Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Good Story is Hard to Put Down

Have you ever written fiction? I haven't, but I want too. Jamie Jo, writer and blog host at IRL*, told me recently that writing fiction is what is hot in the publishing realm. A good story will take you places where nonfiction can't. It has staying power. To Kill a Mockingbird I remember from high school...I can vaguely remember some of the words from the titles of the nonfiction tomes currently stacked up beside my bed.

Fiction can keep you transfixed. It can travel deep into your soul, leave its mark, and perhaps rearrange a portion of your heart. And isn't that the intended outcome of your cross-cultural service? Could a good story, concocted by you, get you over the threshold and into your intended audience's heart?

My biggest hang-up in writing fiction is coming up with an actual story. I don't feel real imaginative in crafting a complete story from beginning to end. However, I get hopeful about this when I hear authors talk about how the story often writes itself. Hmmmm...sounds like I need a magic pen or something. Maybe all I need is a little courage to go beyond what I think is possible and challenge myself with something new.

What if we all (yes, even you Ms. Bible-Study-Writer) thought seriously about writing a fictional piece?

Would you have it in you to write a short story?

Could you put on your imagination hat and start dreaming of a new world, with a few colorful characters, and a great storyline that would convey an idea you have been wanting to share with your friends in the country you are serving?

Through my research I came across this about developing a storyline. Robert McKee, in his book, Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting, gave this helpful tip for testing out a new plot:

Next time you're out with a friend, ask him or her if you can tell them your new story idea. Halfway through, make an excuse to leave the table. When you come back, start talking about something else, as though you've forgotten all about the story. If your friend interrupts to ask you to finish, you know you have a winner. If your friend instead seems relieved, definitely think twice about your story idea.

Let's start there.

P.S. If you are a published fiction writer and would like to help us out with a few informative posts (like writing dialogue), I'd love for you to contact me, Cindy Blomquist, WOTH Editor: editor@womenoftheharvest.com . Thanks.

1 comment:

Ellie said...

If someone does write in about how to write dialogue better, let me know. That is what I struggle with most as I write. (And I need to write dialogue since I write some studies to be done in a drama form.)


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