Writing stories

The more I talk to people about writing, the more I realise that no matter how ‘Digital’ our world is becoming, it still comes back stories.

Although we are constanly bombarded by global events (the revolution was truly televised), they have virtually no context for us, these powerful images of social change flood over us as we try to assimilate them in the micro sound-bite way we have been trained to absorb data by the media. But nothing really “sticks” – perhaps it is the way our brains have adapted to keep pace with the load. I read something recently that said we are using our short term memory as a temporary data store when browsing the web, and not pushing it back into the long term. The act of reading a book allegedly has more triggers and hooks for long term storage, perhaps because it uses imagery and emotion to create a truly compelling narrative.

Which brings me nicely back to the subject today. Up until now this blog has been nothing more than a scrapbook of interesting articles that i have discovered in my research for a story. This world that i have tried to paste together from various different threads is now taking form. I have found that writing it down has led me in many different directions, not all of them great, but the sheer act of doing it has opened new possibilities, and allowed new ideas to form.

Stories used to be how we remembered things, good vs evil, what berries you shouldn’t eat. All really useful stuff that was passed down from generation to generation by word-ofmouth, then someone invented writing and we could learn about everyone else’s stories. Somehow this wonderful art form has become distorted – I want to blame Hollywood, there dumbing down of storylines has created generations of stupid spoon-fed fools. But that’s too easy. The internet has given us all a way to disseminate our stories (twitter proves this even if only with 140 characters) – the age of self-publishing has truly arrived, the old days of getting an agent and finding a publisher or gone.

So there are no more excuses. If you want to write, to tell the story that you have bouncing around in you brain, just do it. There is no correct way to do it, no amount of story workshops will really help the creative process (although it may help your grammar) – you just have to start, and then just keep going, every day, write something – even if it doesnt make sense, and more importantly talk to other people about it, dont hide yourself in a tower until it’s finished. I have had found that other people are the best source of stories you can ever ask for.

Enjoy it, if it isnt fun – you’re writing about the wrong thing!

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