For one hundred days, I’m going to post a writing tip each day. I have a whole bookshelf full of writing books and I want to do some reading and increased studying of this valuable resource. This will help me keep track of anything I’ve learned, and help motivate me to keep going. If anyone has a favorite tip of their own to add, contact me. I’d love to put it up here.
Today’s tip – What’s A Story?
Source – How To Write A Damn Good Novel by James N Frey
An expanded definition of story now would be: “A story is a narrative of events involving worthy human characters and consequential events.” This definition is good but still not complete. What is missing is that the characters must change as a result of conflict. If a character waltzes through a story unaffected by the events and sufferings he sees and endures, then the narrative of events is not a story at all, but merely an adventure.
A complete definition, then, is: A story is a narrative of consequential events involving worthy human characters who change as a result of those events.
In a writing class I took once we spent a lot of effort debating the question, “Is that a story or not?” At the time I wished that someone would define exactly what a story was. The class consensus seemed to be, “I don’t know what a story is, but I know one when I see it.”
That isn’t good enough. In the years since them I have been searching for a definition. Today’s tip is as good as I have found.