HORROR FILM EXPERT SHARES THE MAGIC OF WORDS
From Stephen King to Dr. King, from steelworker to novelist, Dr. Charles French is fearless in his pursuit of writing. He shares insights on how embracing failure is a key to his success.
SPECIAL GUEST DR. CHARLES FRENCH:
I’d like to welcome Dr. Charles French to the Special Guest segment of “Ch’i Essentials: You Change the World One Thought at a Time.” This blog focuses on mindfulness, cultivating energy, and helping people to empower themselves and their creativity to stimulate living a more rewarding life. The Special Guest segment is an opportunity for readers to be exposed to people from various walks of life as they share insights and experiences from their journey, creating a more rounded and accessible perspective on what is possible to lift the bar for all of us.
Dr. Charles French, author, editor, novelist, and Professor of English literature at Muhlenberg College, taps into his expertise in the horror film genre as he puts the finishing touches on his new novel Evil Lives After. Dr. French’s insights, perspective, and writing tips are generously shared on his blog: http://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com Check out his “Dining With Characters” and “Dining With Authors” series. Dr. French sets the bar high with a goal of writing a minimum of two novels (drafts) each year.
Mitch: What is special about you, like an attitude that propels you forward when things get a bit sticky?
Charles: An attitude that empowers me is knowing that I can do anything I put my mind to. I also have a special combination of my age (I just turned 60—which is a bit old for a beginning novelist), my educational experience, and my many years working as a janitor and steelworker. My life has not followed a typical path, and I value that experience.
Mitch: What have you learned from your failures?
Charles: Experiencing failure is one of the most important foundations for growth. Most, if not all of my failures, were self-imposed. In order to move forward, I had to confront my mistakes, think about them, embrace them, and learn what not to do to prevent repeating them. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” I quit college when I was 20 while receiving a tuition free education because I was young and stupid. I later returned to school after having worked in a steel factory for several years. I found a job as a janitor when the factory closed and went to school part-time. I became a much better student because of that experience. It has also informed my teaching in many ways.
Mitch: As a master of words, language, and writing, do you think words have consequences? How can a person use their words to empower themselves and others?
Charles: I enjoyed thinking about this question. Words absolutely have power and consequences. If they didn’t, we would not continue to read the great works of literature. If they had no impact, then neither tyrants nor leaders of freedom would have been able to create impact on history. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech is undeniably powerful and had enormous impact on society and history.
Individuals can use words to empower themselves in two main ways: read and write. Everyone should read as much as they can and then use words to express themselves, however they are able.
Mitch: What action do you want a reader to take?
Charles: I would like my readers to engage fully in embracing the characters and stories of my novels. I write so my readers care about what happens to the characters. Reading fiction helps to create empathy for other people, and I focus my writing on contributing to that quality.
Mitch: If you had a list of “best-kept secrets” you’d recommend, which would you include and why?
Charles: For writers, they should read Stephen King’s book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. It is the single best book for writers that I have read. I will also repeat my suggestion from the previous question: read and write every day.
In conclusion, I’d like to offer a “Special Thanks” to Dr. Charles French for sharing his insights on writing, failure, and the world at large as he continues to “Change the World One Thought at a Time.”
For more of Dr. French’s tips on writing, please visit his blog here: