Friday, May 10, 2013

Guiding Principles For Drafting A Story

A few guiding principles are operating while I’m drafting a novel. These aren’t overt. They don’t sit at the forefront of my consciousness. They run quietly and almost invisibly in the background while I’m doing my work. Here they are, in no particular order:

         1) I want to make this story interesting to me. I figure I’m a lot like other people—if I find it intriguing/engaging, other folks might be interested, as well.

         2) I want to empathize so deeply with my characters that I can understand why they do what they do (even when I’m appalled by their actions).

         3) I want to love all my characters. (see # 2)

         4) I need to create dramatic scenes (with temporal action and dialogue) as well as narrative summary.

         5) Usually I get lost in the story before I get found again and figure out exactly how the story will unfold. Getting lost is good! For one thing, it means that the story has put its spell on me.

         6) I shouldn’t be afraid of what’s odd, weird, or different about my story, how it departs from the conventional. Most memorable art has something odd/unusual at its core.


  1. Wow, words to live by. I especially like #2! Glad I found your blog.

  2. A great list. My fave is #6. In general, fear for me is a huge factor. Get over it, and create art. Thanks!

  3. 3. was profound for me. Thanks!!!! :)

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