Once upon a time, a little boy moved around quite a bit. His family was on a life altering adventure from the chilly shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean, to the foot of the Rocky Mountains. With change all about, he made up stories for himself and his little brother to help ease the tension of the new places and faces. The boy would tell tales of kids taking the helm of giant sailing ships, soaring the seas of centuries before, battling pirates and monsters and winning the day. As with the kids in the stories, the boy and his brother would overcome the real world adversity they faced.
Well, that sure seems where it all began for me. And when I ran out of original material, the real five-year old me would read comic book stories out loud to my two-year old brother. I had to get better at telling stories, as my audience grew to three brothers, and visiting cousins and eventually friends at sleepovers or scouts on a camping trip. A storyteller never wants to let down the audience, regardless of size.
I was able to utilize elements of those first stories in a screenplay project for a class. Some of the concepts still work, some of them need a lot of work, but that is the essence of storytelling. Edit and improve and hopefully with that experience, I will tell better stories along the way.
Apparently, I am not alone in wanting to do this writing thing. Research over the last few weeks, exploring the writer Universe around me, revealed that there are hundreds of websites, Twitter feeds, Facebook support groups, organizations from one coast to the other, all to help the writer in me, or you. One of the messages among the reports about writers in the modern day claimed that over sixty percent of the people in England want to write a book. I think that number sounds small.
We all have stories to tell and we do it everyday. Whether it is about having to deal a dork in traffic, or a horrible customer service experience or perhaps finding a rare kind human in line at the driver’s license bureau, these adventures are in turn retold to our family, co-workers or some poor soul stuck next to us on the seat of an airplane on a four hour non-stop flight. We love to tell stories. I don’t mean relating facts in order as things happened, oh no, that is kind of boring. We add some color, descriptions, some projections upon the characters observed in these ritual retellings and perhaps some humor or added tension to transform the experience into something more than what it was.
Now write it down, edit it a bunch and sell it off as a short story. Not as easy as hanging at the water cooler and talking about a near tragic traffic experience or finding the most shiny silver dollar ever made on the floor of a bus station, but it is a potential starting point.
The immense number of humans writing and creating can add to the doubt dancing at the back of the mind of anyone attempting to write something entertaining. However, I dream of a perfect world where we all take our turn at the campfire, relating our life adventures to each other, or just making something up to scare me, or confound me, make me laugh, or the best yet, make me think.
I am glad there are a lot of people looking to tell stories. I hope whatever my unique perspectives and voices are, that they are enough to entertain. Or at the very least, when whispered or read quietly in the dark, offer some comfort and distraction away from the daily adversity.