The other day I was rattling off to my husband my favorite books of 2013. These weren’t necessarily the ones I expected to be my favorites and some I knew would never become best sellers. But they were books that spoke to me and lingered in my mind for days afterwards.
So what makes a story become a great story?A picture book I love reading to my students, THE BEST STORY by Eileen Spinelli, really hits the arrow into the bull’s eye. The character in this story tries to bring in all the elements of great storytelling:
In the end, the girl realizes her story is horrible. She’s trying to put together all of those elements and it only becomes a jumbled mess. Finally her mom speaks up and tells her that the best story “comes from the heart.”
It sounds cliché, but it really rang true to me. Because we can put all the correct words down and write exactly how the manual “How to Write a Book” tells us to, but if it doesn’t have heart, if it doesn’t hold the passion, then it is nothing more than a jumbled collection of words.
So today when you are sitting down to write, put aside all the head knowledge clamoring in your mind on how to write your next scene. Instead, let your heart speak to you and write those words because they are real and alive.