Are you still foggy about what makes a good story great? Are you living your best story?
One of the best resource books on writing and how to live your own best story is a book by Donald Miller titled; “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”.
One reviewer said about this book: “If someone tells you they read this book and ‘enjoyed it’, or they ‘liked it’, or they think it’s a ‘good book’, maybe they really didn’t read it.”
Steve Durin said in his review; “His [Don Miller’s] premise will haunt you until you set out to discover if memorable lives, like unforgettable books, often require several drafts and a loving editor.”
Donald Miller has a way with words. Like all great writers, he puts things we feel and think into expressions we can copy down and share with others. Many things he said in this book caught me by surprise, but then it’s like, wait-yes, I have always known or believed that.
In the course of reading this book, I had to refrain from underlining my favorite passages. Not an easy task. You see, this book belongs to my friends Cathy and Melinda, and I pulled it off of a bookshelf in their apartment I have been subletting in Black Mountain, NC. So, consequently, many of the parts I thought you might appreciate, I failed to hold onto. But they have impressed and impacted my life. Like the morning fog lying in the folds of the Blue Ridge Mountains, your never the same after beholding such beauty. I know things now, and they have changed the lens I look at life through.
When I move into my new apartment in August, and lovingly unpack my books in storage, I will find my copy of this book in the box marked ‘waiting to read’ and I will underline the heck out of it on my second read through. I dare not forget.
Here is a peek into A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.
Chapter Four: My Real Life was Boring
“A story goes somewhere. Your life is boring.” I felt defensive, as though the scenes in my life weren’t going anywhere. I mean, I knew they weren’t going anywhere, but it didn’t seem okay for anybody else to say it.
Chapter Seventeen: How to Make Yourself Write a Better Story.
“A general rule in creating stories is that characters don’t want to change. They must be forced to change…the rule exists in story because it’s a true thing about people. Humans are designed to seek comfort and order.”
Chapter Eighteen: An Inciting Incident
Fear isn’t only a guide to keep us safe; it’s also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life. “An inciting incident is the doorway through which your character can’t return”. [A James Scott Bell quote.]
Chapter Nineteen: Pointing Toward the Horizon
“It’s true that while ambition creates fear, it also creates the story. But it’s a good trade, because as soon as you point toward a horizon, life no longer feels meaningless. And suddenly there is risk in your story and a question about whether you will make it. ”
Robert McKee says, “If a story does not have negative turns it is not an interesting story. A protagonist that understands this idea lives a better story.”
This book is about Don, it is about you and me, and it is all about the Writer and our future.
Donald Miller shares in this book what makes a good story into a good movie, and in the process, he learned how to live a better story himself: “And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.”
If you want to learn more about the art of storytelling, and living a better story yourself, you might want to grab a copy of this book. If you want more of the old same ole’ same ole’, don’t.