The Keys to Storytelling

Over the past few months I’ve been questioning what it is I write about. I say horror and Dark Fantasy but, for some reason, that’ snot entirely true. Well, the genres are but the essence isn’t quite there.

In most of my stories, if you’ve read them, have a lot of style and entertainment but little to no substance. I mean, writing theory is easy to understand. You know, character development, establishing wants and needs, coming up with goals for the character, etc.

The hard part is implementing it.

Since there are so many books on writing theory and each facet of writing individually, it becomes difficult to get to the essence of being a writer. We all know the essence of writing is to give others something (happiness, entertainment, information, etc). But, what is the essence of being a writer? What is the essence of being a storyteller?

The answer to these questions depends on the genre you write in, it isn’t the same for every writer. Since I write horror and dark fantasy/dark fiction, I would say the essence of my writing is learning to embrace the darkness. Not looking at the dark as evil but as a friend. In life, it is the darkest hours that show us who people are as well as who we are, and it is because of those times that we discover things about ourselves we would’ve never thought we possessed living an easy life.

So, discovering that, I’ve also found that the keys to storytelling are obstacles and substance. Obstacles being the action/adventure/conflict and the substance being the morals/ethics/lessons learned.

I find these two to be the keys because that’s what every book on writing points to, this is the essence of what makes characters and stories feel real and relatable. These are universal to any genre because without them, your story is just black ink on white paper.

So, a suggestion: When writing your first draft, focus on obstacles. Focus on making the story as fun and entertaining as possible. When revising, ask yourself how you can add more substance to it. On the second draft, focus entirely on substance (character development, motives, lessons learned, etc).

My theme is embracing the darkness.

What’s yours? Comment below!

Alright, that’s my spiel. Til next week. . .

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