|that’s me and my sibs–the characters of my life|
For me, finding a story that I want to tell has always depended less on effort and method than on what my college teacher the poet and great translator Robert Fitzgerald called “the luck of the conception.” Luck of this type may begin with a chance encounter, a suggestion from a stranger, a sudden notion that seems like grace descending…–Tracy Kidder, Good Prose
This is a chunky chapter, covering story, point of view, characters, and structure. I found each discussion insightful and packed with helpful pointers. The section on story gives sage advice about conceptualizing your story, the importance of conflict, and discovering a deeper revelation in the telling.
The attempt to render characters in a piece of writing, to create the illusion that people are alive on a page, is so essential to storytelling, and so dependent on every other aspect of the art, that it can’t help but seem diminished by the standard term “characterization”…Great writers remind us that more is possible. (pp. 29)
When we read fictional and factual narratives, we conjure up characters through their deeds: characteristic actions and contradictory actions, behavior in moments of stress, of mastery, of weakness. Suggestions of a character’s motives may be implicit in the deeds, but many readers want more. We want to imagine that we know why characters do what they do and feel as they do. We want to understand characters in a story better than we understand ourselves…(pp.35)