Storytelling is not only the root of film, theatre, literature, and culture but of the life experience itself. The listener maintains touch with his mythic self and the truths there represented. In losing touch with our myths, there may be a danger of losing touch with ourselves. Today, in modern society, there is a fragmentation which separates most of us from our central core or soul. With all our progress, perhaps something has been lost which earlier cultures knew to value: the soul connection.
I am often asked by clients how to choose which story to write. The important guiding line is to choose a story you have a strong emotional connection with. Generally speaking, people go to movies or read in order to feel. Just remember that it is the emotional power of your story that will ultimately determine its success.
The first purpose of writing is to clarify and reveal something in your self, but the only way to do this is to get it out of yourself. The second purpose of writing is to share it with others. From Shakespeare to Star Wars, from Dante to le Carre, the way of story is a journey of discovery forged by discipline and craft. Though it is craft that transforms the initial raw inspiration into form, storytelling begins within, and is as much as part of our past as our genetic structure.
Craft alone is not enough. You need to practice an integrative approach to writing narrative, combining solid craft with experiential inner discovery and intuitive skills, to guarantee a good story along with the intangible inner dimensions of writing. The transformation of good writing depends on making it one’s own from within.
Stories written by formulas rarely move us, and consequently, fail. They are too generic, not about specific people. The challenge is to discover the meaning for your self in the story you have chosen, and then adopt the necessary form that can be meaningful to others. One might say, first, the passion, and only second is craft necessary to birth an authentic and great story.
It is passion in a relationship or marriage that will sustain it for years through thick and thin. Similarly, it is passion in a story that will sustain the writing process through the weeks, months, and sometimes years of completing the work.
It is my belief and personal experience that whenever you follow that inner guide, the world will respond, often magically.
The essence of Art is to use the outer form to convey an inner experience. This sacred thread, your innermost being or Soul, binds you emotionally to what you write, and if given respect, will lead you on to the desired end.
Stories written from this center will move mountains — and even create livelihoods.