I already wrote this article about a half hour ago, and guess what? I accidentally deleted it. Oh, yeah. I do that a lot. It was really good. Very insightful. So, now, I'm sitting here. Still fuming. New cup of coffee on my desk, though. Another cigarette lit (yes, I'm a bad girl). And I'm thinking about all those great words of wisdom I had in my brain, and they're all mushed up and scattered, so I'm going to start over. New article, same idea.

The truth in writing--what does that mean? Do you ever read a story, short or novel length that just sticks in your brain like gum in your hair? I have. I do. I read them not all the time, but sometimes. And those sometimes are what I live for. The truly great stories are ones that leave you with a take-away message. That message, that answer to one of life's questions, one of the universe's mysteries are what propel me forward in life. It's like food. I eat it up, I meditate on it, the message changes my world view, forever. 

I love these kinds of stories. I love them so much I decided to investigate how they are accomplished, these tiny jewels, these words strung together just right, just so poignantly that we bow our heads, slip them about our neck and wear them till we die.

So, I googled. I scoured the net. I spent hours on blogs, agent's websites, stared off in the distance. I went the whole nine yards to find out what makes a great story a great story. This is what I came up with...tell the truth.

Tell the truth in your story and you have weaved a tale with a take-away message that people can't forget. 

What kind of truth? Your truth. What do you believe in wholeheartedly? What is in the core of your being? What can you see that no one else can see? What belief keeps that blood pumping in your veins? Find out what it is and write it. It can be cloaked, it can be metaphorical, it can be hinted at over and over as a motif in your work. Whatever and whichever way you do it, do it. That's the whole secret to great fiction writing. Giving the reader the secrets of your self. There is no greater or lesser (for that matter) mystery to a great story than that.

If you're like me, you've got a ton of unfinished tales stuffed away in your desk drawer. Those little stories that get half way completed and then dropped like last weeks left-overs hiding in the back of your fridge (okay, well, maybe some of you throw out your medical experiments, so feel free to use whatever analogy you want here). How about those short stories that are so great you wonder why, why, why, bloody hell, why is no one buying them? Bring those puppies out and take another look at them. Give them a real scrutiny while looking for the words you never said. Those words you thought someone would laugh at or roll their eyes at. I bet you, I just bet you those were words of truth and needed to be said. 

All writers write because they have something to say, but more often than not we don't ever say them. Fear, our inner critic, our parents, our siblings, our spouses all hang over our poised pen in spirit form whispering, "don't write that, people will know". Whatever. Someone out there needs to know. Someone out there needs that take-away message, your take-away message. Who are we writing for anyway? We write for them. The reader. The person who gets us. That person needs to hear your truth. 

So go ahead and write, and write truly.


 


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    Sydney Wright

    Apocalyptic sci-fi writer, mother, wife, designer, and seeker of wisdom and truth.

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