Monday, October 8, 2012

What's Your Story?

I love doing Google searches on topics I'm interested in. If I'm doing research for school, I try to be as specific as possible. If I'm doing research for my own interest, however, I like to be just the slightest bit vague. Why? Because you never know what you'll find that can seem irrelevant to your topic yet turn out to be spot on.

Storytelling is, of course, a passion of mine. As a writer and a Creative Writing major, I've chosen to build my life around stringing words together to form imaginary worlds what will tantalize a reader and, hopefully, get him or her thinking.

This morning, I found a great article on the importance of storytelling on a marketing website. It's an older article from (July 2008), but I loved the information the author, Simon Kelly, gives. Though he's discussion creating a story for your company, I thought the information was sound for writers creating stories and novels.

In summary, Kelly states that in the growing online market, companies need to seriously think about what their story is: what are they trying to communicate to the consumer, what message are they trying to get across, what narrative does their product tell. In other words, how can your product or service grab the consumer and refuse to let go?

As writers, we face this question every time we sit down to write. What are we trying to communicate to our readers? Is there a deeper meaning behind our humor or horror? What message are we tying to get across? Most importantly, how can our words, our story, grab the reader and refuse to let go?

If you're having trouble finding your footing in your current WIP, ask yourself these questions. Uncover the WHY behind WHAT you're doing and you'll be better prepared to handle errant plots and uncooperative characters. If we the authors don't know what we're trying to say, it's going to be very hard for our readers to interpret our meaning. They'll get bored with us and probably refuse to pick up another of our stories. If, however, we can uncover the deeper message in our work, we are free to write about anything. Through the guise of fiction, we can ponder deep truths, tough issues, or terrifying possibilities. I'm not suggesting we preach; that's not what we're here for. I'm merely offering that we consider our stories, mine them for the wealth of deep content they all carry, and allow ourselves to fashion our stories around something deeper than just "once upon a time..."

After all, all fairy tales communicate some moral truth, even if it's disguised behind three little pigs, witches that cook up little children in a stew, or evil queens who eat the hearts of fair maidens.

Happy Columbus Day!

**Source Link (Author)ity: The Importance of Storytelling by Simon Kelly


  1. I'm trying to say send me Hot Tamales. Don't think it's working though.

  2. nice...i agree...i think we have to be very conscious of what we are trying to convey...and your readers will let you know if you hit it or not...

  3. Good point. All stories have some kind of meaning meaning.

  4. it makes an enormous difference in my enjoyment of a story if the why, or the uncovering of the why is prominent. too many writers focus on the what and it leaves an emptiness.

  5. Some really valid points here , Jen.
    It brings to mind an important point made by a writer... our characters have goals, we know that. But you need to answer the question: deep down, what does your character REALLY need? It will lend a fresh perspective to the writing of the story.

  6. Great post, and the fact that you got there from an article about corporate ads says a lot. Sorry, that sounds snarky...It's just that I got my Masters in Organization Leadership reading about how corporate America was going to solve the worlds problems because their CEO's were the gods for the 21st century. It was a waste of a degree, and the promise they spoke of 'to value all employee's', bogus. So, that being said...loved your piece and yes writers, I think for the most part do communicate a truth. I know I try too, even though it's fiction doesn't mean it does not come from a personal place, experience or truth.
    Gosh, did I just bend your ear.
    Sorry, but thanks so much for stopping by. I really enjoy your thought provoking blogs!


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