I’ll be honest and say most of the time, if a vlog stretches longer than five minutes, I don’t make it through it. I’ve seen some articles recommend staying within 2-3 minutes. I’m sure there are caveats to that depending on the purpose of your video, but for the most part, people tend to have short attention spans. Often they’re checking out your blog on the go, maybe even on their phones. So, brief is generally better.
  • If possible, position your web cam slightly above eye level. It’s much more flattering than looking down at the camera!
  • Start a YouTube channel. (Or Vimeo, if you prefer.) That way all your videos are in one place. YouTube makes it incredibly easy to share your videos across a variety of social media platforms.
  • Remember to look at your web cam. It’s tempting to watch yourself talk on the screen. 🙂
  • If vlogging, include some notes below your video for anyone who may not be able to watch your video.

I hope you find this helpful! If you’re interested in hearing more about creating videos or even the specifics of things like starting a YouTube channel, posting a video to YouTube, embedding video html, please feel free to let me know and I’ll cover it in a future One Thing Marketing post. Just leave a comment below or shoot me an email.

***
Tagg_Melissa_028--4Melissa Tagg is a former reporter turned romantic comedy author. Her debut novel, Made to Last, releases from Bethany House in September 2013. In addition to her nonprofit day job, she’s also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy. Connect with Melissa at www.melissatagg.com and on Facebook and Twitter (@Melissa_Tagg).