Guest Post: Storytelling, and Editing, is About Intent

Manuscript THE ALTERED I

Today I have the honor of sharing a guest post from Krystal Pyatt, one of the editors of Pypeline Editing. When people find out that I wrote and book and it was published the response I often hear is how they, too, would love to write something. That is terrific, I say in reply. But, often these starry eyed dreamers have little idea of what the writing process is all about and how crucial having a clear goal is to a finished, and polished work. Critical too, is the editing process. Few realize what effort goes into making that writing project sparkle and glow off the page. Here to give a glimpse into what objectives you, as the writer, should take into consideration when mapping our your story is Krystal.

 

Storytelling, and Editing, is About Intent

 

Writing is a magical thing. It is the activity where you place on paper ideas, stories and lessons. It is the ultimate way to share knowledge with others and even generations. To read it is to be entranced, immersed, captivated. If you do not believe in the magic of books, then you may not have found the right ones yet.

That being said, I can think of a few books that have failed to become anything magical. Perhaps it was the writer, the concept or even the editing—or maybe it was a combination of all of the above. Anyone reading this blog may have a few stories in mind as well that did not meet expectations.

The good news, intent can impact everything. Tweet That!

Writing is the process to dump all of your ideas and place the contents in your head to that of your story. However, having intent, having a purpose, can greatly impact the success of any book.

Free writing is important; some of the most creative ideas can come from free writing. However, having a clear intent, a clear message, a clear purpose when writing, can make sure the story moves in a particular direction. This can make it so the story is cohesive to the point of excellence. The reader will lack nothing in terms of the story and, in fact, the reader will be treated like an ally rather than an opponent. They will be in on the secrets of your world, they will be privy to foreshadowing even the characters do not know and the readers will then stay along for the ride, even if it is a torturous one for the beloved characters.

Intent extends to editing as well. In fact, this is when intent shines. It is valuable for each and every author to then ask themselves important questions while editing.

  • From the writing stage, what is the overall purpose of the story?
  • Does the chapter apply to that larger goal?
  • Does the character apply to that larger goal?
  • Does the event apply to that larger goal?
  • Is there anything missing the reader would not know?
  • Are you going in chronological order or is the timeline intentional at least?
  • Does the ending serve its purpose?
  • Is there too much going on?
  • Is everything clear and concise?
  • Are the words strong enough to convey the necessary emotions?

At the end of the day, the story should be a pleasure to read, not painful. The way to accomplish this it ensure, through the editing process, that every word, every punctuation mark and every page contribute to that purpose. Editing helps you cut out the excess content, albeit painful at times.

So, decide your intent and set sail. Create the masterpiece readers will find magical.

 

Author: Krystal Pyatt from Pypeline Editing

Pypeline Editing is a local editing firm in Reno, Nevada. Two editors work on every book. That’s two sets of eyes to ensure grammar problems and typos are completely eradicated. With copyediting, Pypeline Editing also offers professional insights in order to make each book ready for publishing using developmental suggestions.

 

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April Voytko Kempler is the author of The Altered I, a  memoir about Joseph Kempler’s Holocaust experiences. Joseph was sent to six different concentration camps throughout Poland and Austria between the ages of 14-17. His story can be found on Amazon and Google Play books. 

Altered I Sample-April Kempler

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The Risk of the Single Holocaust Story

reading - 5

Misunderstandings and preconceived ideas have been smacking me in the face lately. One such misunderstanding I feel I have to address is that of the notion that because we have such a plethora of Holocaust memoirs and stories to choose from, that we understand the Holocaust survivor, or who we think a Holocaust survivor is. These preconceived ideas might block our thinking and shut out any other stories about the Holocaust because perhaps it is controversial in nature.

Take for example The Altered I . This is the memoir of my father-in-law, Joseph Kempler. He survived, miraculously, six different concentration camps from the ages of fourteen to seventeen. There is a lot in his memoir about growing up Jewish, and many details about the brutal camp life, including after Liberation when people were put into Displaced Persons camps. But his memoir is also controversial from the front cover that has a bold swastika above a focused blue eye, to the last several chapters of the book. His isn’t the typical Holocaust story that we might be familiar with. And for this reason a reader might be shocked, taken aback, offended, and perhaps disenchanted with the story on the whole. (I’ve written another blog on the subject of one-star ratings and how an author copes with the inevitability of receiving one,  published on Pypeline Editing Blog Page. That’s not what this post is about, but I think it is related).

Many people were targets of the Nazi regime and were imprisoned for being considered enemies of the state, or in the case of some six million Jews who lost their lives, considered sub-human. Who were targets of the Nazi regime?There were the Roma, the Intelligencia, homosexuals, people with disabilities, Poles, Slavs, and other groups the Nazis hated. But Joe’s story touches on another group who were victims of the Nazis, these were Jehovah’s Witnesses. Joseph Kempler was raised Jewish, then as a result of his experiences in the camps he became a self-proclaimed God-hater, but later, in the 1950s, he became dedicated as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This was shocking to fellow Jews because this was was viewed as a traitorous act. Others who read Joseph’s memoir are surprised and made unhappy because of their preconceived ideas about who Jehovah’s Witnesses are. This isn’t about liking Jehovah’s Witnesses or becoming a Jehovah’s Witness, or any kind of recruitment for that particular religion. This is simply one man’s story of survival and why he made the decisions he did in order to survive. Joseph Kempler’s story is one of faith lost and faith regained, an account that might not fit into the stereotypical Holocaust story.

There is not just one type of Holocaust story, just as there is not one type of story about another person’s culture, background, or lifestyle. Tweet this!

I was inspired to write this post by the wise words of author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose early writing reflected the British and American children’s books and stories she had read and loved, which predominantly centered around Western culture and that world view. The settings and characters were alien to her, a Nigerian girl raised in Africa. She ultimately found her writing voice and realized she needed to put to rest preconceived ideas and misconceptions about Africa and its people. And after listening to her Ted Talk I felt that she expressed it so beautifully, and more elegantly than I could do that I’m sharing it in this post. I hope that some readers will take eighteen minutes and listen to it and be inspired as I was.

“If we hear only a single story about another person, or country we risk a critical misunderstanding.” -Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.html

Originally I saw Ms. Adichies Ted Talk on Books Outside the Box Blog Post

The Altered I: Memoir of Joseph Kempler, Holocaust Survivor is available from Amazon  in paperback and Kindle format and digital download on Google Play books.