“Unexpected” Stories

Writers often tell of when their stories take on a life of their own. Non-writers might think this sounds mystical or strange, but it happens to nearly every writer. Thriller author J. F. Penn explains:

I don’t have a plot. I do have an opening scene and I’ve had an opening scene in my head for a while…That will then spark the story, but I do know that I will have these various aspects that will go into it…Then what happens is synchronicity. As I said, this is the ‘magic’ aspect that I find happens when I’m researching is that something will come up totally unexpected that makes the story work…And that synchronicity of story emerging from fascination and research still just makes me shiver a little bit, because it happens every time. Stephen King talks about the emergence of the story. That story is a ‘found thing.’ I believe that. I think I go looking for a story in the real world and then I will twist part of the reality into the thing that’s fiction.

Much like sculptors who say they are only revealing what is hidden in the rock, writers uncover stories hidden right in front of us. These are the kind of stories that readers love to get lost in. Even though they realize they are reading fiction — often fantastic at that — those bits grounded in reality blur the lines and draw them in even more.

All because a story revealed itself.

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Categories: Fiction, Writing | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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