Tag Archives: storytelling

Why am I writing a novel?

Foyles front desk

Dreams of being front desk at Foyles.

Someone once said, “Everyone has a book inside them.” That may be the case, but it’s a fairly meaningless statement. You could equally claim “Everyone has a picture inside them,” and indeed, if someone left me for a couple of hours with a paint set and some blank sheets of paper I could probably produce something that would at least give me some satisfaction, and might even elecit a few “That’s nice” comments from friends and family. However the chances of it ending up on a wall in the Royal Academy are pretty small. That’s not the point: the point is that I had some fun doing it, and perhaps learnt a few things about myself and about the world along the way.

Many set out on the path of writing a novel in a similar vein. However at some point, perhaps a few months or a few tens of thousands of words later, the enormity of the task dawns. My father, who’s work did once decorate the walls of a Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, could knock out a couple of paintings in an afternoon. By contrast, unless you are exceptionally talented, or have a great deal of spare time, it’s likely to be several years before your novel reaches a state that could remotely be described as “finished” in the sense that you have a manuscript of perhaps 70 or 80,000 words that, after several revisions and even rewrites, you really believe is the best you can make it. Continue reading

The link between storytelling and Gestalt therapy

I’ve just finished reading Into the Woods: A Five Act Journey Into Story by John Yorke, a profound and detailed study of the underlying structure that is common to all stories, whether told through film, television or print.

To recap, the storytelling process starts by introducing the basic setting and the main character, the protagonist whose story it is. The protagonist is then presented with a problem or a challenge which he or she may at first refuse, but will eventually have to face and take steps to solve or overcome. His actions may bring some success, or make things worse, but either way they bring ever bigger challenges until he overcomes the final crisis and gets the girl/boy or vanquishes the monster and is able to return to continue on his way, enriched by the experience. Continue reading