Francis Meyrick

On how to write a story

Posted on June 5, 2009


So you wanna be a writer?
If you do a search on the Internet, you will find all sorts of technical treatises on the subject of writing. There appear to be a lot of people who can tell you at great length the methodical steps you must plod along to achieve enlightenment and Nirvana. The perfect novel. The exquisite exposition.
All it takes is the ability to follow rules. If you follow enough rules -it seems- you can then break free and explode into…into…. the perfect rule book. I guess. I’m not sure. I’m not very good at rules. I have a hard time with authority, period.
Ask my poor, demented, former teachers. I’m a bit of a bird brain myself. I’m no Einstein, that’s for sure.

The first thing I have to tell you, on how to write a story, is that -truthfully- I haven’t got a clue. I’ve never read one of those writing books. Way above my intellectual level. I would be lying through my well worn front masticating implements if I suggested otherwise. I can tell you though, that it is fun. Especially if you sneak up on people.
How do you do that?

You start with a dead simple idea in your head. A picture perhaps.
A punch line. Something different.
Then you worry it around a bit. Like a dog with a bone, that turns out to be tougher to chew than puppy perhaps expected.
Then you add in a little twist. After that, you must let the readers write the story for you. All you have to do is suggest.
It’s their job to fill in the blanks. As an example, this afternoon I scribbled a story called “A Flithery-Flathery Thing “.
The operative verb is scribble. It’s not fair to waste such a portentious verb as write on such a fishy creature.
But it was fun. Notice -if you have glanced at it- that I never mentioned that I had perhaps found a solution to my dilemma.
I never stated that my search for a suitable metaphor was over. If you, dear reader, come away with that impression, then that is entirely because you have written part of the story in your head. I never said it. But perhaps, perhaps not, you filled in some gaps yourself.
One can even read a good story in a different language. Let’s assume you do not speak the foreign language in the YouTube video below. I bet you can still read the story. Your mind will fill in the blanks. That is the epitomy of a good story: one that stimulates you to mentally fill in the gaps….

This leads me on to a much more serious, intensely analytic YouTube video. No laughing matter, this one. Please pay attention now. I know it’s a trifle boring, and it gets a bit wordy with a lot of technical terms, but if you can follow the lecturer’s reasoning, I assure you, you will learn a lot about the art of creativity. This one builds on the skeleton concept in a much more academic manner, as the structural and logical foundation for a good story. Placed in a museum, a hallowed seat of higher learning, it is important to see the skeleton as your basic story idea. The elements of the story, the bones of the beast, are clearly laid out for the museum visitor. The rules require such a static exhibit to demonstrate to the museum visitor the higher ethical and philosophical implications of the existentialist perception of the static imagery. It may not be able to move -it’s dead, after all- but the museum clientele should have no problem with the essential thrust of the exhibit. The essential message, ethereal, sublime, should be capable of abruptly pricking your conscience.
This is one writer’s video I suggest you really bone up on…

Ah….. the joy of writing…

Francis Meyrick

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on June 5, 2009, 9:58 pm

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