Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Meaning of a Story


I’ve had the pleasure of talking with a number of people who have read my latest book, Out in the Dark by Nicola Adams (pen name), and it’s been very interesting to find that the story meant something different to each of them.

Some felt drawn toward the quest element of the story; Jake on a road trip to find his father.

Others were fascinated by the mental abilities - remote viewing, telepathy – of the main characters and how that influenced their choices.

And yet others were struck by the kindness and help strangers showed the two main characters on their journey.

It got me thinking about the value of ‘story’ in life and as a tool for learning. What is it that makes a story resonate with readers and why do we need it. It’s not just for entertainment or escape that we read, there’s more even if we’re not always consciously aware of it.

Stories can offer a mirror, showing us something similar to what we’re going through in life. Or stories can provide an escape where we get to live out a fantasy life, with characters displaying skills or having experiences we might secretly dream of having.

Stories can provide an alternative view of a familiar situation, from either an historic perspective or even as far out as science fiction.

All of this is why story, not quick soundbites or tweets, remains important to us. We need to be able to empathize with a character and follow along on his/her journey in order to grow ourselves.
Just like ancient humans learned through stories around the campfire. Or from traveling troubadours or a troupe of actors who taught through their songs, stories and epic poems in market squares before books, so too today we continue to learn through story. The beginning, the middle and the end; it adds something.

The classes in high school and college that stick with me even today were the ones taught by extraordinary storytellers, people who not just recited the information from the book but told a satisfying story with the facts woven in. 

Now, don’t worry, my books won’t ever hit you over the head with ‘lessons’ or talk down to you or preach at you. I strive to always write a satisfying escape from the ordinary, or to tell you about ordinary people - in historical times - living extraordinary lives (such as in Tales from the Fountain Pen).

Enjoy, I'll get back to writing the sequel!

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