At the moment I am reading the book ‘Story’ by Robert McKee; a book about structure, substance and style and the principles of screenwriting. It was recommended to me by one of my fellow cursists. Even though I am not halfway into the book, I have learned a lot already and I can recommend it to anyone who wants to write a good story.
I must admit I was dumbfounded when I read a passage that said that some writers reach this ‘mystical point where all of a sudden the characters jump of the page and make the story happen.’ ‘OMG,’ I thought, ‘that’s what happened to me!’ Only to be demystified immediately by the explanation that it is purely the result of the writer being over-saturated with knowledge about the story. I had become a ‘god (not with a capital, mind you) in my little universe’ and it was the result of all my hard work. I wasn’t happy at all that this experience was de-mystified for me, for I was sure it had been a sign I had a gift and had to become a writer. Fortunately, being compared to a god (even if only in my little universe) sort of made me feel good again.
I’m not sure about the ‘hard work’ mentioned, as I didn’t do much active research into human relationships. Unless you count the numerous (human) relations I have had, but these were not planned. I did notice that when I got stuck in the story was when it was not about human relations. Cars and planes and motorbikes are not my forte and I hope that this isn’t too obvious in my stories.
So, I have lost an illusion, but gained some crucial advice: when you want to write a story, you need to know every aspect of it inside out. Who are your characters, what is their past, how are they feeling, what is the setting? If you know these things by heart, without thinking, and you have some imagination and sort of know how to write a story, then your story may happen as if by magic!