What is reality? More subjective than you thought a year ago, I bet. Consuming our own individual, curated set of inputs we can take our minds anywhere we want. There are people who have seen all of the Star Wars films and believe those 11 (12? Who can keep track?) films and there are people who know that Grand Admiral Thrawn is the best villain in the Star Wars universe.

There are whole universes around some of your favorite films and books created wholly by fans, building on and enriching the work of the original artists. The rest of us suckers are left limited by the merely thousands of pages of Harry Potter written by the series’ author. In a world of digital books and limitless consumption, someone’s understanding of an extended universe could be fully informed by fan fiction, and potentially never engage with the original works.

What are the limits of our pursuit down these rabbit holes? Text is the easiest to build on, but people have created wonderful, inventive video that adds to universe mythology or takes it in totally new directions. My son recently showed me a video of Darth Vader fighting Batman, that was fairly well done. His question: How did a Disney property end up on screen with a Warner property? He is 10 years old.

The importance of those stories may not have been reduced from the consumption of mass media spectacles to individual fan-concocted short stories. But the importance as a shared story, understood by many continues to evolve.

This is the second consecutive episode on writing, if you haven’t listened to the conversation prior, you should. I sat down with Amber Naslund, content marketer, author and speaker who has, like me, recently undertaken writing fiction for the first time. I wanted to hear how thinking in and building a fictional world may be informing her work in the real world, and what lessons she’s learning.

Find Amber at Twitter, LinkedIn or on her Brasstackthinking.com site. You can listen to the full episode here:

Transcript below:

08:04:54 Adam Pierno: All right, welcome back to another episode of the strategy inside everything we are going to take a left turn. I guess we frequently take left turns on the show so maybe you’re not surprised but today’s guest is fits right into our lineup of guests the wonderful Amber Naslund has agreed to make some time to chat with me How are you today.

Amber Naslund: I’m great, thanks so much for having me.

Adam: I’m really excited to to chat with you in general but especially on this topic, you have been you’re currently Senior Content Consultant at LinkedIn, you’re also the founder of BrassTacks Thinking. You’ve been at Salesforce you’ve been at all these organizations and people know you’re thinking in the content and social strategy arenas and the business arena.
08:05:35 If you could catch people up on kind of your career and where, how you got to where you are now and then we’ll jump into what we’re talking about this morning.
08:05:44 Amber: As is always one of my favorite questions the How did you get to where you are now because it’s so bizarre, like I’m a bit well I’m a, I’m a total, like many people in our industry I’m an accidental marketer, I came to marketing, by way of nonprofits
08:05:59 I was a music major in college, and I was working on the business side of classical music so I was working in symphony orchestras and music conservatories and doing nonprofit fundraising, which led me weirdly into the corporate marketing world I kind
08:06:13 of got dragged kicking and screaming by somebody I used to work with.
08:06:17 And really the rest was history so I’m not a formally trained marketer I’m a like one who learned it in the trenches.
08:06:23 But I fell in love with it because it’s very it’s a really interesting mix of right brain and left brain stuff and it’s always changing and it’s, you’re just never bored so.
08:06:35 And I’ve spent the last I think I guess it’s about 12 years now, mostly in technology.
08:06:41 So I, I’ve always loved tech my grew up with tech nerds My dad was a, an MIS guy before they called it, it they called it information systems
Adam: Before it matured into IT.
08:06:53 Amber: Exactly, so he was a mainframe guy and I grew up like trudging around the mainframe room with my dad and so it was always into like nerdy things.
08:07:00 So it’s been a really kind of a fun intersection for me to kind of couple my love for tech with my love for marketing and yeah so now I’m at LinkedIn and my job there is to, I advise companies basically I consult with them to help their content programs
08:07:16 I jokingly say I helped their content programs suck less.
08:07:22 Adam: Do they like that?
Amber: They do! I usually get at least like it’s a laugh because most people are self aware enough to realize that like everybody’s content probably needs improvement and so nobody,
Adam: Nobody feels like their content is as good as it could be.
08:07:48 Amber: A lot of other random stuff which is how I think we, you and I connected. And I’m, I’m verbose on Twitter so that’s what happens. There’s a lot of tweets coming between the two of us we’re probably using most of Twitter’s bandwidth yet well I’m like I’m
08:08:03 old school Twitter I was like 2007 Twitter.
08:08:06 I think right around them. Yeah, so I’m like, I still use it like a random thoughts platform.
08:08:11 Like, sorry, all the people that follow.
08:08:15 Adam: How often do you apologize, I sometimes I’m like I’m sorry I talked about my book, like I’m sorry I just tweeted this thing that I was thinking about at lunch, you know, I think I used to apologize more,
Amber: I like, I think I’m old enough now where I just just don’t have that many apps to give anymore I’m just like whatever unfollow buttons over there feed it like you can make your choices. Yeah, exactly. So I just kind of, I just roll with it, I’m good.
08:08:39 Adam: And recently, you posted that you are working on something a little bit different. And I saw that I don’t know if I saw it live or I saw it later as retweet or something else but it got my attention you want to you want to tell people what you posted
08:08:53 there. Yeah, well, the the genesis of this conversation was because I talked publicly about the fact that I’m working on a novel, which even saying it out loud, I’m like, Oh that feels strange because at, you know, I, I’m a non fiction author I’m a published author in the nonfiction world. And so the idea of being a writer is something that I’m very comfortable with, but I’ve been a nonfiction writer, like so much of my writing experience has been business oriented.
08:09:26 So to think of myself as a fiction author and put myself in the context of like, I would like to be a novelist feels like a five year olds you know we like I would like to write a book someday.
08:09:33 But I have this story idea and it’s one that has, like, when it hit me.
08:09:38 It has not left me alone like it’s the kind of thing where I wake up thinking about it, it’s like in my brain when I fall asleep I run all over the place and it just it’s like a splinter in my brain so I just, it’s hanging. Yeah, it’s just there. So I feel like I need to write it and I don’t know if it’s going to be any good, but I’m really in love with the idea. So, I don’t know, it’s really hard because it’s like, it’s such a shift in thinking, and to let myself right from a creative messy place versus the efficiency I’m used to writing as a business writer. Yeah, it’s like I’m used to the first draft being close to done, you know I write efficiently I write tightly I write clarity and creative writing is nothing like that whatsoever. So, I am not just outside of my comfort zone but I’m like, in another dimension.
08:10:30 Adam: This is that you’re getting to exactly why I thought I wanted to talk to you about this topic so perfect because I know you wrote The Now Revolution. I know you’ve contributed tons of writing, which people Googling your name if they don’t already know will be able to find pretty easily. A lot of it is on Brass Tacks Thinking website, but the process that one gets to the efficiency that you get to when you have once you’ve written a book, your, your mind and your approach to writing is a lot different and the ability to say like, Oh, I need to get from this many words to this many words by lunchtime because the clock’s ticking and after lunch
08:11:07 I have the next thing to do,
Amber: Right,
Adam: is so different from fiction and sort of inventing as you’re writing. Yeah, maybe you’re not exactly sure to help. How far along, how far along are you in the book? Are you far enough along that you’ve learned any lessons learned a lot of lessons –
Amber: I’m not super far in terms of writing the book itself but i’m, i’m fairly deep into constructing you know the story in the world and the characters and all the stuff around that so. The funny thing is when we wrote The Now Revolution, I owe poor Jay Baer so many apologies over the years. So if you’re listening Jay I love you. Thank you. But he is like a machine, the man would sit down and write 1500 words a day every day for so many weeks to hit our deadlines, because we need an X number of words like you said by a certain time, and I don’t write that way. I even in my freelance writing work, I still can’t just like today’s 1000 word day and I bang out 1000 words, I write in spurts, so I like I’ll sit down and i j would write 1500 words a day, I would wait until two days before our deadline and vomit out 15,000, and heat that was like mind numbing to him.
08:12:28 But for me, that is just kind of how it works. Once I get in the groove. The words just come and this, but the creative writing side of this is not working that way at all. So I’ve got like, there are times where I am staring at a blank screen for longer than I care to admit, trying to find any words at all. It’s painful, um, there are times where I write three sentences and spend the next three hours tweaking those three sentences.
08:12:58 So what I’m finding is I have to learn to what I’ve turned it is take the governor off and stop trying to edit my writing as I’m writing it, and stop trying to fill in gaps in the story like I let myself sort of right for a while and then like I don’t know what happens next. And if I don’t know what happens next, it stops my writing and in its tracks and one of my friends, Chris Hudgens, who is a sort of my, my sounding board for a lot of this writing stuff because he’s a he’s a fiction author and a very accomplished one and I’m just like, I don’t know how to get past this part. And you said you just put in like an old journalist trick because you put in TK meaning. This is parts to come.
Adam: I don’t know what goes here, but I’m just going to put a placeholder and then plow right on through to the next part.
08:13:46 Amber: That feels so messy to me because my brain doesn’t work that way.
Adam: So, when you write nonfiction, are you a linear writer Are you starting with the introduction, and then you’re writing 15,000 words in order, you know in draft obviously you edit but you don’t jump chapters and move back and forth?
Amber: Not usually I’m pretty from a from a, like when we wrote The Now Revolution I worked from a pretty clear outline. And I wrote in an order, so it’s like I wrote this part in this part because they had there’s a logical flow of it to me like this idea leads to this idea leads to this idea.
08:14:21 And, obviously, like Novel Writing doesn’t work that way and sometimes you tell multiple stories at once and storylines thread into each other and so it’s a different set of muscles, for me, which I’m both terrified by and really enjoying because it’s
08:14:36 just a totally different way of using my writer brain.
08:14:42 That is, I’m surprising myself a little bit with my ability to actually sit down and let the character kind of drag me through the story, like being willing to sit down the page like I don’t know where this story is going but I’m gonna let her lead me
08:14:54 there. And that’s been fun because it’s like, oh, okay, I just I’m typing alone like ‘I didn’t see that coming but I guess that’s where this wants to go,’ and that’s amazing feeling when you get to that point you say, ‘Oh, I guess she’s going over here now’
08:15:07 Adam: exactly what you’re gonna do after that?
Amber: Right, and I’m loving the experience of having the story, sort of unfold. To me, as I’m writing through the perspective of these characters, so that part’s really fun it’s also really frustrating when like I said it you hit a wall, and you’re like I don’t know where this goes from here. So I get a little wrapped around the axle sitting with my notebook, and I’m one of these weirdos that like when I know what I want to write I have to type it when I’m trying to concept, develop I have to write it like by hand.
Adam: Oh really?
Amber: Oh, yeah, there’s a lot of this book that is in long form handwriting in notebooks. Because I, there’s something about the way I have to brainstorm. When ideas are loose they need to be I need to physically write them down, and then once I have a more cohesive idea of where I’m going, then I turn to the keyboard to kind of put it in some semblance of order but I can’t do either in other for the other format, if that makes any sense because it was here in the notebook before it makes it to the typewriter Are you allowed to be organic while you’re typing once, once you know roughly where the, where the idea is ground Yeah, I can definitely be organic, as I’m typing, but I need some in the notebook I need some directional signals that are telling me kind of where I’m going with things a little bit like a lot of the world building that I’ve been doing around this, it has been done in my notebook, and I needed, at least in some ways like the rough sketch of what I was dealing with because I needed to if you buy. If you haven’t watched Neil Gaiman’s masterclass like it’s worth the cost of admission just to just for that it unlocked a whole bunch of things in my head but he talks about this idea of like you know blurry things and you need to know the rules of the world.
08:17:02 But you don’t necessarily need to tell them all in the book. So it’s like, I need to know how this world operates and how in a little bit about the characters and their motivations and things, then I can turn in right and allow some of the detail to get
filled in that way, but for whatever reason I need that framework in my head of at least sort of understanding where I’m starting from is that typical to your non fiction writing that you is that the equivalent of creating the outline of.
08:17:29 Adam: I need the logic, the scaffolding that you create for a non business argument where you’re saying okay I need to start here I need to explain this to prove that to make this case, is it using the notebook in the world building to give yourself the net that you need to go out on the wire there.
Amber: Yeah I think so I think that’s a really good way of putting it. I mean when I write nonfiction, or a business oriented stuff. I usually know what I want the audience to take away from that. Right, it’s like, This is I’m writing for a purpose so I’m trying to get you to hear these lessons or learn these things. So there’s a very clear and logical flow of that to me it’s like here’s how I introduced the idea here’s how I backup the idea and here’s how I conclude the idea.
Yeah, right. That’s not how this works in a fictional universe but I do feel like my brain needs a little bit of that rough structure, just if nothing else is a comfort mechanism for me to be like right it grounds me in like, ‘Right this is where I am. This is what I’m doing. This is where I was what I’m doing.’ And I don’t know if that’s like a rookie crutch, because I’m so new at this that I need that something to hold on to.
08:18:41 But you know, the more I talked to novelists and fiction writers that I know personally they’re like, ya know, like everybody’s process is a little different and if it works for you, go with it, like there’s no rules here so is the is the network of people
08:18:55 that you’re turning to for guidance or to, you know, to bounce ideas off of is that a different network than you would use for writing the now revolution or for writing a nonfiction piece, so different, like, light years different, I have a whole list of book twitter like people I call like fiction book twitter of people that I follow, some of whom are personal friends, like I mentioned, Chris, and others who are, I would say, online acquaintances like my friend check one day, who’s a very prolific and successful fiction author. And then there’s just lots of people who I’ve never met but I know, like, I know of them authors that are very open on Twitter about their process and how they work so I observe a lot.
08:19:43 And they’re a totally different set of people. So, it helps me get out of my bubble of the kind of author, speaker consultant world that you know we inhabit as marketing nerds, because it is it’s a totally different feel like the culture is different.
08:20:03 Adam: The way people approach it is different.
08:20:05 Amber: One of my best girlfriends just published her very first romance novel. So it’s been fun to kind of learn through watching her process and how she operates and she’s always saying like you shouldn’t learn from me because I’m a rookie I’m like ‘No, that’s exactly why I need to write because, like I’m more risky than you are.’
08:20:23 Adam: Yeah, you’re this much far ahead of me I can see where I can see down the line to where you are, it’s not so far it’s not like trying to catch up to Stephen King, what
Amber: exactly and it’s can be daunting to like I’m rereading a couple of Neil Gaiman’s books that are my favorites just to sort of almost dissect the writing itself and be like, Oh, this is where he did that or here’s where he did this thing and here’s how he will that into this plot and so it’s more of like sentence diagramming but with books you know it’s like looking at the mechanics of it.
Adam: Are you finding yourself hyper aware in everything that you read or are you intentionally reading his work for that reason or I am incapable of not doing that now.
08:21:01 Amber: Yeah, no, I am I am actually very capable, I’m really good at escapism too right now, I would actually be really like I would be a really good as a rich housewife, to sit and have no responsibilities whatsoever and like just read trash romance for what I would be amazing at that. Um, so I actually am fully capable of like picking up a book and disappearing into it and not thinking about it from a writing perspective, which I think is helpful, I can still, I can do that. But I’ve actually it’s the opposite I am so detached from that, that I’ve had to re pick up some books and sit down and look at them through the lens of the writing itself, and the like, how the book unfolds and how the story is put together because I’m so unaware of that sometimes when I read, because I find fiction to me is an escape, so it’s very I’m very immersed in it and I don’t think of it mechanically I think of it, creatively.
08:22:03 Adam: That’s interesting. Do you think now that you’re starting to take those books apart? Are there books that you’ve already read once you know either books you consider books you love – Do you consider part of the construction the reason that you love them. Now that you’ve started analyzing it.
Amber: That’s an interesting question. I definitely think I’m surfacing preferences, like my own types of preferences for this story is that grabbed me and the ones that I really enjoy our pace to certain way. There’s a lot for my brain to dig into so in other words it’s not just like a single linear plot like there’s a lot of times there’s like, like dovetailing storylines are very like complex characters where you, learn things like you’re learning the character as they’re learning themselves so stuff like that for me I’m starting to realize is like, ‘Oh right, this is kind of a common theme amongst a bunch of things that I really enjoy.’
08:23:01 And I also I mean like everybody I have tastes for style, so there’s writing styles that I really gravitate toward if something gets too prosaic and flowery I get lost in it, so it’s like I love Tolkien but there’s times where I’m like okay we can skip these seven pages describing the meadow, that they’re walking right i don’t i don’t
Adam: Seven hundred nine pages of lineage of dwarves is oh yeah and you’re just-
Amber: Love the stories, but it can get a bit much for me, which is why I think sometimes something like classic literature has always, I’ve tried to write read War and Peace, at least 10 times. And I never get past the first like 25 pages, it’s just, it’s I have a really hard time with it. It’s just too is more dense than your brain wants to wait on that but on the other hand, like I can sit and rip through Tom Clancy novels like nobody’s business and those things get like so technical sometimes on like the specs of the submarine and I’m like why do I enjoy this and why is you know Hawthorne really hard for me but i don’t know i mean i guess we could dismantle that a lot but I there’s definitely commonalities, I think, and the thing is that I gravitate toward and I’m, I’m actually curious to see how that will manifest in the voice I develop as a fiction writer, because it’s like is that, am I going to be 2am I trying too hard to emulate other people’s styles is my own style going to kind of surface, out of that, and I don’t know TBD, oh, you know,
Adam: Are you are you aware of that as you’re writing Are you are you feeling that oh this sentence or this thing that I’m rereading that I wrote feels a little bit familiar to x style or lifestyle or – so far not, you’re not having experienced that.

You just read this whole thing? Hmm. If you’ve got time on your hands, you might like Specific or Under Think It.

08:24:40 Amber: No, I haven’t. I definitely don’t sit down and be like wow I sound like Suzanne Collins here wow I sound like you know John Grisham here, I don’t. Again, I don’t think I’m as aware of those things as maybe I should be what I do notice, however, is when I start to sound too much like Now Revolution Amber. When I’m like getting almost a little bit too, efficient, with my words and my writing and treating it like some kind of, you know, a white paper novel, all of a sudden there’s bullet points is a chart.
08:25:18 Adam: Right.
Amber: So I do catch myself at times. Again, that’s kind of like turning off the inline editing in my own brain of stopping trying to write for efficiency and instead just right for creativity and allow those things to organically happen, realizing that that’s what editing is for, you know, let it be messy Let it be terrible Let it be all over the place. And, you know, you go back and clean that up later. That is a very hard set of muscles for me to flex because it’s not what I use very often.
08:25:49 Adam: And you, when you wrote nonfiction, when you wrote the Now Revolution you wrote from a very structured outline. And I know you mentioned world building you mentioned the notebook, but it also sounds like you’re giving yourself the freedom to discover the story as you go, yeah how much, how much outline are you relying on and how much flexibility are you giving yourself to recreate and destroy the outline.
Amber: That’s a good question. Um, I wouldn’t even call it so much an outline I have a document that I call that there’s like my backstory document. So it gives me sort of like the history of the world that I’m writing in some of like the. I don’t say the rules but you know like the the structure of it, and what happened and a little bit about the characters and main groups of characters, and some of the like history and legacy that is part of this story. That’s about as tight as I’ve gotten, I actually have no idea. I have in my head a couple of like major events that happened throughout the book. That’s all I’ve got so far, and, like, that’s why I describe it as my character sort of dragging me through the story with her as we as I right, because I don’t know where this is leading yet I actually don’t have a sense of how I want this story to end, I don’t know yet whether I think it’s one book, whether it’s multiple books whether I don’t know yet. So I would say that it’s about is as loose as I am comfortable with it being, you know, there’s so much that’s just not defined yet and that’s just the nature of the beast, but that’s also I think what fuels sometimes my imposter syndrome and my tendency to sit and have total writer’s block because I’m like it’s so open ended that I don’t know where this is going. So I’m having to get comfortable with writing anyway, like writing into the void and just being like I don’t know where this is going, who cares i might delete these 30,000 words later I have no idea. I’m letting myself do that is actually it turns out really really hard for me. But I don’t know, I’m learning, I guess, like my fire.
Adam: That’s a question too because when you’re writing business books and business writing nonfiction in general for a reason. There’s okay ‘This is the reason somebody asked me to write this. I’m writing this to prove this point.’ And when it comes to fiction, it’s like, ‘Well, I could spend months writing this thing.’
08:28:19 Amber: And then I have a Google Doc full of 80,000 words What do I do with it. Right.
Adam: You know, there’s no, there’s no there there’s no right you’re not necessarily right for for people like us there’s not some publisher that’s waiting pacing around calling you, where’s your draft.
Amber: That would be amazing if any publishers out there would like to do that to me You’re totally Welcome to call me. But no, there is not one of those.
Adam: So how did you did you wrestle with that when you were starting the process, did you–myself I remember thinking like ‘Well I, I could write this but then what would I, what’s the point of that?’ Are using that as it as an excuse like one of the 10,000 excuses why as well, what would be the point of that.
Amber: Oh yeah I mean, 100%, we can we can have a support group on this one because I mean this book this book idea has been in my brain for two years, maybe longer, and I’ve only just now really committed to like, ‘What the hell I’m going to write it anyway.’ Um, but I’ve had a lot of those like. To what end and especially like pre when the world was melting like all this weirdness that we’re living in now. Before that, my day to day life was incredibly demanding like I have a full time job that I travel I’m a single parent of a teenager, like I have a house like dogs. I have a horse. So I have this whole life, that it was commanding so much of my time so there was a lot of me that was like, I can’t afford quote unquote you know to spend time on this creative endeavor that doesn’t really seem to have a point, other than my own enjoyment – indulgent at that point
Adam: yeah exactly that’s exactly the word I use it’s like it feels really self indulgent for me to be like, I’m going to work on my novel today that nobody wants you know it’s like, oh no,
Amber: They want it yeah well right so i but i have kind of. I mean, obviously we’re all like at home, and I have more time on my hand so I figured if I can’t use that as a, at least a mechanic to get myself off the starting block a little bit I feel like I’ll regret it. And it also in this process what’s interesting about being at home and having the rhythm of my life changed so much is realizing that I want space in my world for these kinds of things like it feels good to lean into something more creative and artistic. I mean I’m me I’m a musician so it’s like I find time to play music Why is it any different for me to sit and find time to write words. But again, because words have been my job for so long. It’s different to flip the switch from like job words to fun words. Yes. So I’m still working on that part but I’m realizing that I’m getting better at it not feeling so self indulgent.
08:31:08 Adam: If you’re forgiving yourself for for doing the creative thing that makes you feel good.
Amber: Sometimes, yeah you know sometimes I’m still like they’re tapping away my keyboard being like wow I should really probably go empty the dishwasher, or something more practical but I am giving myself permission to spend some time with this because I feel like it’s good for my soul, so I’m just gonna, I’m gonna yeah yeah
Adam: Amen So, or is it has it turned back and changed your approach to writing nonfiction? Have you noticed any changes it’s maybe too early in the, in the process for that?
08:31:42 Amber: It is a little but i i guess i think what has for sure happened in this process is I’m getting a little bit less precious about my work related writing and allowing truly allowing like the first drafts of things to be sucky and not being so I don’t know, so, perfectionist, about the words that come out of my face when I’m talking about work stuff like I have to put together a presentation for an upcoming conference and normally. That is a very structured process like I have a process that I usually go through to build a presentation and it’s been the same way for as long as I can imagine. But I’m allowing myself to have a little bit more creative liberty with that this time around, which also feels good because it’s like taking the shackles off my own work a little. I think I’m learning from my creative self that maybe my business stuff doesn’t have to be as rigid and structured as I’ve had it be in the past that rigid in process or rigid and output or more process than anything.

If you like this conversation, have I got a podcast for you. The Strategy Inside Everything is available everywhere, including direct to your inbox.

08:32:48 You know I think you get, I don’t know if this if you’ve had this experience but I think when you’ve been doing this stuff as long as we’ve been doing it you have sort of processes that you build and refined over the years and you rely on to help you get stuff done. So it’s like as a freelancer, somebody comes to me and they need a white paper or an E book, like I have a process for outlining I have a process for researching I have a process for starting that document, and that all feels very kind of buttoned up now. And similarly, like I said I you know I have a process for building my presentations.
08:33:24 And it’s just I’m looking at it a little bit more critically now and being like, Do I really have to be that, like, Am I getting a little bit too rote about it like maybe there’s room in here for me to, to give myself a little bit more elbow room to explore different ideas. So I’m, I’m approaching this next presentation, a little bit differently a little bit like more loosey-goosey, which again feels weird to me, but I am hopeful will actually maybe infuse a little bit of creativity into it that I’ve not let myself necessarily do in the past.
Adam: Oh, that’ll be interesting to see how that how that manifests.
Amber: Yeah, I like TBD, I’ll let you know.
Adam: We’ll find out when you get to a third of the way through it, you’re like crap that process was really good.
08:34:10 Amber: Maybe that’s I mean, that’s a very legitimate thing like maybe I will learn that my processes for this stuff are actually pretty okay and and that can be validating in its own right, so I don’t know, I’m open to that, I think, whatever. That’s okay.
Adam: I want to circle back to something that you talked about a little while earlier about purpose when you write nonfiction you’re writing with a known purpose you you don’t discover that halfway through, you have
08:35:17 a point you’re making and you’re constructing the piece to make that point and serve that purpose.
08:35:23 Are you, have you identified a purpose in this work yet in this either either in the story, or in the, What you want readers eventually to take away from it.
08:35:35 Amber: That’s such a good question and it’s actually one that came up in the Gaiman masterclass to us like what all of fiction and all stories are sort of reflections of ourselves. And what we want the world to know somehow. So I don’t know that there’s like, I don’t know if it’s like deep purpose like with a capital P. But there are for sure, emerging like the the main. I don’t know, the, the message the theme the fable, you know, whatever, like the moral of the story. Yeah, I definitely think that there’s going to be some of that in here and I’ve actually waffled a little bit around what that is and I, what I’ve been spending a lot of time on recently is actually that like what is my character, my main character What is her driving force, and that motivation. And ultimately, when I’m telling this story. If you had, if I had to sum it up, you know what would be them the message I want the world to hear about this book. I don’t know if I know what it is yet. And I think that’s kind of my next Everest for this is really codifying that in a way I feel good about because it’s there, but it’s really fuzzy still. So I got to spend some time, man.
08:37:12 Adam: I made I wonder in all the, the literature that I’ve read and as a discipline as a study, you know in in college and time and book clubs and things where people are going back and really working through what the text was meant to communicate.
08:37:15 Amber: Right.
08:37:16 Adam: It’s overwhelming sometimes when you’re writing your own thing and you’re like, I don’t know I’m just writing a story about this woman who is doing this thing, and I don’t, I don’t, I didn’t write in some underlying theme that was meant to symbolize the French Revolution and right. I don’t have all this built baked into it. I wonder I think about some of those authors that we were discussing we say clearly.
08:37:37 Amber: Right. They were trying to tell you this you know like I wonder if he was just, you know, eating pizza. And you’re like, oh, it happened to be a treatise on climate change is coming. Yeah, exactly. It’s sort of like, I mean, The Chronicles of Narnia are very allegorical, and, and, like, biblical references and stuff and it’s like was that purposeful, did he structure it that way, or did, did we make those associations, like I don’t know, did anybody ask CS Lewis whether that was his thing but somebody out there I’m sure knows the answer to that. But for me, I think there’s, I don’t know how, like the right way to describe this but there is a there is a spirit in this book that I feel like in the story that I’m trying to tell that there’s definitely some kind of undercurrent pushing me to tell this story. So I know that in there is some kind of cinematic idea, I just haven’t crystallized it in words yet because there’s like, you know, my, my main character is your kind of proverbial, a little bit of a scrappy underdog who doesn’t really realize her own potential I didn’t that way it’s a little bit I auto biographical I guess but. And there are you know there’s like the representative the good guys and the bad guys and then like the bad guys you think are bad guys but maybe probably turned out to be pretty okay good guys and-
Adam: Don’t give it away. Don’t.
08:39:01 Amber: I’m not but like there’s a, there’s those things and so there’s obviously some kind of like central conflict that I’m hoping will resolve itself and I think in story, good conflict and good conflict resolution, usually carries with it some kind of lesson or learning or message or something. So I think that will happen kind of organically, as I pursue where the story is taking me, but it’s there. I just don’t I don’t quite know what it is yet.
08:39:32 Adam: We’ll find out. We’ll find out as you press on and increase word count.

Would you like to hear more from Adam? Book him as a live or virtual speaker

Amber: Yeah, well see hey publishers
Adam: If you want to know what happens in this story by Amber, anybody who’s interested we’re just about to ask Amber where you can find her online so yeah, you’ll get your answer here. Okay, this was awesome. Thank you so much. This was actually very timely, as I’m also writing some fiction for the first time, so it’s helpful to hear what you’re going through and how you’re approaching it well I’m excited to hear more about your book
Amber: You and I have to like backchannel push each other to keep doing this okay so I’m making some good, I’m making some good progress so rocky authors you and I Love Actually, this might be my first and last entry into the into the fiction but me too but hey man, let’s do it. And the key is to finish it yeah exactly initial draft that feels like a milestone if anything else happens I’ll be gravy right totally icing on the cake.
Adam: Thank you so much for making time I read this is awesome. I’m really glad that we were able to connect.
08:40:31 Amber: Yeah, me too. Thanks so much for inviting me I really enjoyed our chat,
Adam: Where can people find you online?
08:40:37 Amber: The main places, I am a Twitter fiend, so you can find me on Twitter at @AmberCadabra, you can of course Find me on LinkedIn because I think I, you know, get fired if I didn’t promote my own LinkedIn.
08:40:49 And then my personal website is at Brasstacksthinking.com, where I’ve been pretty neglectful about writing lately but you can find a lot of my stuff there.
08:40:57 Adam: Oh, I don’t think you’ve been neglectful. I think you’ve, you’ve been writing busy with other things.
Amber: There you go.
08:41:03 Adam: So you don’t say it that way.
08:41:05 Amber: like your positivity Adam thanks.
Adam: I’m trying, I’m trying to bring it, I like it alright if this was awesome. Thank you very much. You’re welcome.
Amber: Thank you so much.

Categories: Podcast