In My Words: The Love of Story & How It Should Affect Your Writing
My husband Rob and I went on a double-date last night, with our daughter, Katie Beth, and our new son-in-love, Nate. We went to The Melting Pot for dinner. Ah, the joys of fondue! And, since this was Nate's first time at the restaurant, it was even more fun to watch him enjoy everything from the Traditional Swiss and Wisconsin Trio Cheese fondues (first course) to the Flaming Turtle and Yin and Yang Chocolate fondues.
Even better than the shopping and the first-time experience for Nate and the food?
And here's the point of this blog. (It really isn't about double-dating.)
Our nonstop conversation centered on stories. Remember this ... and Does Nate know about ... and Oh, you don't know about what happened when mom had a kidney stone when she was 8 1/2 months pregnant ... (true story) and Tell Mom and Dad about the time you ...
Last night, as we savored fondue, we loved telling and listening to stories.
People love stories.
We enjoy sharing stories, whether we are the one telling the story or we are listening to someone else recount the who, what, where, when, why and how of the story.
And this fundamental truth--that people love stories--is why we write.
How should this truth affect us as we plot and write and revise our works-in-progress (WIPs)? Ask yourself:
1. Why do you love stories? Sharing stories connects me with friends and family. It's a kind of verbal give and take that bonds people together through memories wrapped in laughter and tears.
2. What kind of stories grab your attention? When someone's talking, what do they say that makes you forget all about that piece of cheesecake waiting to be dunked in the pot of chocolate fondue? When someone opens up and shares from the heart, giving me a glimpse of what they value, that's when they have my undivided attention.
3. When do you disconnect from others' stories? I have stories. You have stories. And yet we've probably all been around someone who thinks she (or he) is the only one who has a worthwhile story to share. So she monopolizes the conversation.When this happens, I mentally tune in to another station.
Now take these three questions and apply them to your writing:
- Why do you love stories? Is it because you feel connected with others? When you write your novel, are you crafting characters and scenes that your readers connect with and care about?
- What kind of stories grab your attention? Are you staying on the surface or delving into heart issues or challenges that your readers are facing in their real-life world? If you want your readers undivided attention, write about reality.
- When do you disconnect from stories? Does your story have depth? Or are they a one-character act--a monologue with minor characters who have little impact?