All writers have a process that allows them to create. However, the art of "Writing" is often mistaken for that "Process." Hopefully this blog explains the difference, and inspires people to develop their crafts, become writers, or just keep on writing.
Friday, March 15, 2019
What Stands Out?
Actually, James was the driver texting. James let his car drift into the other lane. James almost killed the other driver.
Now, not every story has a hook like that. Some stories are fairly straight-forward, and the twists and turns are largely expected. This is when the writer needs to think about what makes this story stand out. Something in there makes it special, if not different, and that's when the writer needs to target that feature.
I know a lot of people (myself included) who have written about their parents, spouse, children, friends, etc. They tell a story, they express the events and emotions, and bring it to a conclusion. A nice, well-rounded story. If they wrote it to put their feelings into words, then mission accomplished. However, for those people who really want their readers to remember these people, they need to find that one aspect that makes the character stand out.
Is every person memorable? Well, not really. Some people just fade into the background, not standing out in any particular manner. However, if they are the subject of a sketch, a short story, or a novel, then there better be something standing out - even if it is just how unimpressive they are. And once the writer figures out an aspect that really speaks to the reader, then it is their responsibility to drive that point home.
In the example above, I did not offer any details about James. The part that made the story stand out was that he was at fault for the accident. So to make that story stand out, I explained the story in a manner that suggested James was the victim of someone else's negligence. I never said that directly - it depended on the reader making certain assumptions. So, all along, the story is written to make the reader think James was innocent in all this. None of that stood out at the time. However, when the reveal hits, all of that preparation makes that one moment stand out. It was all a deliberate set-up to bring out one point, and hopefully it will not be forgotten.
Think about what really needs to pop in a story. Think about that one point, and make sure you take every opportunity to set up that moment. It takes time and effort, but when it pays off, your story will stand out, and the characters will be remembered for it.
And don't text while driving. Seriously - we spent the entire 20th century not texting and driving, and things worked out. Waiting until you get home shouldn't be a problem. For James's sake.