Tuesday, March 29, 2011
What Is the Heart of a Story?
Does each story have a particular heart?
I've been thinking about this lately because I've started to re-structure and re-plan an old novel, as I'm hoping to re-write it almost from scratch. I have a new vision for it, a fairly different vision, with many new parts and meanings. And yet it is, in some ways, much the same story. The same characters, and many of the same events.
So what I have to find is a balance of the old and the new, a way to combine and mesh them into something that works better than the original. And in doing that I have to determnine what it is I want to keep. Or, perhaps, what it is I have to keep.
I have to find the heart of the story.
I have to find that part, or those parts, that drive the story, that make it what it is. What are the elements that make this story? What is it about this story that first captured my thoughts? What is it that first compelled me to write it? And that draws me back to it now, years later?
I think there's usually something particular. A character, an event, a scenario, an image, a feeling... it's probably different for everybody. And perhaps it's an amalgamation of many things. But I keep getting drawn back to the idea of what it might be that compels me to write a particular story. What's the heart?
What about you? What is the heart of your stories? What compels you to write? An image? A character? An emotion?
Also, the book trailer for my friend Jessica's upcoming novel, String Bridge, is now out. And it's awesome. Really, give it a listen and a watch. You can find Jessica Bell at The Alliterative Allomorph.