Friday, February 19, 2010

Visual Storytelling with Michael Hauge

When working with new clients, or when visiting with participants at my lectures, I often ask writers why they want to be screenwriters or novelists. I always find it interesting that screenwriters often say, “I’m very visual,” but novelists never do. This seems to me kind of backwards.

I assume what these screenwriters actually mean is that they picture what we will see on the screen as we watch their movies. They think in terms of camera angles and shots and backgrounds. But these are not things screenwriters should be worrying about. Screenwriters are not so much “visual” storytellers; Screenwriters are storytellers who use only action and dialogue.

Certainly a screenwriter must briefly describe characters and settings. But screenplays are stories told primarily though the things the characters say and do. No omniscient narration, no interior thoughts or monologues, no author’s asides or commentary, and no character backstory (unless it’s in a flashback, a prologue, or dialogue). Movies are certainly visible – the characters must pursue visible goals and face visible obstacles – but the writing is not visual, in the sense of including every single thing we see on the screen.

Good novelists, on the other hand, must be visual writers, because the stories they tell are fully contained on the page. No one (unless it’s a graphic novel or children’s book) is going to come along and supply pictures to go with their words. So it falls to the author to envision what is happening in the story, and then to select the specific details of that setting and character and movement to write about – to create clear images in the mind of the reader.

So if you’re a screenwriter just focusing on what’s visual – you’re omitting the more important elements of your story: the invisible elements of your characters (fears, longings, inner conflicts and backstory); the desires of your hero and love interest and nemesis and best friend that drive the story forward and create the conflict for the hero; and the dialogue that will punctuate the action and reveal these invisible elements when the action alone cannot.

And if you’re a novelist and you’re not thinking visually – if you’re dwelling on thoughts and meanings and opinions and backstory and inner conflicts and dialogue and style – then you’re failing to create the vivid images in the readers’ minds that will draw them into the story you’re telling, enthrall them completely, and keep them turning the pages until they reach that last, powerful image.

Michael Hauge is a story consultant, author and lecturer who works with novelists, screenwriters, filmmakers and executives on their screenplays, film projects and development skills. He has coached writers, producers, stars and directors on projects for Will Smith, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez, Kirsten Dunst, Charlize Theron, Jada Pinkett Smith and Morgan Freeman, as well as for every major studio and network.

Michael is the best selling author of Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read, as well as Writing Screenplays That Sell, which is now in its thirty-fifth printing for HarperCollins, and is a definitive reference book for the film and television industries. A number of Michael's seminars, including The Hero's 2 Journeys with Christopher Vogler, are available on DVD and CD at bookstores nationwide, and through his web site below.

Michael has presented seminars and lectures to more than 40,000 participants throughout the US, Canada, Australia and Europe. He is on the Board of Directors of the American Screenwriters Association and the Advisory Board for Scriptwriter Magazine in London. He can be reached through his web site at

DVD 1: The Outer Journey: Explains the important structural principles that move any successful plot forward.

DVD 2: The Inner Journey: The deeper aspects that form the heart of the story. The Hero’s self is experienced or revealed.

DVD 3: The Journeys of Erin Brockovich

Bonus CD 4: Over 6 Hours of Bonus Audio! Michael Hauge’s Screenwriting For Hollywood and Chris Vogler’s Using Myth To Power Your Story

A note from Tina Russo Radcliffe:

I had the opportunity to hear Michael Hague speak at RWA in 2006. The topic was From Identity to Essence. It was his first RWA conference and the room was packed. I took notes as fast as I could but when the program was over I knocked over people in my rush to get to the front of the room to purchase the DVD of The Hero's Two Journeys by Michael and Christopher Vogler. Being a visual learner I can tell you this DVD has had a tremendous impact on my writing. I have since gone on to purchase all his instructional DVDs. These aren't writing tools that sit on your shelf and gather dust. I listen to his CDs in my iTouch constantly and watch the DVDs before starting any new project.

Today Michael has given us permission to share one of his short articles with Seekerville. Soak it all in because this is good stuff. Michael will also answer any questions you may have in another Seekerville post.

I also recommend you sign up for his monthly newsletter where he features articles and question and answers submitted by writers.

We will be drawing two names for a copy of The Hero's Two Journeys DVD sets. All you have to is post a comment on visual storytelling, or ask a question today. You must have a valid email address in your comment or a link back to your email address. Winners will be announced in the Weekend Edition.

More Articles from Michael Hauge:

Mastering Outer Motivation


Ten Simple Keys to Plot Structure

A final thank you to Marissa for coordinating this and Michael Hauge for donating a copy of The Hero's Two Journey's for today's giveaway in Seekerville.


KC Frantzen said...

Thank you Michael for sharing your expertise.

Do you suggest getting the story on paper, then returning to visualize later or does the visual perhaps spur on the story?

I look forward to hearing much more on this topic.

Winning some of your work would be great - please enter ksf895 at citlink dot net Thank you so much.

Hope all's well with everyone! Since I'm first, please help yourselves to the pea and celery salad (homemade). It's a little odd for breakfast I know but we had some leftover and it IS delicious early I can tell you... I think it's the fresh cilantro that does it. Or - save it as a side for lunch. (if there's any left!)

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Pea and Celery? Okay ...but lets go with coffee first.

I think i do visual storytelling already as I do see my stories as movie scenes in my head.

What about you?

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Re-reading Mastering Outer Motivation (using the link on the front page of the post) this morning gave me a key element I missed in the opening of my new book.

Stepping out of my zone and examining the hero's journey, I saw it plain as day and jumped back into the manuscript to add that defining layer.

Michael, you have a way of seeing and explaining that few possess, and it's a huge help. I find I entrench myself so deeply sometimes, I can't see the forest for the trees, but then a Michaelism or a Sandraism or a Tinaism (or yes, sometimes although I hate to admit this... a Maryism) points the way and then it becomes clear.

Either a 'duh' moment or an 'aha' moment!

Would it be inappropriate to mention here that I LOVE WILL SMITH...

and I love REMEMBER THE TITANS... It makes my list of all-time favorite movies. So do Shawshank Redemption and The Usual Suspects but I expect that's because I'm surrounded by smelly boys.

Just sayin'... :)

Karen, I'm totally in on trying the pea and celery salad, which means I need the recipe, dear heart.

And God love us, every one, IT'S FRIDAY!!!!!!

I made coffee and IHOP is doing breakfast. If you're doing meatless Fridays for Lent, grab eggs, danish, fruit, pancakes, whatever looks good.

There is sausage, ham and gefilte fish.

I did not arrange the gefilte fish around a stuffed fish head. It's WAY TOO EARLY in the day for that.

Thank you for understanding.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Tina, thanks for bringing Michael's articles to us today.

Studying screenwriting helps novel writing.

And you may fall in love with screenwriting like I did.

KC love the pea and celery salad. My kind of breakfast.
And the coffee is yummy.

Audra Harders said...

Coffee, coffee, coffee.

It's snowy this early Friday morning in Longmont, but it is FRIDAY, so I will walk around all day with a smile on my face : )

I had the opportunity to attend Michael's workshop last summer when he presented to my RWA chapter. Wonderful stuff. I love the way he raised questions pertaining to his topics that made me think specifically about the ms I was currently working on.

If you have the opportunity to attend one of his workshops, be the first to reserve your place! Everyone walks away with a nugget of wisdom. I attended with a couple of my friends and we all discovered different insights that fit the problems we were having with our individual works.

Great stuff.

Tina, thanks for hosting Michael and I look forward to hearing his answers to the questions raised today.

Brrrr, it's cold. More coffee...

Patty said...

Michael's writing tools sound like something this visual person could use in her writing!

Books have always played like movies in my head--in fact, when my youngest daugther was learning to read, she asked me why I didn't read out loud like she did in school. I explained to her that when I read, the book played like a movie in my head, that the words became pictures. A bit later, I was reading when I felt her little ear on the top of my head(I have a habit of sitting in the floor while I read.) When I asked her what she was doing, she said, "I'm trying to hear the movie, but I don't think there's much going on in there."

So true.

Thank you for sharing!

Patty said...

I need to add--please sign me up for the drawning.


Lisa Karon Richardson said...

Ah.. The inner journey is where I struggle. Not that the character doesn't have one, but in conveying it clearly within the space of time allowed for, oh, say... a contest entry.

I do see the story play out in my head, though so maybe it's more about digging deeper than what I see on the surface.

lrgabon (@) gmail .com

Lindsey Parker said...

Oh wow all I can say at this moment is wow!
I have never looked at it this way before seeing my writing as visual! It has really opened up perspective and given me tons to think about!
Thank you so much for this post because I truly needed it
Please enter me in the contest because I could use the help and His perspective I will be sure to sign up for his newsletter as well!

Julie Lessman said...

WOW ... between Michael's excellent post and KC's pea and celery salad (two of my favorite veggies ... is there also onion in it, dare I hope???), we have a lot to chew on this morning.

What a wealth of knowledge Mr. Hauge offers and I am anxious to peruse his articles and learn more.


Janet Dean said...

Tina, thanks for hosting Michael's post in Seekerville! Excellent points all.

I don't see my stories like a movie in my head. Wish I did. I have to write a scene vividly enough to form a picture in my mind. How to do that is the trick. LOL Details help, especially details that up the emotion. I need to get his DVDs.

Patty, thanks for sharing that adorable incident with your daughter. Love it!

Ah, Ruthy, care to explain gefilte fish. I'm hanging way back from the buffet until I get the lowdown.


Missy Tippens said...

Oh, I LOVE the Hero's Two Journeys!!! I've watched my set of DVD's over and over. Tina, I love the idea of doing it each time you start a new project. Excellent idea! Another thing I've done is take detailed notes from the DVD that I now keep on my computer (used to have it in a notebook). That way I can go back and refeference it often.

Michael, thanks for sharing great into on our blog today!

Melanie Dickerson said...

I haven't won in a long time. Maybe I'll win today! Pick me!

melaniedickerson at knology dot net

Great stuff, Tina! I'll check out those articles when I have time. Today I'm babysitting. Ai yi yi. How do parents of toddlers ever get anything done? Oh, yeah. I remember. They don't.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Janet Dean, your Judeo-Christian heritage ancestors would be shocked at your lack of gefilte fish insight...

It's a white fish specialty dish, originally Jewish or Yiddish, I'm not sure which, but it's a wonderful blend of fish, seasonings, cooked in broth...

Broth made from fish heads and tails and skins, LOL!

Don't cringe, we do the same thing with chickens! The "Junk" makes the tastiest broth.

So try it. It's good. I promise. I brought a little smoked salmon for bagels too.

Experience is a great teacher. ;)

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Could we just have bagels??

I am here to tell you that I LOVE THE HERO'S TWO JOURNEYS. It is such a painless visual way to see the inner and outer journey.

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

And how many Seekers write using Michael Hauge's Six Stage Plot Structure?

Well I do, Myra and Missy do.

The six stages are basically, The Setup, Opportunity, New situation, Change of Plans, Progress, Point of No Return, Complications and Higher Stakes, Major Setback, Final Push, Climax and Aftermath.

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

BTW if you check his current schedule of lectures you will find this little tidbit...

September 18-19, 2010
Hyatt Regency Downtown Indianapolis
American Christian Fiction Writers Annual Conference

Details coming soon.

Mary Connealy said...

Well, I usually try to avoid learnign any thing. My brain is sort of atrophied and it's painful. But maybe I ought to study this.


Myra Johnson said...

I sat next to Tina at the 2006
RWA conference when Michael spoke. I can attest to the fact that we both were enthralled. It was like a whole baseball stadium of light bulbs going off!

While I am not a plotter and don't like to even say the word "formula" out loud, Michael's "two journeys" paradigm is a great way to make sure the story stays on track. On the DVDs you get both his perspective and Chris Vogler's, which make an interesting and enlightening contrast. My local ACFW chapter just spent our Jan. & Feb. meetings viewing the videos, and even though I own the set and have already taken lots of notes on them, viewing them again was an invaluable reminder.

Thanks for the heads-up about the newsletter, Tina. I didn't know about that before today.

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Melly, hi ya kiddo.

What's the news on your top secret?

Lisa, good to see you again.

I'm with you, Myra. This is as close as I come to plotting. What I do for each new msc is write the percentages down and the Six Stage Plot Structure guidelines and then use then as my boundaries.

Very helpful.

Mary take an aspirin, hon.

Casey said...

This was great for me, thanks for sharing! I am trying to understand show/ not tell and it often gets muddled in my mind. I am getting better, but sometimes I wonder whether I show instead of tell. When it comes down to the nitty gritty that is when it is hard to determine which is which!

Or in my profile is the address.

Erica Vetsch said...

Happy Friday, Seekers!

I'd love to be entered in this drawing.

ericavetsch at gmail dot com

Rose said...

Tina, thanks for hosting Michael. This gives me more to think about/use as I try to outline a new WIP.


RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Let's review Show Don't Tell.

Mary slammed the door in the face of the kindly children peddling cookies.

Mary cackled with pleasure as the smooth wood struck the the boxes of cookies knocking them and the little people to the cold cement.

Mary you do this so well, would you care to....

Vince said...

Hi Michael:

I had a class in screenwriting and the first thing the teacher said was, “Don’t supply any camera angles or photographic techniques because the director is not going to pay any attention to any of it.”

I agree that novel writing is very visual. To ‘show’ and not ‘tell’, you first have to ‘see’ the story.

My theory on screenwriting is that it is about scene selection. Movies have become very much like MTV videos which tell a story without words. In fact, individual flash scenes have become today’s ‘words’.

Since words have limited meaning by themselves, creative writers need to think in terms of sentences and paragraphs. In film these turn out to be ‘a series of scenes’.

In today’s movies I don’t think you need a lot of dialogue. You need sound bites. I don’t even think you need much of a story. ‘Good over evil’ will do if you get the sequence of exciting visuals right. Movies speak a different language altogether.

My question then is this: Can you name any top selling novelists who also regularly write successful screenplays?



Vmres ‘at’ swbell ‘dot’ net

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Rose, Vince, are all in the drawing.

Erica not only are you in the drawing but we are sending you a care package for your trip with Mary.

We are just trying to figure out how to mail the stun gun.

Debra E Marvin said...

The Seekers have talked up this DVD many times before. So this isn't just chatter for a great guest. I like the idea of listening to the lecture on the Itouch, too. Great Idea. I have copious notes from the book but it bears repeating. Often.

Julie. Celery is one of your favorite vegetables? hmmmm. I know it does a world of good to tunafish salad but...

Add me to the list, but I'm pulling for Melanie. This is an awesome prize!
debraemarvin at the big yahoo in the sky.

Mary Connealy said...

Visual storytelling.
You know, I vividly remember reading Jurassic Park and thinking, "I can just SEE this." I knew it would be a great movie. Michael Crichton writes so visually, the moving, the diving, the snarling beasts.
I try and do that in my writing.
I think it has a lot to do with making your characters MOVE. It also has to do with the five senses. They are the touchstones, you might say. The bits of reality the reader can relate to.

The minute he stepped in out of the cold he smelled the rich warmth of his mom's special hot chocolate.
That smell is universal. Every reader is smelling that when you write it.

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

I'm with you, Debra. Celery is a great writing snack. Smother it with cream cheese or peanut butter.

Top with shaved dark chocolate.

Mary Connealy said...

Here's a scene from Wildflower Bride ... coming in May...that I particularly love and think is a very visual scene.
If you're read The Husband Tree, Abby was Glowing Sun. She has remembered her white name.


A soft nicker from Linscott’s stallion drew Wade’s attention.

“Such a good boy.” Abby caressed the beast’s nose, standing directly in front of the horse.

“Get back!” Wade took one step.

Tom’s hand clamped on his arm like a steel vice. “Don’t move!”

Releasing Wade, Tom eased himself the ten feet or so toward Abby. “Miss, step away.”

Abby looked up from the horse’s muzzle. “Why?”

“He’s dangerous. Step slowly back.”

Abby smiled then gave the stallion a kiss on his nose. “Dangerous are you, boy? I’d say you’re just looking out for yourself. I know how you feel.”

She stepped away from the horse and walked toward Tom without a bit of fear or caution. She was easily within reach of the stallion’s iron-shod hooves.

Wade held his breath until she was far enough away from the horse to be out of biting and kicking range.

Tom took two long strides toward her, put that iron vise of a hand on her arm, and jerked her nearly off her feet. “Are you crazy?” He dragged her about a half a step before she kicked him in the back of the knee, twisted her arm loose, and rammed a fist high into his belly. Tom was flat on the ground on his back, sucking in breath like a backward scream, with Abby kneeling on his chest with her knife pressed to his neck.

It all happened so fast Wade hadn’t even reacted before it was over.

“You put your hands on me again, white man, and I’ll see you don’t get your fingers back.”

Linscott was too busy trying to breathe to do much else.

Several of the Linscott drovers turned to defend their boss.

Wade was at her side and raised a hand to Linscott’s men. They might not obey a hand gesture from him, but they might hold off on shooting the woman who was threatening to slit their boss’s throat. “Don’t hurt him, Ab. Tom was afraid his horse would attack you. The animal’s got a reputation as a killer.”

“Hey, my stallion’s never killed anyone.” Linscott defended his horse from his position flat on his back.

“Not for lack of trying.” Wade prodded Tom with his toe, not too hard, to remind the idiot that he was one swift knife slash from death. Not that Wade thought Abby would kill him. Unless she really had to. Or Tom was really stupid in what he said in the next few minutes.

“The horse never put his hands on me.” Abby leaned forward and put all her weight on the knee she had rammed into Tom’s chest. “He never dragged me around or shouted at me. I’d say the stallion has better manners than its owner.”

“He was trying to save you.” Wade knew Abby was just having fun now. The time to cut was long past.

Abby gave him a look of such doubt that Wade added, “No, really, he was.”

With motions so quick the human eye couldn’t follow them, Abby whipped her knife away, back into its hidden pouch. Wade still wasn’t sure where exactly the woman kept the knife, and it was rude to study her skirt long enough to be sure.

Walt M said...


Looking forward to October and your seminar at Moonlight & Magnolias in Atlanta.


Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

I agree, Mary. ( I cannot believe I said that.) Elicit emotion is Michael's signature saying.

I try to go back and read each page and elicit emotion and usually it is by layering in movement and senses.

Sometimes it means reading Julie's kissing posts six times. Just in case my editor is reading this..I am working very hard to become a more sensual writer.

Kav said...

Sigh, trying to read this in snatches is just not cutting it! I feel like it's my first day at college again! Brain overload...but in a good way. I've read this blog and the two linked articles much too quickly to process all the information properly so I'll have to backtrack and do some studying later on -- there's so many layers to this discussion.

I stayed up way too late last night watching Olympic figure skating (yay, Evan) to wrap my brain around my own name, let alone writing theory! But I really appreciate the quality of the posts here and how they can help me with my writing goals.

Mary Connealy said...

I think it matches what Vince says about 'rewards per page'.
That emotional touch, that grabbing action, those are all rewards.

Mary Connealy said...

Excuse me, the only reason I'd hurt a sweet little girl scout if is she FAILED TO HAND OVER THE COOKIES.

Otherwise, they are perfectly safe from me.

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Amazing post to end the week :)

Happy Friday everyone!

I think the fun in writing is to visualize!

speaking of girl scout cookies, gosh they are good! I made a box of tag-a-longs disappear all by myself. Of course I visualized them gone before I opened the box ;)

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks, Tina, for your work in bringing this article to Seekerville and for the links to the others.

I'm a visual novelist. My scenes play out in my head, and I do my best to capture them so readers will be able to see them too. I'm not as good about adding the sensory details--sounds, smells, etc--as I'd like, though, and add more of them during revisions.

I have the DVD set, so please don't enter me in the drawing.

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Yeah, right, Mary.

LOL, all that visualization is good for you Kerri!!

See Keli, like minds. I love those DVDs. If the house was on fire I'd grab the cats and the DVDs.


Tina Pinson said...

Alot of stuff in so short of space. Now I will have to get the book and check out the links.

Thanks Michael and Tina, I like to think I'm a visual writer. Like Miss Russo I dream my stories from beginning to end, I see the scenery, feel the weather, catch the breezes. I can hear the ripple of leaves or water tripping over stones. I smell the bread baking. And catch a whiff of chocolate and vanilla. I hear the tones in my character's voice, note the fire in their eyes and the hitch in each breath, the labored rise and fall of a sigh.

Do I always translate my visual to the page? Hmmm Wish I could say I get it right all the time, but in truth I probably don't get it as well as I could. Always living and learning.

And to help moi learn, put me in the hat for the draw. Thanks

Tina Pinson said...

Oh and I'm with you Julie. If you add the onions I will be elated. YUMMY I shall try not to sigh at the thought of a good fresh onion, it might run a few others off.

Pepper Basham said...

I've been wowed my Michael's stuff - thanks for introducing me to it, Tina. Of course, it means I have 100 MORE things to learn about writing that I didn't know, but I reckon that's life :-)

I'm just learning about the 6 point plot structure, so obvioulsy don't use it. I have learned a lot from the 3 act structure - since I never thought about plotting before 2 years ago.

Thinking about it is a step, right?
Using it might be another step, but hey, I'm slow :-)

I've loved his descriptions of the reason we keep reading about hte characters, you know - sympathy, funny, peril, powerful...

I've been running all of my stories through that filter lately. Gee, I'm so excited about learning more about the hero's internal and external journey's. AND about 'essence" :-)

Pepper Basham said...

whoops, forgot

Pepper Basham said...

Love the 'teaser' to Wild Flower Bride, Mary
Go Abby Go ;-)

Dianna Shuford said...

I'm so glad you posted the article, Tina. This post was very confirming for me. I'm extremely visual. So much so that when I write I need to "see" the scene before I can write it. Visual is also my learning style. I learn best by seeing, then doing(kinesthetic).

I'll check out his other articles as well.


Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Got cha, Pepper, Tina and Diana.

This stuff is so good that if you don't win, I suggest you save your pennies and buy it or ask for it for your birthday.

I pop this into the laptop on the treadmill and learn as I burn.

You can also get it in CD format and put it in your car or as I said before download it to your iTouch, iPod or Blackberry.

Ruth Ann Dell said...

Thank you for organising this terrific blog, Tina.

Michael, thank you for your insights on visual story telling. What a fascinating subject.

I've been taught to bring my work to life by including tiny telling details e.g. the tiny chip on the rim of the fine bone china teacup. On the other hand I've read that it's often good to hint at details so that the readers can imagine things as they see them, rather than being tied down to specific physical facts. How do I balance these two approaches?

Please enter me in the drawing

Many thanks

Ruth Ann Dell

Janet Kerr said...

Thank you Tina and Michael,
The information on visual storytelling is exciting. I always visually see what I write in real time.

Helen Gray said...


I'm FINALLY here. When I got up this morning I had no internet. Then the electricity went out. Power was restored about an hour ago, but I just got online.

Thanks for continuing to nudge us toward the most helpful learning tools. It's east to 'see' that I NEED this.

So enter me in the drawing.



Vince said...

Hi Mary:

Oscar Wilde once said, “If England treats her criminals the way she has treated me, she doesn't deserve to have any.”

I kind of feel the same way about your heroes. If they are not getting beat up, bested, or buried by the women around them, they are being befuddled by little girls who can ride and shoot better than they ever could on their best day.

You do have a lot of rewards-per-page but the reading enjoyment has to be adjusted somewhat – if the reader is a male. : )


Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Hi Helen!!! Hey Janet and Ruth Ann!

Vince, you always make me laugh. Thank you for that gift.

PatriciaW said...

Love Michael's newsletter. Still trying to fully grasp the six stage story structure. I took a look at the Hero's Journey by Chris Vogler last year. Tough in written format but wondering if the DVDs might help.

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

I agree Patricia, I own both editions of Vogler's book and it is difficult to grasp if you are a visual person. Having it explained by the masters with visual drawings and comparison's to movies is really helpful.

I promise you'll never look at a movie the same again. LOL.

Mary Connealy said...

So, Vince, for women it's rewards per page. For men it's ..... flinches per page?

Myra Johnson said...

I meant to say earlier that I also consider myself a visual writer. I see my scenes playing out in my head and try to write down what I see, hear, taste, smell, etc.

I also wanted to say that I'm almost to the end of Mary's The Husband Tree, and that book is absolutely riveting! It's visual, emotional, sensory--I have felt myself right there on the cattle drive the whole way! Belle is as real to me as my next-door neighbor! Great job, Mary!

Pepper Basham said...

I'm right there with you, Myra...on both the visual 'thinking/writing' as well as your comments on The Husband Tree.
My book plays in my head like a movie too, complete with background music. :-)

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Walt, Kav...did I say hey!???

Good to see you!!

Kav, pick a topic and go to the right and column for the archives and a breakdown of any area you need help. Or suggest a topic...we're open to that. We'll make Mary write it.

Vince said...

Hi Mary:

No, ‘rewards-per-page’ are the same for men and women -- except for Connealy westerns, where ‘flinches-per-page” automatically kicks-in when the book senses a male reader.

I’m reading “Alaska Bridges” right now and it seems hero-neutral; however, I’m afraid of what’s going to happen when the hero and heroine leave the ship and hit the trail north. I’m predicting that the heroine kills a bear that was about to eat the hero.

BTW, I have a sneakily feeling that “Clueless Cowboy” may also need a flinch meter. And don’t think for one minute that I’ll be tricked into assuming that the hero in “The Bossy Bridegroom” has the upper-hand. In fact, I think the ‘Bossy’ is probably a Native American tribe.

You have to be clever to be funny and you’re funny but then, ha, ha, more than one person can make Tina laugh. : ) Beside, Ruth will you that I can hit and hold a high 'C'. (What?) !!

Guess who?

Mary Connealy said...

Tina is right.
Anyone who wants can ask any question and I will write a blog on it.

I have a problem giving advice. I can't seem to stop.

But honestly, considering the way I conduct myself on this blog, if you're foolish enough to take my advice and it ends in disaster, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Mary Connealy said...

Actually, I think The Bossy Bridegroom is a bit more serious than most people expect from me.
I think there's a lot of truth in it and there is humor but it's a pretty serious topic, handled pretty seriously.

I apologize. I've gotten it out of my syster now.

I hope.

Pam Hillman said...

Howdy folks! Just now stopping by. I really like this idea of visual storytelling. I'm a visual learner, so I'll have to look at purchasing these DVDs.

Cindy W. said...


Since I am a visual learner this would be awesome to have.

Please sign me up for your drawing.

God Bless,
Cindy W.


- or -


Cynthia said...

I'm always telling my students to help your reader visualize what you're writing about. I hope that I am accomplishing that in my writing as well. It's so important since we don't have pictures in books to help our reader. Actually I like it better that way anyways since I like making up my own pictures in my mind as I read.

cynthiakchow (at) earthlink (dot) net

Vince said...


I need to make two corrections to my last post. I am reading “Golden Days’ not “Alaska Bridges”. Also the correct title is “Alaska Brides”. The strange thing is that I didn’t think “Alaska Bridges” made a lot of sense as a title so I doubled checked the title and I still read it as “Alaska Bridges” the second time.

Maybe this book could be a bridge to something important for me. This is another reward for reading.


Jennifer AlLee said...

Love this talk about "visualizing" the story and the differences between novel writers and screen writers. Thanks for sharing with us, Michael. Ladies of Seekerville, as always, you provide good food AND great conversation :+}