The Story Comes First

I learned several years ago that “The Story Comes First.” While that seems like a simple, obvious message, this little phrase goes a long way. Some authors tell you all they know about a subject. In the process, the story is lost.

If the story comes first, then you’ll write an exciting page turner and you won’t get hung up in a lot of description – or even good character work. I’m not against solid work on character, but pick the one detail that reveals the character. Maybe later you’ll be able to drop a detail or two into the story.



6 responses to “The Story Comes First

  1. The story is the only thing. Equate writing to building a house. For a house to remain strong for years and years you need a good foundation. In writing that foundation is your story. To have any lasting effect, there needs to be a good story. Without it everything else is soon forgotten…but the story lasts forever.
    I believe that there is a strong story component to my writing. Presently, I’m involved in a “high-powered” year long writing program and have felt out of place for most of the time there, losing my writing confidence with almost every encounter. I finally realized the reason: the lack of respect for the story and an over-emphasis on character. My vision of writing did not mesh with the program and instruction.
    My suggestion to all you writers out there. Figure out what is important to you in your writing and don’t lose focus of that. For me, its story and nothing else. While there are people out there who appreciate an character arc that moves a millimeter over twenty pages, I’m not one of them. Give me a well-written thriller, mystery, fantasy, sci-fi story or a heroic memoir any time.

  2. Good advice for all writing which leads me to a question: Where might I find a blog writer contract or what should I include in one? A reputable local site asked me two weeks ago if I would be interested. I said yes and they now need my bio, photo, web page design and a signed contract. I’m stuck. Are there particular copyrights I need to include to protect myself, Ed? Or do you know of any resources I can tap into for this. Visited the Fed of BC site but couldn’t find a thing there. Thanks for any info on this, have never written for a blog before other than my own blather on my own pages.

  3. Great reminder. I am leaving out so many details (some very funny and juicy) from my life story posts just so I can get the story out. People who know me tell me, “But you missed the part when…” and I just say, yes, but I need to tell THE story and not get caught up in all these side-stories. Sometimes it;s hard to know which details and side stories are add to THE story and which ones detract from it. I guess that’s why writing is a process!

  4. i would like to take your comment one step further. The story is about people in conflict.
    The story is about a person who heads out to do something and overcomes a lot of stuff to reach or fail at that something. That’s a story.

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