About writing

28 Mar 2016

A blog post needs to have a storyline. A blog post needs to have a storyline! This is what I was taught in school. Not so much about a blog but more about dissertations. It still rings true. Writing about anything without a storyline presents the danger of boring your audience. I can still hear my teacher in Dutch language hammering that into our heads.

Fixer upper

Nowadays I write in English, Dutch seems to be far away. However, my teacher is still right about one thing. A dissertation or even a blog post should have a storyline.

Writing is about story telling. Whether that story is a piece of history, fiction or reality. If you write only facts, people will not read it. If you write down your ideas without a story, people will not read it. A blog with photos is easier to write than a 1000 word story. Writing with a little help from accompanying pictures, recorded sounds or videos is always easier. That visual part that is rendered by the reader’s imagination is led into the channel that the writer used to write the story.

Breaking the iceBreaking the ice

So images are a tremendous help. Images without an accompanying  story may be interesting, but only the best images will tell their story alone. Without any written word. I could describe my outings in the province of Manitoba, writing about Snowy Owls as white as… snow(?)… Sure, then people all over the world will imagine that Snowy Owl in the form of an owl they have in their own environment, picture it white as snow and a Snowy Owl is born in their minds. Or I could simply show pictures, but then many people would not see what the post is all about.

Hoary RedpollHoary Redpoll

But that is not the aim of my blog here. The aim is to show what nature and life is about all around me, to show it as real as possible and take away the “Snowy Owls” that are either 2 inches tall sitting in a tree or the ones 2 feet tall sitting on ice eating fish…

When I start with a blog post or a story, if you like, I try to assemble a set of pictures that goes with a story I already have in my mind. Sometimes it’s the other way around and I try to find a story that can go with a series of pictures that I like.

Bald Eagle on a precarious perchBald Eagle on a precarious perch

Sometimes I have neither, except a self-set deadline for a new post. Today is such a day. Not enough pictures in a set to create a complete post, nor a coherent story about the pictures I want to show. Writing such a story then becomes more complicated. Often people ask me where I get all the stories I write. I cannot answer that question, the stories come to me.

What? No Golfing???What? No Golfing???

This time the storyline is about the story writing itself. The pictures have a storyline of their own. That line is simply about outings in the province, with or without friends. All of the pictures are recent, no archives here. The pictures are as diverse as the outings, once to the airport, another time out in the province or into a provincial park. Breaking up the ice to make way for a flooding (that probably will not come this year). Or clearing the snow from the runways.

The first Canada Geese of the year, heralding springThe first Canada Geese of the year, heralding spring

The storyline from the pictures may be hard to follow, so this time I will let them sit on their own to tell their story. The storytelling itself, or blogging as we call it today in the Internet era is somewhat disconnected from the visual content. Is it a problem? Not really.

Trumpeter SwanTrumpeter Swan

It is all about the attention and the intention that we put in a story as a writer. But by now you will have noticed that I am not a writer per se, neither am I a professional photographer. Sometimes the stories and the pictures go together, sometimes they don’t.

Snowy OwlSnowy Owl

The Snowy Owl only cares about its food and can royally ignore the photographer. My job is to make sure that you as the reader are not bored to a point that you will ignore the next story. That is what my writing must be about. Storyline, storyline, storyline.

That old teacher in the Dutch language was right.

Until next time…