The short story collection TRUE? by Michael Botur has been launched, and it will surely be longlisted for NZ’s premier book awards.
Last year, after launching the short story collection Lowlife and the novel Moneyland in September and December, I was too poor to afford to enter the Ockham awards. I recall it really hurt. Lowlife would have kicked arse – surely this acclaimed short story collection would have been shortlisted or even have won an award.
Still, though: I simply had no money, and I couldn’t bring myself to crowdfund to raise the $184 entry fee (plus twenty bucks to courier $80 worth of books to the awards organisers).
This year, I’m coming back with a vengeance.
I’m confident TRUE? is the most powerful and impressive short story collection of 2018 and will do well in the awards. I’ve just forked over my 184 bucks (urgh).
Even if the literatti don’t embrace the book, every day readers and loads of supporters in Northland, Auckland, Christchurch and the UK have been massively supportive. That’s why the book is for them, firstly. Snobs come second.
‘Narrative’ and ‘storytelling are being talked about by the marketing world.
Yay! My skillset is finally a buzzword (plus ‘content,’ too – apparently nobody says ‘writing’ anymore. Just ‘content.’)
Yup, this year we’ve seen a rise in organisations wanting to talk to the world by putting out ordered series of events (narratives) and linking each narrative (storytelling).
For people like me, who noticed the elevator doors of journalism closing back around 2012, there was a worry that those of us who’d trained in writing narratives (journalism/reporting) weren’t going to be able to use our skillset. Luckily I also write a lot of books and teach workshops on fiction writing, so there’s hope I can tell stories for a living.
But shouldn’t journalists and fiction writers keep their heads down and be grateful for their $35,000 a year?
Yeah, nah. I’m seeing more and more trained journalists gravitate towards marketing. Here’s what’s happening:
- Storytellers like myself, trained in journalism and narrative writing, have the ability to take a piece of information, add some human beings to the info, situate that information in time, highlight the conflicts and challenges surrounding the people involved in the announcement, and turn it into a story, often to give information about a brand to the reader.
- Storytellers like me are also experts at teasing out the call to action in any story and getting the story optimal for internet consumption
- Storyteller content writers are handy with a camera, Photoshop, the cloud etc.
- We’re also big risk-takers. It’s scary to confront powerful people with challenging questions, but that’s where news is mined from. The storyteller-content writer needs to be able to have a good relationship with an interviewee, mine the right material shape it into something fresh and entertaining.