The name of the game today is Getting Back in the Game.
And if you haven’t guessed, this is Elijana’s author talking. Ellie Mae is sleeping off a massive story download hangover that happened last night while I slept like a babe.I’m sure she’ll be up and moving around in a day or two. None the worse for wear either.
So I posted the other day about change and the layoff from the mundane job. It’s all good. I’m doing well. Hanging in there and regrouping. I’ve had a lot of interesting thoughts about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (aka, writing). I’ve also had some interesting discussions with another author (Qwillia Rain) about the writing gig. In particular, what is your core story.
The fascinating thing about a writer’s core story is that it’s… well, inherent to the writer. It’s a natural part of who the writer is. It’s the story you (the writer) have to tell at your core. It’s also the type of story that (I’d guess) 9 times out of 10 resonates with you as a reader.
As I see it, your core story as an author is more than a theme or premise. And no, I’m not an expert, just observant and I like to think a lot–so maybe that makes me an expert in my own deranged thinking. But so we’re all on the same page with my insanity, I’ll explain (define) what I mean by theme, premise, and core story.
Premise is your story concept. It’s the what if. The story idea. (At least the way I see it)
Theme is your… well, theme of the premise. It’s a more generic description of the story premise. For example, I get a premise (an idea) for a story… it’ll be a character who does something. Or is acted upon by a life changing event. The theme of that story idea (premise) is… oh let’s pick one out of the hat… Redemption. So every scene in the book you write has a theme… it’s about your main character striving for redemption, but the structure or lay out of the book plot is based on the original premise or story idea you had–it’s the what brought your character to the point where they can now be redeemed.
Then we’ve got your core story. Your core story as a writer is the mixture of theme and premise. It’s the natural philosophical viewpoint of you as a writer, the natural flow of creativity from your writer’s toolbox to the written word. In other words, it’s personal. To you as a writer. And now I’m gonna wax philosophical. So grab a cup of joe, kick back, and enjoy the demented musings of another round of psychobabble…
Okay, a core story is something that is natural–isn’t necessarily learned. It’s the type of story you like to read. It’s the type of story you like to write. It goes deeper than a story concept, but is a part of the story ideas that you generate. It’s a vital essence to your voice. Your core story isn’t just a coat you can put on to any story structure… no it’s embedded in your story structure in a natural way. It enhances and illuminates the theme of the individual story you work on. Did I mention that being true to your core story is what enhances your writer’s voice? That when you’re writing your core story you are in a cycle of inner writer rejuvenation? That as you write you are naturally refueling your inner writer’s well of happiness?
Or have I lost you? It’s okay, I’m barely making sense to myself today so if I’ve lost you, then no worries. I’ll give an example–well, I was planning on doing the example anyway… so here goes.
I have a core story. It has it’s own structure and when I am brainstorming plot, the plot structure that comes out has my personal core story embedded in the plot. What is my core story? It’s about birth and rebirth. The theme that naturally works with this story structure (and one that resonates with me as a reader of multiple genres) is self empowerment. Now that you know my core story, can you guess that I can come up with gads of story ideas that fit into this mold? You better believe I can. Because for me, the stories I love best are those that describe the internal growth of a character where that character starts off his or her journey seeing themselves as unworthy but then they have their eyes opened and… whammo, they now see themselves as worthy and empowered by their own inner essence and power.
For those of you who know me personally, may know that my favorite (hands down) hero in a story is J.R. Ward’s Zsadist. This hero has an incredible inner core and he goes through a series of births and rebirths as a person, but his inner essence (the incredible hero that the reader knows and sees that he is) is never changed… but instead is fostered and blossoms into the incredible honorable warrior that he has always been and by the end of the book not only does he see it, but he embraces it and can (and does) share it with the rest of his world.
So that’s me and my rant on core story.
It’s more than a coat on your story plot.
It’s more than a genre.
It’s the natural essence of what you write.
It’s what makes the difference in your writer’s voice between humming and singing.
Do you have or know what your core story is?
And now I’m off to clean some more at the house.
Take care and happy writing, everyone!