Why am I telling this story?

This is a question that you’re likely to be asked at some point.

I think anyone who asks you this question is looking for a very specific link between you and this story. The more of you there is in this story, the more truthful, the more meaningful it’s going to be to you. And the harder you’re likely to work on it.

To some people ideas come and go. But a story that only you can write, that is burning inside you to be told and won’t be suppressed is a very compelling proposition. It binds you and the story together.

So ask yourself: is this a passion project? If so, what is it about it that compels you?

Perhaps it’s an idea that lives at the heart of it, one of injustice or sorrow, or joy.

Perhaps it’s an experience you lived and are desperate to share, in the way we love to tell funny stories about terrible things that have happened to us.

Perhaps the characters are people you know and want to represent. Or people who are driven by things that fascinate or amuse you.

Perhaps the world is a world you are obsessed with (in which case you should be something of an expert).

Perhaps there are some nuggets of advice or home truths you want to share with humanity.

Whatever it is that gets you excited about this story make sure you cling on to that idea. When asked why you are writing this story, this is what you tell them. But more importantly, when you are stuck in the doldrums with the story mechanics, characters who refuse to leap off the page or a plot that is dully predictable, remember what it was that sparked this story in you and find it again. That’s what keeps you going. That’s what makes it your story.

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *