“When I am reading a book, whether wise or silly, it seems to me to be alive and talking to me.”
Storytelling is not just for book writers. When as a blogger, you think about ‘how to grow my blog,’ then remember that a great blog needs great stories. And certainly, vlogs too must have enjoyable stories based on well-structured scripts.
I have compiled here completely free storytelling resources for authors, which you can also use to polish your book or blog. You can even use these writing resources to fine-tune your YouTube vlog script – after all a vlog is all about storytelling, right?
Instead of curating a list of new-fangled tools, in this post, I have extracted storytelling wisdom from masters such as R. L. Stevenson and Shakespeare.
I hope you enjoy and learn from this unusual curation.
How to Compose a Great Story
Composition is the art by which ideas and mental impressions are conveyed in written language. And you do need to learn the techniques of this art – composition – before you wield your pen.
If a writer desires to impress, to move, to arouse; if he wants to be the creator of the imagination by which he aims to touch the emotions of his fellow-men, he cannot too carefully cultivate the art of communicating it.
In any of these cases mastery of literary technique is as essential to success as is air to breathing or light to seeing.
This book is full of stories which inspire us. Here is an example.
Robert Louis Stevenson, that beautiful master of words, has also told us how he trained himself to that dexterity and grace which have been the delight of so great a company of readers: “All through my boyhood and youth, I was known and pointed out for a pattern of an idler; and yet I was always busy on my own private end, which was to learn to write. I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in. As I walked, my mind was busy fitting what I saw with appropriate words; when I sat by the roadside, I would either read, or a pencil and a penny version-book would be in my hand to note down the features of the scene or commemorate some halting stanzas. Thus, I lived with words. And what I wrote thus was for no ulterior use. It was written consciously for practice.”
Unlike other books which talk about writing from a purely technical viewpoint, Arlo Bates shares real world perspectives on how to make your writing shine.
As an example, Arlo shares the different aspects of structure such as unity, mass and coherence and gives examples of written works which did not follow these rules of structure. The surest way to grow your blog is by making it easy to read by having a logical structure.
This book will train your perception to feel the variations which result from altering words, sentences and paragraphs in your book or blog post.
Talks on Writing English. First Series by Arlo Bates: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/47494
Common Mistakes in English Writing
Great stories are those which are easily readable. And, to make your stories readable, you need to avoid the grammatical errors in your writing.
This is a giant book of mistakes in English writing and reading. My initial thought was that this is a laundry list of basic mistakes but so wrong was I!
Here are some examples.
“It is an error; you are mistaken:” say, you mistake. Mistaken means misapprehended; “you mistake,” means “you misapprehend.”
“John and Henry both read well, but John is the best reader:” say, the better reader, as best can be properly used only when three or more persons, or objects, are compared.
Five Hundred Mistakes of Daily Occurrence in Speaking, Pronouncing, and Writing: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/31766
Avoiding Vulgarism in Your Stories
Modern storytelling is full of four letter words. But truly great storytelling does not rely on vulgarism.
The author has attempted to bring together in this little volume the principles which should govern conversation among persons of true refinement of mind and character, and to point out some of the most common and easily besetting vulgarisms occurring in the colloquial English of our country and day.
How nice a world it would be if every blogger would read this book and follow its advice!
As an example, would you disagree with the following advice?
“Evil speaking, slander, detraction, gossip, scandal, are different names for one of the chief dangers to be guarded against in conversation; and you are doing much towards defending yourselves against it by the generous mental culture which you enjoy in this seminary. The demon of slander loves an empty house. A taste for scandal betrays a vacant mind.”
Conversation: Its Faults and Its Graces by Andrew P. Peabody: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/34863
Interesting Ideas about Writing
How the world of storytelling has changed in the last 100 years! This book, which is really a magazine published more than 100 years back, is full of interesting ideas about writers and writing.
The author of the book ponders on whether the best writers actually write. Here is what Gertrude says, when asked why she did not write: “I am convinced that the best writers (of course, with notable exceptions) are the people who never write, who could bring to the field varied experience, the results of travel, thought, and cultivation, but who are driven away by the knowledge that the wolf will have them if they attempt it.”
Here is another homily: “When I see a young man of talent enter the field of letters, I conclude he is like a man about to marry, either a great hero or a great fool.”
Here is an interesting review of a travel book:” “In Foreign Lands” is a pleasantly-written volume descriptive of European travel, and tells, in an interesting way, the experiences of a delightful summer journey.”
In those days, advertising of a noble work like a book was not commonplace. Here is some news from the editor of this book, N. H. Wyndham, on how to promote your book: “It was proposed by a recent contributor to The Writer that authors should advertise their wares, like other manufacturers. During the “Robert Elsmere” craze, a few years ago, a certain soap manufacturing company advertised a cake of soap to be given as an inducement with every copy of her book.”
Robert Elsmere is a novel by Mrs. Humphry Ward published in 1888. It was immediately successful, quickly selling over a million copies and gaining the admiration of the literary giants of those times like Henry James. Mrs. Ward is often credited with being the first author in the world who exploited the full power of advertising to market her books.
The Writer, Volume VI, April 1892. by Various: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/26128
Lessons on Writing from Shakespeare
How about a tutorial from the greatest storyteller our planet has known?
The Tempest is the last – and utterly odd – play written by Shakespeare. Did he write this play after hearing of a boating accident and some deserted sailors on an island? Or was it just a figment of his imagination? There is so much mystery surrounding the Tempest.
Another literary giant – Rudyard Kipling – seeks to dispel the myths and magic around The Tempest. Kipling even claims in this book to have identified the enchanted island which Shakespeare wrote about.
This book reads like a long essay, and I am afraid it is not one of Kipling’s captivating works. It’s a difficult read at best (I am trying not to call it boring). But considering the fact that you are getting it free, you might as well poke into a bit. Perhaps the Bard can inspire you to belt out your 2000 words today.
How Shakespeare Came to Write the Tempest by Rudyard Kipling: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/32991
Punctuation Makes Your Writing Crisp, Clear and Beautiful
Punctuation can make your stories come alive. But do you really know punctuation? You undoubtedly know that a point of interrogation (aka question mark) is usually placed at the end of a sentence: e.g., “Where are you going, my pretty maid?”
Here’s a trick question – Can you put a point of interrogation in the middle of a sentence?
The following little poem clearly illustrates that the answer is a resounding yes. In many cases it will be a matter of individual taste where you put the question mark.
Oh! why should Hymen ever blight The roses Cupid wore? Or why should it be ever night Where it was day before? Or why should women have a tongue, Or why should it be cursed, In being, like my Second, long, And louder than my First?
Punctuation makes your writing crisp, clear and beautiful. This book on ‘how to punctuate’ is a must-read for every blogger, vlogger, author and poet.
“Stops”, Or How to Punctuate by Paul Allardyce: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/20938
In addition to spell-check available in every writing app (e.g. MS Word and Google Docs), there are two revolutionary tools available today for writer.
The first is the free writing assistant, Grammarly (https://www.grammarly.com/) which detects most of the common grammar and punctuation errors and suggests corrections. It takes care of Punctuation, Capitalization, Spelling, Division of Words, Indention, Spacing, Italics, Abbreviations, Accents and much more.
Grammarly is like a swiss knife for self-published authors – and is doing to grammar, what calculators did to multiplication tables. Now self-published authors can do much of the proof-reading with the help of this incredibly useful tool.
Keep in mind however, proof-reading is more than just basic Spelling & Grammar. Proofreading also includes examining your writing for proper nouns, verb tenses, sentence structure, formatting, consistency, idioms, and overall flow. For all this you still need an educated human being to go through your book.
The synonym feature in MS Word, or the online thesaurus (https://www.thesaurus.com/) is another amazing tool for writers.
Hearing someone speak with a limited vocabulary, or reading a book in which the author uses the same words again and again is so boring. I use the synonym feature in both MS Word and the online thesaurus to keep my writing fresh for readers.
While these tools – spell-check, Grammarly, thesaurus – bring artificial intelligence to make your writing elegant, you do need to know the >basic principles of storytelling.
Unless you are an English major, I can bet that you have forgotten everything Miss Marple taught you in your Grade 5 class. The is a book for adult writers and it is undoubtedly worth a read through. It is a great refresher on good, crisp writing. You will be able to exploit the writing tools such as Grammarly better if you yourself have a good handle on the basics of writing.
The Writer’s Desk Book by William Dana Orcutt: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/54025
How can you get your listeners engrossed in your stories? By making your stories short! I have heard this simple advice from the masters so many times, and yet for new authors, brevity seems to be the most difficult thing to accomplish in their writing.
I have read so many books which have marvellous plots and mesmerizing characters and yet they end up being dreary, simply because of their excessive length.
Every great writer has offered this advice to budding authors, “cut your work mercilessly.” But we never follow this advice, not because we are enamored of what we have written, but because we don’t know how to be succinct. It is so easy to ramble on garrulously.
Most of us don’t know how to abstract our lengthy prose into a concise, writing without sacrificing its beauty. All of us, including me, certainly need a course on précis writing. Every self-published author can benefit from a refresher course on précis writing.
What is a précis? A précis is the essence of a longer story of any kind. You take your story and ‘boil it down’, so as to get rid of all the parts that do not really matter; you then collect what is left, and put these points together in a short concise ‘summary’. But the result must not be a ‘list’ of important points, or a series of ‘jottings’. It must be the same story told clearly and readably, in a very much condensed form.
The object of this little book is to teach précis writing using exercises which are progressive such that the rules of précis writing are learnt one by one.
Here is a tip from the book: “All précis, whether easy or difficult, should be tackled in the same way. First read the whole thing through very carefully without writing any notes or underlining any passages. All depends on this first reading. For if you once get into the way of writing your précis or even making notes ‘as you go along’, you will never grasp the subject as a whole. And the result will be that your précis will lack balance. Either you will write too much about the first half and skimp the rest, or you will write a great deal about the picturesque points that appeal to you, and leave out things that really matter. When you have read it carefully through, and got the whole story in your mind, run through it quickly a second time marking the passages you mean to use.
For the purposes of this book the best plan will be to underline in pencil those passages which will have to be used with little alteration, and to put a wavy line against those which cannot be left out altogether, but must be greatly condensed. Last, work up all the marked passages into a short continuous ‘story’”.
The exercises chosen in this book are crazy funny – e.g. experiments with monkeys. Even though this book is meant for high school kids, I would strongly recommend that you try out some of these exercises yourself.
Précis writing for beginners by Guy Noel Pocock: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/53680
How to Create Great Content for Your Stories
Do you want to start a successful blog or vlog? Do you want to create great content for your website or your author platform? This book gives you the pro tips for creating great content which your visitors will love and share.
The book talks about special feature articles. A special feature article is the forerunner of the modern vlogs and blogs. While at first glance this book may seem academic and old-fashioned, its wisdom has the power to catapult your blog to the top. Instead of shallow tips compiled from various places, this book packs meat and potatoes.
What are the essential ingredients for writing a high-quality blog post?
Here are some tips from the book for writing great content –
A special feature article may be defined as a detailed presentation of facts in an interesting form adapted to rapid reading, for the purpose of entertaining or informing the average person.
It usually deals with: (1) recent news that is of sufficient importance to warrant elaboration (2) timely or seasonal topics not directly connected with news (3) or subjects of general interest that have no immediate connection with current event.
Instead of thinking of readers as a more or less indefinite mass, the writer will find it advantageous to picture to himself real persons who may be taken as typical readers.
If, for example, an author is preparing an article for an agricultural journal, he must have in his mind’s eye an average farmer and this farmer’s family. Not only must he see them in their surroundings; he must try to see life from their point of view.
This book is a must read for all storytellers – modern bloggers, YouTubers and authors.
How to Write Special Feature Articles by Willard Grosvenor Bleyer: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/15718
Practical Tips on Storytelling
This book will certainly make you a better writer with its practical tips on writing. Here is an example.
“Do not halfway express an idea. If the idea is important, develop it. If it is not important, omit it.
Puzzling & Incomplete: Since McAndrew had inherited money, his suitcase was plastered with labels.
Right: Since McAndrew had inherited money, he had traveled extensively. His suitcase was plastered with the labels of foreign hotels.”
The Century Handbook of Writing by Garland Greever and Easley S. Jones: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/30294
Learn from the maestro himself. Robert Louis Stevenson tells us how he wrote his first book, the techniques he used and the challenges he faced and surmounted. An indispensable guide for anyone who writes anything – blogs, books or vlog scripts. Essays in the Art of Writing by Robert Louis Stevenson: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/492
“How to make your own glistening black ink, how to write with gold on paper, and how to make luminous ink that will shine in the dark …” If you are a vlogger with a passion for getting your hands dirty then this book is for you. Perhaps you can create a YouTube video based on some of these intriguing tryouts!
A Select Collection of Valuable and Curious Arts and Interesting Experiments by unknown writers: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/38067
Techniques for Writing Poetry
Consider this analogy. A tutorial on image processing will not transform you into a creative graphic artist, but you can use those techniques to unleash your creativity so much more easily. So, though this section is about poetry writing, I think all storytellers will find value in it.
The book, Practical Guide to English Versification by Tom Hood, does not assume to be a handbook for poets, or a guide to poetry. The attempt to compile such a book as is implied by either of those titles would be as absurd as pretentious. All, therefore, that this book aims to teach is vithe art of Versification.
Versification and Logic are to Poetry and Reason what a parapet is to a bridge: they do not convey you across, but prevent you from falling over.
Verse is but the A B C of Poetry, and the student must learn his alphabet correctly. However, this book is not just for poets, since there is much real poetry that is not in verse, and a vast deal of verse that is not poetry.
I found this book especially interesting as I did not have a course in versification in high school. We read and interpreted poetry and learned to appreciate the great poets – but we did not have lessons on how to compose poems. I hope you enjoy this book and perhaps the knowledge in this book will infuse your social media posts with an additional degree of beauty and elegance.
Practical Guide to English Versification by Tom Hood: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/51873
How to Write Great Fiction
Do you write fiction? I have read so many books in which the author meanders through the story, without a sense of direction. Perusing through those books, I felt as if I was listening to a gabby grandma, rather than reading a story which is building towards a definite climax.
I strongly believe in the maxim that good technique, makes extraordinary art.
Inspiration and plot only can do so much. You also need to master the storytelling techniques such as construction and character description.
This book on fiction writing techniques is gold, if you have the persistence to dig through it. It is written in academic style and will tax your patience – but I strongly recommend it to every self-published author.
As an example, the chapter ‘Constructive Technique of Narration,” emphasizes that the major and minor events of the story, and their proportions are as important as the plot itself. The author explains that starting with the bare story, a succession and progression of events, should be planned and built up before writing.
The Technique of Fiction Writing by Robert Saunders Dowst: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/32092
Common Writing Gaffes
A giant list of common writing gaffes. Here is an example enjoining us to avoid big words – “Banquet. A good enough word in its place, but its place is the dictionary. Say, dinner.” This book is certainly worthy of being in your reference library. Write It Right:
A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults by Ambrose Bierce: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/12474
Common Writing Pitfalls
An introduction to the basics of figurative language and common writing pitfalls to avoid: How to Speak and Write Correctly by Joseph Devlin: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/6409
The Writer’s Desk Book
Interesting rules of writing from the old world – capitalization (e.g. do not capitalize god, when referring to a pagan deity), spelling (e.g. same pronunciation but different spelling leads to different meanings, for example coquet vs coquette. The former means to trifle in love, while the latter means to flirt). The Writer’s Desk Book by William Dana Orcutt: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/54025
Phrases to Electrify Your Storytelling
I wish I had found this book years back. A true gem for every writer, blogger, vlogger.
The phrases are from the old world, but they have the ability to electrify your blog and vlog script and make it stand out from everyone else. Together with a thesaurus and a dictionary, everybody who writes anything should have a phrase book handy to add spice to his or her writing.
Putnam’s Phrase Book by Edwin Hamlin Carr: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/48441
Inspired by Putnam’s phrase book, I searched for and also found an online phrase book: https://www.phrases.org.uk/phrase-thesaurus/search/index.html
How to Write Short Stories
How to write short stories (includes tips for plots, climaxes and more): A Practical Treatise on the Art of the Short Story – Short Story Writing by Charles Raymond Barrett: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/20526
How to Write Perfect Business Letters
The examples in this book are a bit dated, but the wisdom is timeless. Here is an extract – In the body of a business letter the opening sentence is in an important position, and this is obviously the place for an important fact. It ought in some way to state or refer to the subject of or reason for the letter, so as to get the attention of the reader immediately to the subject. It ought also to suggest a courteous personal interest in the recipient’s business, to give the impression of having to do with his interests.
For instance, a reader might be antagonized by “Yours of the 14th regarding the shortage in your last order,” so wouldn’t it be more tactful to write, “We regret to learn from your letter of March 14th that there was a shortage in your last order.” How to Write Letters (Formerly The Book of Letters) by Mary Owens Crowther: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/22222
How to Conduct Interviews for your Blog or Vlog
If you are a blogger or YouTuber you would get helpful tips on the differences in approach for posts about sports, society, feature stories and crime.
The vloggers and bloggers of today are reporters in another guise and this book would benefit everyone who is looking for a quick but very comprehensive overview of how to conduct interviews, the different kinds of news reports and more.
News Writing by M. Lyle Spencer: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/30765
The author says, “The first week of a reporter’s work is generally the most nerve-racking of his journalistic experience,” and this remains true even today.
Fascinating Biographies of Illustrious Writers
How can you compete with someone who, “when he was only ten years old he wrote a tract on the soul?” The solemnity of the writers of yesteryears puts us to shame for sure.
This book is a collection of fascinating biographies of some of the illustrious writers of a bygone age.
The Mentor: American Pioneer Prose Writers, by Hamilton Wright Mabie: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/51731
Book Publishers vs Book Authors
The editor of this book came across the manuscript in “my state-room after a violent storm, during a long and dangerous sea-voyage… and the name of the author was missing.”
The nameless writer shares a fascinating perspective on the unceasing conflict between authors and publishers, “the publisher has been looked upon as a species of Wantley dragon, whose daily food was the brain and blood of hapless writers, while the author has been considered an eternal child in all that relates to practical business matters, and a terrible child at that.”
A Battle of the Books, recorded by an unknown writer for the use of authors and publishers: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/54380
How to Write Music
Is it not reasonable to expect that a musician shall be at least an accurate and legible writer as well as a reader of the language of his Art? The immense increase in the amount of music published, and its cheapness, seem rather to have increased than decreased this necessity.
Many performers will play or sing a note at sight without hesitation, which, asked to write, they will first falter over and then bungle—at least by writing it at the wrong octave.
How to Write Music: Musical Orthography by Clement A. Harris: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/37281
Tips on Great Playwriting
This book is a collection of wisdom from some of the greatest playwrights in the world.
You will find advice on how to write, “Soak your fifth act in gentle tears, and salt the other four with dashes of wit.”
The book also includes candid counsel on how to make money writing, “How should one set about composing a dramatic work which shall succeed and make money? Nothing is known about it; for if anything were known every theater would earn six thousand francs every evening.”
How to Write a Play by William Gillette and Dudley H. Miles: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/18230
How to Write Clearly
This book has a huge laundry list of dos and don’ts to make your writing and, conversation better.
Here is an example: Do not introduce literal statement immediately after Metaphor as in this sentence: “He was the father of Chemistry, and brother to the Earl of Cork”.
How to Write Clearly: Rules and Exercises on English Composition by Abbott: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/22600
Story Writing Ideas
How do you find ideas for your YouTube vlogs? Perhaps, you are like the author of this book who says, “I have to lie awake o’nights longing and hoping for inspirations that oft-times are slow to come. But when they do come, what a delight!”
How I write my novels, by Mrs. Hungerford: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/27621
The Art of (Bad) Writing
The author writes that, “All lectures are too long,” and I find this to be too true for his own lectures in this book. I included this book in this list as an example of the kind of writing which will drive away your visitors. On the Art of Writing by Arthur Quiller-Couch: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/17470
Writing Effective Call to Action
You should never end your book, blog or vlog without a clear call to action. Here’s a book which teaches you how to write action generating calls to action.
At first glance this book may seem as an ancient treatise. But on closer reading we realize that the guidance it contains is as applicable today as it was two hundred years back; whether you are writing a letter, a blog post or a vlog script, this book will change your game.
Here is an example how this book remains relevant today. How many times have you ended a YouTube video with a lame and vague wrap-up? Consider the following extract from this book:
“Ending a letter with a participial phrase, weakens the entire effect of the letter. This is particularly true of a business letter. Close with a clear-cut idea.
The following endings will illustrate the ineffective participle:
Hoping to hear from you on this matter by return mail.
Assuring you of our wish to be of service to you in the future.
More effective endings would be:
Please send a remittance by return mail.
If we can be of use to you in the future, will you let us know?”
This is a clear example that a strong ending – aka call to action, in modern lingo – is a must-have in any letter, blog post or vlog.
The book is full of such treasures, which might seem basic – but if you do an honest introspection, you will realize that you have been guilty of not following the basics in your online endeavors. It is so easy for us to dismiss some words of advice as being text-bookish, and then complain that our vlogs do not attract any subscribers. Use the ageless wisdom in this book to reinvent your vlog today!
How to Write Letters (Formerly, The Book of Letters) by Mary Owens Crowther: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/22222
Examples of Letters by Famous People
The history and art of letter writing, including examples of letters written by famous people: A Letter Book by George Saintsbury: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/31072
How to Market Your Book
The book includes writing tips including priceless wisdom on how to market your works. The writer’s words fill us with optimism, “I declare that the demand for worth-while articles always exceeds the supply in American magazine markets. None the less it is true, as every editor knows to his constant sorrow.” If You Don’t Write Fiction by Charles Phelps Cushing: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/26557
“When about to put your words in ink, ‘Twill do no harm to stop and think.”
Today we communicate using terse, ludicrous acronyms in bursts of knee-jerk reactions which makes the advice about “thinking before speaking” seem quaint. Does it mean that tactful communication is an archaic extravagance?
If you believe that the answer is no, then I think you will enjoy scanning through the book. When you come across advice such as this, “In giving instructions to agents, manufacturers and others, let each order occupy a separate paragraph,” you will realize that though it may seem bookish intelligence, many of us are so guilty of not following commonsensical advice like this. Have you not seen letters and writings either jammed up in one large mass, or meaninglessly broken down into unrelated chunks? I certainly believe that no self-published author would be worse off after reading this book.
Apart from the practical examples, the old-timers also had a sense of humor which is evident by the inclusion of this letter in the book.
The following letter in “babu” English, composed by a graduate of Calcutta University is reproduced here:
“To Babu Kaly Churan Ghose, Paternal Father of Miss Churan Ghose. Dear Sir:—It is with faltering penmanship that I write to have communication with you about the prospective condition of your damsel offspring. For remote time past secret passion has firing my bosom internally with loving for your daughter.
I have traveled all channels in the magnitude of my extensive jurisdiction cruelly to smother the growing love-knot that is being constructed within my inside, but the timid lamp of my affection, trimmed by Cupid’s productive hands still nourishes my love-sickened breast.
Needless would it be for me to numerically extemporize the great conflagration that has generated in my head and heart. During the region of nightness my intellectual cranium has been entangled in thoughtful attitude for my beloved consort. Nocturnal slumberlessness has been the infirmity which has besieged my now degenerate constitution.
My educational abilities have abandoned me, and now I cling to those lovely long tresses for your much coveted daughter like mariner shipwrecked on rock of love.
As to my scholastic calabre, I was recently ejected from Calcutta University. I am now masticating and will make a motion as soon as I can perceive the business of life a little laxative.
I am of lofty and original lineage and independent incomes and hoping that having debated proposition in your pregnant mind you will concordantly corroborate in espousing your female progeny to my tender bosom and thereby acquire me into your family circle as yours faithful son-in-law.
Moti Lall Chatterjee.”
Can a letter like this fail to win over the most stone-hearted prospective father-in-law? Though it is hilariously funny, no-one can ignore the passion which is dripping from every sentence.
Good writing is a bit like wearing a suit when everyone else is wearing gym clothes. People may find laugh at you, but the risk of your being seen as incompetent is seriously minimized. Almost anyone can look good in a suit. On the other hand, to look good gym wear, you got to have the physique to go with it.
I would highly recommend that self-published authors explore and learn from traditional techniques, and tread carefully when breaking rules of writing.
Business, Family and Social Correspondence Love-Letters, Etiquette, Synonyms Legal Forms – The New Century Standard Letter-Writer by Alfred B. Chambers: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/56911
Quaintly Worded Phrases
If you are looking for a collection of quaintly worded letters for sundry occasions, then this book is for you. In all probability most of these occasions will not arise in your life, e.g., “Letter from a Father to his Son, who has been complaining of the Severity of his Master,” – for better or worse, today’s masters do not cane their students.
Here is an example of a letter from a heartbroken sailor to his beloved:
“Dearest, Days have passed by now since we have had the pleasure of a few moments’ conversation even; how these hours have dragged their slow pace along you and I alone can tell. It is only when we are left to the peaceful enjoyment of our own society that time flies. I send a few flowers, but I imagine you will only wear one, the rose in your hair; your sister is always pleased with a bouquet, so I shall not be very angry if you let her have them, only wear my rose. Your own Edward.”
If nothing else, these letters make interesting reading.
The Gentleman’s Model Letter-writer by Anonymous: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/38235
Letter-Writing by Lewis Carroll
This book on letter writing from the author of “Alice in Wonderland,” is a must read for every kid and every adult. Here is a nugget of wisdom from the book, “don’t fill more than a page and a half with apologies for not having written sooner!” Eight or Nine Wise Words about Letter-Writing by Lewis Carroll: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/38065
Photoplay: A Goldmine for Vloggers
A photoplay is a story told largely in pantomime by players, whose words are suggested by their actions, assisted by certain descriptive words thrown on the screen, and the whole produced by a moving-picture machine. Note especially the ageless words of wisdom about marketing yourself: “Keep up your output. Do not write one story, send it out, and then wait patiently for its return, or for the editor’s check. Plan a new story, write it, and send it out. Then plan another and follow the same course. Photoplay marketing is a business, and a business man is usually “on the job” six days a week.” These words of advice apply to every situation including self-published writers. Do not just write one book and expect to become wealthy. As soon as you finish writing one book, you need to start on another book. The writers who make money are those who have a large ‘portfolio’ of books in the marketplace. Writing the Photoplay by J. Berg Esenwein and Arthur Leeds: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/17903
Storytelling Resources on the Internet
The Amazing Story Template:https://www.zavesti.com/tell-your-amazing-story/
Did you know that there are storytelling festivals? Here’s a list of 10 storytelling festivals: http://www.brandanew.co/10-storytelling-festivals-you-must-attend-in-2016/
A Review of Prose and Poetry Writers
A critical study of prose and poetry writers, this book is a bit dry and heavy, but by no means uninteresting.
What I loved was how candid Leslie Stephen was in reviewing those writers – e.g., “How could a man of real power write such unendurable stuff?”
Together with the thoughts of past writers, the author also shares his own perspectives, “The keen sensibility which makes a man a poet, undoubtedly exposes him to certain types of disease. He is more likely than his thick-skinned neighbor to be vexed by evil, and to be drawn into distorted views of life by an excess of sympathy or indignation.”
Hours in a Library, Volume 2 by Leslie Stephen: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/30336
The Best Short Stories Ever Written
This book contains some of the finest examples of short stories ever written. The short-story commenced its career, as Robert Louis Stevenson puts it, with “the first men who told their stories round the savage camp-fire.” Today storytelling is considered the key to success for everyone, whether you are a corporate presenter or a YouTube vlogger. The Great English Short-Story Writers, Vol. 1, by Various: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10135
Travel Writing at its Best
When my friends return from their expensive vacation and I ask them about it, they have a hard time putting together three sentences about their trip.
On the other hand, the author shows how you can keep your readers spellbound with something so simple as a description of your visit to your neighborhood church. This book is an inspiration for illustrators as well as travel bloggers and YouTubers: The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon by Washington Irving: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2048
Here are two more books for you to learn the art of great travel blogging or vlogging.
Travel blogging at its best: Three Years in Europe: Places I Have Seen and People I Have Met by Brown: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/15830
The Jungle Fugitives: A Tale of Life and Adventure in India by Ellis should serve as an inspiration to every travel blogger: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/16805
How to Write Adult Fantasy and Erotica
The Enchanted Typewriter by John Kendrick Bangs is an example of delicious and quirky adult fantasy writing: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3162
Erotica doesn’t get any better than this: Kamasutra: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/27827/27827-h/27827-h.htm
How to Write Mini Biographies h2>
Inspiring mini-biographies of early American writers: The Mentor: American Pioneer Prose Writers, by Hamilton Wright Mabie: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/51731
Creative Ways to Tell Your Story in a Memoir
When you are writing about your life, you do want people to be inspired and enjoy your writing, don’t you? Life writing is about making meaning of your experience in a way that connects with others.
Good writing comes from good reading, of course, and these stellar examples of immensely captivating memoirs would teach you the art of writing memoirs. You would see that a great memoir is about discovery – for you, the writer, AND for your readers.
Examples of well written, enjoyable memoirs which people would actually want to read:
A Writer’s Recollections — Volume 1 by Mrs. Humphry Ward: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/9820
A Writer’s Recollections — Volume 2 by Mrs. Humphry Ward: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/9821
Six Years in the Prisons of England by of London Frank Henderson: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/21284
I hope you have enjoyed these storytelling resources. Here are some bonus resources for authors and vloggers:
The Best Book Review Websites and Book Reviewers Directories: How I Got Ten Great Amazon Reviews in One Week: https://www.zavesti.com/the-best-book-review-websites-book-reviewers-ten-amazon-reviews-in-one-week/
How to Come Up with Amazing New Video Ideas for YouTube: The ONE & ONLY Strategy You Need: https://www.zavesti.com/how-to-come-up-with-amazing-new-video-ideas-for-youtube-the-one-only-strategy-you-need/
Grow Your YouTube Channel: The Vlog Toolkit: https://www.zavesti.com/vlog-planners-the-youtube-channel-toolkit/
My final resource is not free, but I think you would love it too. If you want to have a concise guide on blogging in your hands (or on your Kindle), you may want to check out the book, The Blogger Trailmap: How to Take Your Blog to the Next Level in Easy Steps: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07J5CN15W
As an author you can use the book “The Blogger Trailmap: How to Take Your Blog to the Next Level in Easy Steps,” to start your author platform. If you are a Vlogger you can exploit the tips in the book to plan content for your vlogs and grow your YouTube community. I wish you much success in whatever you plan.