What makes a great non-fiction author?

psychopomp-3d-dls-8pxls-2To me, the number one answer to that question is: storytelling ability. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, if you can’t relate the information in an interesting and compelling manner, then no one will read it.

Many people can tell a story or an anecdote, but only true storytellers can make them come alive. This is so very important when creating a non-fiction book. You have to find ways to help your readers relate to the characters, but without sacrificing the facts. After all, in non-fiction your characters aren’t made up and your readers can check the details. Yet, you don’t want to bore your readers with nothing but a compilation of facts, either.

Writing truth as if it were fiction is a fine line to walk. Some authors do it quite well, and others fall flat. As a reader, I noticed the difference and I began taking notes on what made some books great non-fiction and others just so-so. When I decided to share my own near death experience story (Escorting the Dead) with the world, I went back to my notes detailing the differences between good and not-so-good non-fiction to make sure I did it right.

As I analyzed these difference, I found that the major difference between good non-fiction and so-so non-fiction was the author’s ability to relate a story. As an author of both fiction (The Starstone) and non-fiction (Escorting the Dead), I have learned that no matter what type of book you are creating, you still have to tell a good story.frontcover

But how do you tell a story when relating facts, history, and biographical or autobiographical data? I found that there were two methods that seemed to work the best: use anecdotes to bring your people and time period to life; or relate one major incident from the person’s life in a friendly, story-like way. Both methods let you add flavor and depth to the people you are writing about. This then gives your readers a chance to connect with the people in your book. If you can’t build that bridge between your reader and the key character of your book, then no amount of facts, figures, charts, and graphs will win them over. Your readers want to see the humanity in the people populating your non-fiction book; they want to be able to relate to and understand the reasons motivating the people in your book. They want a really good story, even if it is non-fiction.

So, a great non-fiction author is one who can bring reality to life and fool his or her readers into believing that what they are reading is just a great story even if it is a moment plucked from real life.


Helenism, Aristotle, and Multiverses

soapbubblesHellenism is the Aristotelian ideas of matter and form.

Matter is the potentiality, and form is the actuality. God is pure form (no physical matter) and we humans are combinations of matter and form, or potential and actual.

Both Judaism and Christianity adopted Aristotle’s teaching that we are matter and form, but renamed it body and soul. However, the concept of the form existing beyond the demise of the matter continued beyond Aristotle’s teachings and populated most major religions.

But there’s another point here that piques my interest. The fact that Aristotle believed in two states of being: potential and actual. When looked at in conjunction with the multiverse theories of today, you can see that Aristotle named these states of being very well. Every time we make a choice, we end up creating one or more potential realities. That means, we are always in a state of potentiality. The only time we can be in a state of actuality is when we forego the physical world for one of pure spiritualism. That’s because only outside of the physical world does time cease to be a factor, and without time, there is no potentiality. Without time, everything just is. All realities exist, all potentials are realized, and we (every aspect of us) is now an actuality.

It boggles my mind, yet I understand it so well. I’m sure that in another reality, a potential reality, there’s a me that doesn’t understand it all, or doesn’t even care about it; but in this reality, this me thinks this is utterly awesome.

Science lists five possible types of multiverses:

The flat repeating multiverse. This is described as a patchwork quilt view of reality. Each square of space-time extends only as far as light has traveled since the big bang (or 13.7 billion light-years). The next square beyond that is another, separate universe of multiverses. So, within our square would be an infinite number of each of us, some living lives very similar to our own, while others would have taken completely different paths.

The bubble universes. The main bubble is where we all started. However, as choices are made, smaller bubbles break out along the surface of this main bubble. Major breaks in the space-time line result in large separate bubbles being created, while less influential choices result in smaller collections of surface bubbles.

Parallel universes or braneworlds. This theory comes from the string theory world. Each brane is a layer that floats just out of reach of the next brane. Each brane is a self-contained universe which may or may not be similar to our own.

Daughter universes. This theory is part of the quantum mechanics world. It says that every possibility is created and becomes a reality. For example, if you reach a crossroads where you can go right or left, the present universe gives rise to two daughter universes: one in which you go right, and one in which you go left. quilt

Mathematical universes. Scientists have debated whether mathematics is simply a useful tool for describing the universe, or whether math itself is the fundamental reality, and our observations of the universe are just imperfect perceptions of its true mathematical nature. If the latter is the case, then perhaps the particular mathematical structure that makes up our universe isn’t the only option, and in fact all possible mathematical structures exist as their own separate universes.

So, our universe is probably just one of an infinite number of universes making up our reality. And whether it’s a bubble, a brane, a patchwork square, a daughter, or an equation, in this reality, Aristotle expressed it first.

Relationships…they’re harder than they look

EbookCover“More from the Masters,” the companion book to “Escorting the Dead” is finally here. This book can help you understand why you do some of the things you do, why you seek out the types of people you do, and how to make more love-filled choices. The book is filled with wisdom from the ascended masters regarding the different types and levels of relationships that we create during our lifetimes, and how each of these relationships affect the experiences we have. It is a compilation of discussions and explanations that (hopefully) will help you gain a new perspective to and understanding for the complexities of human relationships and how to cope with them.

They explain how life is an intricate pattern of relationships, which we weave into and out of our lives with every choice we make. They also speak about how our choices are based in love or fear (love’s opposite), and how we can help ourselves overcome the fear to make more love-based choices.

To find out more about this book, or any of my other books,check out my page at Goodreads or Amazon.com.