A compelling story

The heart and soul of story revolves around the characters: how they suffer, how they succeed, how they overcome obstacles, how they learn forgiveness and redemption, how they plough forward through life.
In Nancy Lamb’s “The Art and Craft of Storytelling”, we learn that “all powerful stories contain an essential core of personal truth- some essence drawn from real life that connects fictional awareness (how cool is that phrase- ‘fictional awareness’) with a writer’s direct or secondhand experience. This truth needn’t mirror the concrete world. Perhaps it is an emotional truth, a spiritual one, that resonates with the writer and forms the core of a story. Or perhaps this truth is an unconscious one, an association and motivation not fully understood at the beginning.”
I write my blogs to convey not only a deeper understanding and appreciation of the art of writing, but also to connect the world of fiction to the world of reality that we all live- day to day. Over the course of my studies of writing, I have learned that to be a good writer one must pay close attention to the details of day to day living- listening to conversations, studying the sounds of nature, turning up the focus dial to high so that even the faint cracks in the sidewalk stand out along our evening or early morning jogs. We writers learn that those details may one day come in handy as long as we recognize the opportunity to appreciate them when they come up, and store them in our ‘writer’s tool box’. In other words, we must live in the “now”, in the moment -for our readers. This way we can bring that ‘now’ or life lesson to those readers when they most need them….. in the form of a well crafted story.
“It is fiction that has the capacity to illuminate, to touch a reader on not only an intellectual level but a visceral one. It is that truth- deep and layered and passionate- that great storytellers express. And it is the uncovering of this truth- the search, the investigation, the examination- that makes a story compelling.” Nancy Lamb tells us this in her comprehensive guide to classic writing techniques.
Without the ability to create character, to enable him to acknowledge his challenge, then overcome it, we could not weave together a story that has the power to unveil a lesson, while simultaneoulsy drawing our reader deep inside. The fictional awareness we inspire allows our readers to look inside themselves or conversely, at the world around them, to see more clearly the things that once lay hidden from them.
By connecting the reader to our characters, tying her to her emotion- we enable her to grasp a fact or a lesson about war, suffering or the flaws in society, or whatever lesson she seeks, in a way that will affect her most deeply.
It is, after all, the ‘compelling story’ that we craft that delivers her sought- after lesson and it is our duty as writers to dig through the piles of life’s issues, plucking the lessons out from the waste that surrounds them so that our readers do not have to.

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