Storytelling At Its Best

May 17, 2012

I recently had a lovely chat with a reader who found my book via the national novel writing month website,

We got to talking on Skype, and he confessed this that I was the first author ever tried to contact. Mario is also someone interested in writing. He was surprised to find out, from reading my blog, that I was raised in East Los Angeles. He said he could recognize that in retrospect in a lot of my stories, even though as he was reading them from Catania Italy, in his mind the character’s accents were more like his than mine… He had visited the states in the 1980’s at a teen and he’d spent a summer in Los Angeles.

One of the things we spoke about was how to take that leap from giving the facts of what you want your character to do on the page, and actually getting them to do real things on the page , as Mario put it,

“That are worth a reader watching for the entirety of the story.”

And that’s when I told him that the answer to his dilemma was right there in his question. He used the word watching. And that,  I told him, is what a good storyteller is capable of doing.

Not telling his reader the facts of his character’s life. But showing them that life visually, viscerally, and physically; line by line in what he chose to omit and include.

That took us to the topic most dear to my heart. What we storytellers omit.

Edited writing, many omisions

image borrowed from Classira Draper’s website

I tried explaining that his favorite story, Going to Emergency, was an exercise in brevity. The object being, how fully could I tell Rikki’s story in the least amount of words. And the trick to it, was not to be brief and all in the first draft.

That first draft, had close to 1,800 words that I had written and then decided could be dropped to create the finished version of the tale.

That’s what turned it into the story that led him to contact me and talk about the craft of writing.

Imagine yourself writing a single story that causes someone halfway across the world to decide to reach out and speak to you about it.

Storytelling at its best. Thank you Mario.


2 Responses to “Storytelling At Its Best”

  1. Hi. Enjoyed your post. Please post a link to the referenced story. Thanks!

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