Thinking about stories

Friday, July 13th, 2018

I am quite literally surrounded by books and stories a lot of the time. At work, and at home, I do a lot of reading and lately, I find myself thinking about stories a lot. What makes us want to tell stories? Why do we like, or even love some stories, and not others? What is it about this author’s writing that brings the magic for you, where this other author just seems to fall flat?

As a reader, what makes a story keep you awake when you know you should be a responsible adult and go to sleep? Or try, anyway. Is the a fast-paced plot? Are fantastical elements a must-have, or do you prefer your fiction firmly based in reality? Murder mystery? Science Fiction?

What is it that first attracts you to a story? Is it the cover? The author? The blurb on the book jacket? What keeps you reading? What will make you decide to not finish the book?

I get far too tangled up in my own head sometimes, so I try not to follow these will-o’-the-wisps too far down the winding path, because too much thinking, in my world, very likely means I’m not writing. Mind work is definitely a big part of my process, but it’s more dreaming, or imagining, than thinking. There are periods of quite intense daydreaming and playing with ideas, and they can last quite a long time, then all of a sudden, as Nate puts it, there’s this mad burst of productivity. I think we have a similar process that way. Genetics maybe? Or maybe that’s how it has to be when life is as busy as ours are – you do the work some people do on paper, in your head and then steal some time to craft it into something tangible. In my case, a script I can hand over to Nate. I’ve never really been one for extensive outlining and drafting, though I am challenging myself to try.

When I start thinking instead of dreaming and imagining, then I know I need to unlock some creative time for myself, because when that happens and I stop and become aware, I’m almost always letting the stuff of life and creative nerves, get in my way. Not that stories and what makes them wonderful aren’t perfectly lovely things to ponder, but sometimes sitting down and just writing is exactly what I need. And really, the stories will never be something that keeps someone awake and reading all night if they’re never written.

Chapter Four is very much on my mind these days. There’s someone new I can’t wait for you to meet. The process is in progress. More soon.


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