Author Skill Set: Story Sense

“The universe is made of stories, not atoms.”
                    -Muriel Rukeyser

Storytelling is probably the oldest form of entertainment on the planet. Stories play significant roles in the human experience: It’s how we learn, share, persuade, plan, dream, communicate, and make sense of the world. Indeed, the human experience IS story.

As technology has evolved over the years, new forms of storytelling have emerged. Books, radio, recordings, movies, video games, and electronic media each offer a new way to experience story. Whatever medium a storyteller chooses, a strong story sense is essential. Story sense, in my head, means this: the ability to create a satisfying story arc with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Many people have an innate sense of story, but I believe it is something that can be learned as well. There are many books about the theory of story structure, which are quite interesting. However, it comes down to that critical word, satisfying.

As I wrote my first novel, I rearranged the sequence and the pacing and the order of the scenes many times. I kept asking myself, “Is this the right way to tell this story?” Even after reading said books regarding storytelling theory and structure, I wasn’t sure. When I changed the question to “Is this a satisfying way to tell this story?” I was able to feel confident about the choices I had made about my story structure.

What are your thoughts about story sense? How is it strengthened? How is it weakened? We’d love to hear from you.

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