What’s in a story?

When a writer begins a new book, what elements do they want to incorporate into their story: adventure, fantasy, romance? – the possibilities are almost endless. Of course it does depend on the genre, but for the purposes of this post, I’ll go with the genre I write in, which is YA urban fantasy.

The Silver Flute Trilogy

This is the genre I’m most comfortable with; I’ve always found writing in other genres extremely hard.When I tried, it became so onerous that I considered giving up writing. Rather foolishly I’d taken the advice of a well meaning friend and tried to write about “real” things. Well, for those who have the talent to write in a more realistic style, this is fine, but all I managed to do was bore myself. I also unwittingly copied the style of other writers and therefore had no voice of my own and readers recognised this and probably thought, “same old, same old.”

One of the essentials a writer needs, in order to write well and engage their readers, is to write what they themselves would enjoy reading. If you hate what you’re producing, how can you expect others to like it? This realisation came to me somewhat late, as I struggled to produce “realistic” stories and failed miserably. They were hackneyed, incoherent and quite frankly, crap! Why? Because I rushed through them as fast as I possibly could, diving for the finish line at the speed of light. Again, why? The answer is simple. I despised what I was doing, but the urge to write, even during this dark period, persisted.

I continued to love fantasy, but even that palled after awhile. They all seemed very much alike, with heroes fulfilling their destiny by fighting dragons, or dark lords, and so on. I hasten to add that there’s nothing wrong with these elements, there’re some great classic fantasy writers, such as Robin Hobb, who uses all these ingredients, really, really well. Her books, The Farseer Trilogy, whilst containing magic, dragons, swords and sorcery, are created in such a way as to make them standout in a sea of similar elements contained in myriad other novels. And that’s what I wanted to do. I still wanted to write fantasy, but I wanted to do it in a different way. 

I stumbled on for a few years, lurching from genre to genre, never really finding my writing life purpose, until I was introduced to YA urban fantasy. It was as though someone had switched on a light! At last I could see past the fog that had filled my head for years. There was a glimmer at the end of the tunnel and I ran towards it, arms outspread to embrace my destiny! Yes, I know, I’m being a bit dramatic, but it was a wonderful moment for me when I realised I’d finally found my niche 😀

So, to answer the question of “What’s in a story?” In my opinion it should be a writer’s heart, soul, and above all, their love. 🙂

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One Response to “What’s in a story?”

  1. Reblogged this on Creative State of Mind and commented:
    Write what you love!

    Like

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