Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lesson Learned #1 - It's all about story

One of my main goals with this experience is two learn about writing, and about what it takes to produce winning writing.   In that respect, I am starting a series that will catalog the lessons I've learned.   It is brilliantly named "Lessons Learned."

In our first installment, the moral is IT'S ALL ABOUT STORY.

Yes, you must follow contest rules.
Yes, you must be creative.
Yes, you must be original.
Yes, your work must be well crafted.

Those things, by themselves, while they make an eyebrow or two raise, won't get you the title.  Story is king.   I learned this lesson in a contest I wrote for On The Premises.  I really enjoyed the piece I put together, but it didn't make a top ten.  OTP offers a review service, and I paid for some feedback.  Turns out, that my concept was pretty unique, and the story was well crafted.  There were two problems with it, one of which was that it wasn't much of a story.

So where did I fall short?  What constitutes a story? 

I don't think that it has to be a formulaic thing.  (characters + crisis + change = story).   I think it is more fundamental.  A successful story will be one where things happen that require reactions.  The story I submitted was more of a chronology, with really only one main thing happening and there was a noted lack of reaction.

A story succeeds when the reader's experience has them wondering what will come in the next sentence.  

If the story succeeds, then when the reader takes a second glance, the creativity, the craftsmanship, and the artistry will be even more appreciated.

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