Friday, May 3, 2013

Blog Tour, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Back Before Dark (Tim Shoemaker)

A detour through the park leads Cooper, Gordy, Hiro, and Lunk straight into a
trap, and Gordy is abducted! For the kidnapper, it's all a game, a way to settle an old score, with no one getting hurt. But evil has a way of escalating, and once his identity is discovered, the rules change. Despite the best of police efforts, the hours tick by without a clue or a ransom call, leaving everyone to their own fears. Gordy is gone. Cooper descends deeper into a living nightmare, imagining the worst for his best friend and cousin. Hours stretch into days, and talks of a memorial service begin to surface. But Cooper still feels his cousin is alive and develops a reckless plan, changing all the rules. Now the one who set out to rescue his friend needs to be rescued himself. Sometimes rescuing a friend from darkness means going in after them.

Happily married for more than thirty years to Cheryl, the love of my life.
Dad to three grown sons and two daughter-in-laws
Elder Chairman in my church and high school small group leader
Full time speaker and author since 2004
Living in the greater Chicago areaGrateful for God’s incredible grace and mercy to me in countless ways.



Is there such a thing as a formula for storytelling?

Yes, and no. There are formulas, yes, and elements of those formulas should be present in your stories. Let’s face it—many formulas work. They’re tried and tested. Great stories that move readers have been dissected to see what made them so powerful. The elements of these stories, and sequence of them have been used by other writers as a pattern or formula to write their own moving story. 

But if you work too closely with a formula—making sure you have everything just the way the formula outlines, your story may seem a bit too formulaic. Stiff. It may come across as a little cliche. Predictable.

We've all seen movies like that. As the story plays out, you pretty well know what’s going to happen—and when. We almost feel like we've seen the story before. And we have. The names have been changed—and the situation is different, but the story is very much the same. The story may follow the Hero’s Journey step-by-step, but it will often lack a sense of heart and realism it needs to really move the viewer.

Another danger of formulas is that our characters can become more like a cardboard cutout than a real person. Characters can fall into formulas, too. When that happens, we probably won’t bring our character development to the level it could have been, either. Shallow characters won’t likely move my readers deeply—which means the story won’t either. If my characters don’t move me—if I don’t laugh and cry as I’m writing—how can I expect it will move my readers?

When a story is planned out in advance in great detail, I think a writer has to work hard to be sure it doesn't come across a formulaic. When I’m writing, I don’t plan out much of the story in advance. I think it can come across as more real—provided my characters are real. The characters themselves will nudge the story in directions I wouldn't have considered when outlining the story in advance according to a formula. 

Formulas are important—but they should only be a starting point—not an ending point. I like using formulas as a double check—to make sure I’m not missing something important. To be sure I haven’t overlooked something. Formulas are important—but they are just tools to strengthen our writing. I think the powerful writing isn't glued to formulas as much as it comes from the heart of the writer.

Tour Schedule

May 1st Wednesday Interview & Review with Jean BookNerd

May 2nd Thursday Review & Spotlight Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace

May 3rd Friday Excerpt & Spotlight Best Books

May 3rd Friday Guest Post & Spotlight Curling up with a Good Book

May 4th Saturday Review & Spotlight The Reader Lines

May 4th Saturday Excerpt & Spotlight Tsk What to Read

May 5th Sunday Review & Spotlight with A Dream Within a Dream

May 6th Monday Interview & Spotlight with Pika Pages

May 6th Monday Music Playlist & Spotlight Annie Brewer Writes

May 7th Tuesday Review & Spotlight Paranormal Book Club

May 8th Wednesday This or That & Spotlight with Mom with a Kindle

May 9th Thursday Review & Spotlight with Confessions from Romaholics

May 10th Friday Review & Spotlight with Anatea’s Bookshelf

May 10th Friday Tens List & Spotlight with Ya-aholic

May 11th Saturday Review & Spotlight with Moosubi Reviews

May 11th Saturday Review & Spotlight with Bookster’s Cafe

May 12th Sunday Review & Spotlight with Must Read Faster

May 12th Sunday Review & Spotlight with Beneath the Cover

May 13th Monday Review & Spotlight with As You Wish Reviews

May 14th Tuesday Review & Spotlight with Tam’s Two Cents

May 15th Wednesday Review & Spotlight with Me, My Shelf and I

May 15th Wednesday Guest Post & Spotlight with Rose’s Book Corner

May 15th Wednesday Review & Spotlight with Bookville

May 16th Thursday Art work & Spotlight with James Vallesteros

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