Tag Archives: Telling a Story

It Begins With Passion

The kind of passion family and friends accuse us of being obsessed about because we neglect them at times. We’ve stayed up too late meeting a deadline, finishing a thought, or tweaking one more sentence. Fellow writers are the only ones who understand. We follow and friend each other for support and higher social media stats.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Harper Lee’s interview by Roy Newquist, from his book, Counterpoint (1964 by Rand McNally): “Writing is a process of self-discipline you must learn before you can call yourself a writer. There are people who write, but I think they’re quite different from people who must write.”

Why do we do it? Because a passion to tell a story rose from the depth of our souls, a character from our imagination became real. We hear them screaming for help because we left them in the middle of a disaster scene when real life interrupted.

We share our WIP with others, “wanting honest feedback,” but not really. Upon hearing the truth of flat characters or disjointed, lack luster plots, we spiral into  despair. We pout, eat chocolate, and stare at the delete button, anticipating life as a normal person.

But we can’t—passion to tell the story compels us back from the brink to try again. We sigh and take a fresh look, apologize to our Protagonist, and complete the journey because we must. Maybe someday our family and friends will understand and love us anyway.

The Natural Shape of a Story

Truman Capote was asked in an interview by Patti Hill, “How does one arrive at short-story technique?”

His answer applies to novels as well: “Since each story presents its own technical problems, obviously one can’t generalize about them on a two-times-two-equals-four basis. Finding the right form for your story is simply to realize the most natural way of telling the story. The test of whether or not a writer has divined the natural shape of his story is just this: after reading it, can you imagine it differently, or does it silence your imagination and seem to you absolute and final? As an orange is final. As an orange is something nature has made just right.”

My source for this quote and the full interview can be found at:

http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4867/the-art-of-fiction-no-17-truman-capote