Six curious things I believe about stories


1 Stories exist in their entirety before we start writing. They live on the astral plane. It’s up to us to usher them onto this plane.

2 Stories want to be on this plane. But only on their terms.

3 All stories have a face. But they’re tricksters. The first face they show you might be a ruse, a ploy designed to pique your interest and lure you in. Spend time with a story and its true face will eventually appear. It’s like rubbing steam off a mirror. The true face might surprise you. It might even scare you. You think the story cares? 

4 If you try to tell a story in a way that doesn’t suit it, the story will sulk. Some people take this personally and call it writer’s block. That’s bullshit. The story is sulking, that’s all. Be patient. Persevere. Find a way to appease the story and you’ll be a team again in no time.

5 Stories will tell you what they need. But only if you listen. Ignore the needs of your story, try to bully it or force into submission, and you might end up with Frankenstein’s monster.

6 Stories are wild and distrustful—at first. They wait to see how committed you are. They wait to see if you’re genuine. Stories enjoy testing your mettle. Accept that and push on.


2 Replies to “Six curious things I believe about stories”

  1. Oh my goodness! This is so true. I have discovered that writing stories are a journey of discovery. And you are spot on, Jen, when you say that they sulk when you are trying to make them do something that they don’t want to do. But, oh, it is so much fun when you start to see their true face peaking out from behind a curtain and you are able to coax it into the light.

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