The Perfect Story
Did you ever read a book you absolutely loved? How about a book you hated? How about a book that gave you both feelings, confusing you so much that you had to keep flipping pages, wishing the author had done some parts differently, and amazed at how they did others?
If you're a writer, it's because you love stories. Words, characters, plots, everything. Because you not only have the ability to get lost in the story, but also the ability to create the stories that your readers will get lost in.
We don't think about it often, but when we sit back and really think about it, we writers have a whole lot of power.
In all of the books and stories you have read, the stories other minds have made up, have you ever read what you would consider to be the perfect story?
I haven't. Every single book I've read, no matter how much I loved it, has left me with at least one part that had me saying “I wish they had done that differently.” In the mind of the writer, they probably viewed it as the perfect story. But that doesn't mean we do.
But we have the power to do just that: To form the stories we wish we could read.
As a reader and a writer, we tend to take a different approach than just simply reading the book. We read, get lost, but when we come across something we don't like, we, well, sometimes yell at the author . :)
Why did they have to let that character die? Why did the plot go in this direction, when going the opposite way would have been so much better? Why does this character even exist? The list goes on. We read our favorite stories, then end up wishing we had been the ones with the pen, just so we could have done it differently.
Well, we can.
I don't mean that we can steal stories and fix them (that sure wouldn't end well!). I mean that as we read stories and gain a list of what we like and don't like, we can shape stories of our own
The ones we would want to read.
You think you're the only person who wishes that character hadn't been killed? I'll bet a great deal of your fellow readers put that book down wishing the same. The only difference between you and them is that you can do something about it. The experience with that character affected you, (whether or not you realized it), and because of it, maybe in your story you'll let a similar character live.
It works that way with even the smallest details. You've read hundreds of books, and each one of them shaped how you prefer to see each element of a story. Maybe you loved how one author wrote dialogue, but didn't like their character description. Maybe you found your preferred method of dialogue in another book, but hated their plot structure.
Each story brought more likes and dislikes to your portfolio of writing, and each read shaped who you are as a writer today. Even before you thought of writing, your mind was programmed as a writer and did the work for you.
When you write, your reader's mind is piecing together the best parts of every single book you have ever picked up. All the while your writing mind has sifted through everything you didn't like, and has taken what's left and created what, in your mind's eye, is the perfect story.
That's one of the reasons why I started writing. Because all the years that I had been reading stories – liking some, hating others – I never ran across the 'perfect' book. So I set out to write it.
None of us have found our perfect stories, because no author in the world could know what we think it is. We might not even know ourselves! But there is no author that can write your perfect story except yourself. No one can form a better story for you than you can.
To every author, the story they wrote is their idea of the perfect story. While millions may agree that it is truly awesome, it will never be as perfect as it is to the author. So as an author, one of the greatest powers you possess is the power to finally write the story you've been waiting for.
That perfect book exists. It exists in you. So go ahead and write it. :)
Think about a book you have read. What did you like about it? What didn't you like? How did it help to shape your writer's viewpoint? Did it help to shape your story? Share below in the comments!