By Cynthia Coate Ray
Last week Liz Cratty gave us the recipe for a story: an interesting setting, an interesting conflict, and an interesting protagonist. Of course, being in possession of an excellent recipe doesn’t necessarily make us excellent cooks.
Sure, there are techniques, rules and form. We can talk about grammar, diagramming sentences and character arcs, but those are not the story. Even when we add them all together with setting, conflict and protagonists and antagonists, those are no more the story than a woman is only muscles, bones and hair.
So what is the special something that goes beyond the parts and pieces to make beautiful and compelling stories? What makes it whole? What is it that breathes life into the story? It can only be the writer. Each of us has a powerful magic that resides deep inside of us, alive and waiting to be released in words. The magic is your own way of looking at the world.
The particular story can only come through you-you and no one else. Sometimes we are afraid of that power, of owning our truth. It can’t be validated by anyone else. No one can tell you what it feels like, what it looks like or how it should be.
We are told to embrace what makes us unique, strange, weird, and special. Our very brokenness-that is where the power is. That is where the magic is. That is where the story comes from. Light reflects through the facet of a jewel. Your story reflects through the facet of your soul.
So to be a good writer, learn the recipe, and then forget it. Dig deep into your magic core and let it flow through your fingers onto the page.