Member Monday: Timeless Advice for the Story Writer by Steve Callan

Welcome back to Member Monday.  We kick off our September theme “A Lesson Learned” with a piece of advice from member Steve Callan.  Steve is the author of Badges, Bears, and Eagles.  Steve will be signing copies at the Chico Costco on Friday, September 6th from 10:00am to 4:00pm and again on Friday, September 13th at the  Redding Costco from 10:00am to 4:00pm.  You can also hear Steve’s author program and pick up a signed copy of his book at Sisson Museum in Mt. Shasta on Friday, September 20th at 7:00pm.

Timeless Advice for the Story Writer

by Steve Callan

Last spring, my wife and I enjoyed a week’s stay in a rustic historic cottage near Pacific Grove’s Lover’s Point.  Much to my delight, the cottage had a fabulous library, and amongst its treasures was a tiny paperback entitled Becoming a Writer.  The author was born in 1893 and died in 1948, the year I was born.   Her lessons are as relevant today as they were back in the early 1900s.  I was so taken by one particular paragraph that I copied it, freehand, and keep it nearby whenever I’m writing:

“But at the time of writing, nothing is more confusing than to have the alert, critical, over-scrupulous rational faculty at the forefront of your mind.  The tormenting doubts of one’s own ability, the self-conscious muteness that drops like a pall over the best story ideas, come from consulting the judge in one’s self at the moment when it is the story teller’s turn to be in the ascendant.  It is not easy at first to inhibit the running verdicts on every sentence, almost every word that is written, but once the flow of the story has well set in, the critical faculty will be content to wait its turn.” -Dorothea Brande (1893 to 1948)

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