I have a tag: Fibber, Fabricator and Teller-of-Tall-Tales. That, to me, is three things that give the person who reads them some indication of what they’re in for. An account that may or may not be truthful, honest, or even possible.
A storyteller invests a lot of things in the story. There may even be a germ of some great truth, or high-flalutin’ morals, or even facts, but these things are not the most important elements of story.
So, what is?
Three things: E-R-E. Emotional connection, Relatability, Ease of immersion.
I’m not going to explain what they mean in terms of story. You know. I read stories and it’s what I want. Whether it’s a quick read, or a deep read, or a tome on map-making in the first Century AD. I want the world around me to disappear while I delve into this new world, become part of it, and live within its bounds.
It’s always three things. Born, Live, Die is the biggest of the three things, and of course, lots of other things happen within those zones, but it’s what counts. I didn’t make this up – it’s all around, a pattern of occurrences. It’s not new, not something I use to control my stories or what’s in them – it just is. The three Acts.
The pattern can be built upon, it can become five or more, but the basics, the best way to feel it and understand it – is in three.
And that’s how I got to the stage of overcoming my ‘flu-induced writers block. The power of three.
When I was a bit crook (Australianism; if you don’t know it means sick as a hairy black dog), I tried to keep writing. Nothing happened. The brain read the same sentence fifty times and received no comprehension of what should happen next. Shrug. I put the storytelling away for a few days (okay, three weeks).
When I came back to it, the same storm of words wasn’t there. I got nothin’. Blank (seen a lot of this on the e-world lately). I did some scene editing – okay, that still works, but in a limited sense. It didn’t spark any forward propulsion with the WIP.
Big trouble. So, what to do when big trouble has you by the throat?
Pull out the beat sheets.
As an exercise in [don’t say it!] creativity [see, it wasn’t futility], I lasso little ideas from the ether and create beat sheets. If I can’t fill most of the points in the beat sheet (I don’t always have a theme or story-line at this stage, but …), I put the story away (in the story-wheel) and start another one.
And this time, I did beat sheets for all the genres I don’t write in: Romance, Historical, Western – and several of them got to the point where I started doing scene-outlines. Three full scene-outlined stories in genres I don’t write in (yes, I read them). A little bit of excitement lit up the sludge of grey-matter.
I wrote an intro scene to each of the three. It was exciting. Maybe I could …
Stop. The road-block was gone. Why waste effort on stories that wouldn’t get my full love and attention? Smile. I went back to the WIP.
Nothing sparked. Maybe it brought back the psychological connection with pain and illness? But …
I started another story. A darker story to fit the fear of losing a good story – in my passion-genre.
A new WIP. And I wrote the beat sheet, and the scene outlines in a flash of inspiration (less than an hour). And the first scene was – well, pretty bad, but it was done. The spark remained; the mind played with scenarios, with options, with direction and motivations.
Hey, guess what? The Fibber is back. I’m back. The stories are back. I can stick that label back on my forehead: Fibber, Fabricator, and Teller-of-Tall-Tales. Storyteller.
Welcome home, I say.
Don’t have a proper title yet, but let’s call it ‘Picquet’ and see what happens.