My acquaintance believes himself to be an expert in his area. He reacts with some restrained disgust when he sees other professionals doing improperly, as he should. I’m the same way. Everyone I care about is like that because it’s a symbol of pride; being irritated by a friend who behaves carelessly and has no regard for the medium you both work in shows that you Give A Sh*t.
Effective storytelling is one of the things that I Give A Sh*t about the most, therefore it’s discouraging to see so many others struggle with it. I’ve mentioned it before, but in my opinion, a lot of this boils down to the uncomplicated reality that everyone believes they are capable of telling a tale.
Truthfully, everyone can tell a narrative, just as anyone can become a musician, a doctor, or anything else their imaginations may conjure up. There is no elitism involved in this; yes, some people may naturally be better at telling stories than others for a variety of reasons, but there is no special lineage or genetic makeup that will turn you into a brilliant storyteller. You only need to put forth some effort. Keep your disgust reserved for those who are sluggish and unwilling and who have no regard for the creative process. The only thing you should show beginners is kindness.
It’s not a story to say, “I went to the grocery today.” It’s getting there, but “I went to the store today, and on the way back, I had a flat tire” isn’t quite a story. The opening of a narrative might even be interesting: “I went to the shop today and on the way back, I got a flat tire. A guy pulled over like he was going to help me, then he shouted something I couldn’t make out and raced off, like something had terrified him.” When something happens that piques the imagination, a tale begins to take shape.
You have undoubtedly experienced this process yourself as you learn to write. You stopped at “I went to the store today,” when you were five years old. You’re undoubtedly producing better, more nuanced writing as your life goes on. You are steadily improving, however it isn’t a linear process—tonight I was reminded of some outstanding writing I’d done as well as some stuff that made me cringe. You don’t have to add a pound to your weightlifting every day, but over the course of the weeks and months after you begin, you should ideally be adding 10 pounds here and 50 pounds there.
When we write stories, we pick up little hints, techniques, and techniques that make our stories come alive. When I set out to write this essay, I intended to write about just that. However, in laying the groundwork for how we get there, I unintentionally wrote an entire essay on “how to tell a story,” so this is now that.
As we grow, we begin to steer clear of hazards without even realizing it. Bad authors frequently try to keep things under wraps, especially when it comes to horror, which is a typical error. Many of them choose to write in such cryptic ways that it is impossible to follow the plot because they are unaware that anxiety is the precursor to horror and that setup and punchline cannot coexist. A story loses its appeal when it becomes so opaque that nothing makes sense.