I haven’t posted here in forever, and ‘I have felt oh so guilty’.. But I didn’t know what to write. I used to write about personal thoughts and feelings but I’ve been feeling very reluctant to share. I’m back now because I am finding out and teaching myself a bunch of things about writing, and I know it will be helpful to other writers out there.
Today, I want to talk about the SOUL of a story. I don’t know if SOUL is the right word but that is what comes to mind. One thing I’ve learnt so far is that one of the most important elements that great stories have, is the element of reality. No matter how crazy the idea of the story seems, if it doesn’t feel real, the reader will have an eyebrow raised throughout their time with your book.
When it feels real however, it becomes their reality for the time they’re with your book. They become nervous when your characters are nervous, scared when they’re scared, and sad when they’re sad. Your characters become their friends, their sisters… their family.
I’m working on a new book and I’m being very very careful because what I want to say through it means the world to me. So with every direction I take with the plot, I ask myself these questions: Is this real? or is this me trying to make drama happen?
I have learnt the hard way that drama doesn’t guarantee a great story. I started to pay a great deal of attention to the stories that have literally floored me, and torn me apart, and I realize that the magic about them is not the drama. It is the characters, and their story. There are as many stories as there are humans on this planet so you have to ask yourself, what makes a story worth telling? What makes a story worth putting in a book or bringing to the screen?
When you have the answer to that, the drama comes out of it- the emotion, the reality, the lessons, and all the other simple but amazing things that make a story a great one.
There is a great difference between a story and a bunch of events thrown together, just to amaze the reader.
So you have to stay true to the core of your story. What is it about? What are you trying to say? You don’t have to know how its all going to play out but you must definitely know what you are trying to say, what thing of importance is drawing you to create.
When you get this, you must stick to it because it becomes the soul of your story. The soul of your story might be one that doesn’t involve or require massacres of villages, or blowing up cars for no reason. It might involve just the deep emotional complexity between human beings. If you think that has little to write about then go look for a Korean Drama entitled “Another Miss Oh” and see just how much human emotions can bring you to your knees.
If something out of premise like a bomb blast where to happen somewhere in this story, as an audience, my eyebrows will rise to space and remain there because I will not be able to believe that. The story has nothing to do with destroying buildings. There are greater things at stake.
I hope I have been able to convince you and not confuse you on the importance of premise in stories. LOL. I wish I could expand with an example but this blog post is already way too long. If you need further explanations, please request one below so I can make another post about it.. Hope you’re all working hard on your dreams.