Monthly Archives: September 2013

On Writing: What Makes a Good Story?

Recently a friend of mine (we’ve been friends since college) went on a vacation.  She visited a lot of historical places, had her picture taken in front of a multitude of statues, and went to several museums.

These are activities that she never does when she is at home.  I will invite her to a new exhibit opening at a local museum, another friend will ask her to go on a historical home and garden tour, and she almost always turns us down.  The once or twice a year we can get together for a visit we inevitably end up going on a shopping trip instead to stores with eclectic goods or antiques . . . Or furniture shopping  . . .  Or somewhere that sells shoes . . .

“If you don’t like museums here, why do you go to them somewhere else?” I asked her.

“Oh, I did a lot of shopping, but I wanted to do stuff that was interesting so I could tell people about it when I got back,” she replied.

I found this idea fascinating.  My friend felt that she had to do things she did not really enjoy in order to have a good story to tell about her trip when she returned.  This is an attitude that I have noticed in others as well.

However—is it really necessary to go outside your own interests/experiences in order to have a story to tell?

What is mundane to us might be wonderfully exotic to someone else. 

What is interesting to us might also be interesting to our audience.

We just have to give it a chance.

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