A good story can be a real killer & Your Monday Fortune Cookie, 12/30/13
What doesn’t kill us usually makes for a good story.
SNARKY RESPONSE: And afterwards, it’s best told with copious amounts of alcohol.
Isn’t it strange how often the sad stories, the difficult issues, and the painful episodes are the ones that we harken back to the most? Tragedies are infinitely more relatable than comedies. And, if you look closely at any comedy, you’ll find the funniest things are built around a moment of pain, be it slapstick or satire, someone’s hurting in there somewhere. The difference is that experiencing tragedies is more often private while comedies are public. We withdraw with sadness, but we fling ourselves outward with laughter. This is my observation and my experience.
As writers, we are lucky to be expected to break with that pattern and outwardly share both the sorrows and joys of our characters. Only if we convey the emotional depths properly can we hope to bring our readers the connection they need and desire in a good story. So, we hoard every experience, good or bad, recording the stimuli and response so we can remember it for the page. And what we don’t or can’t actually experience, we delve into our imaginations, building on the closest proximity, and creating the best facsimile we can.
So, writers and readers, take heart and this advice, when life hands you lemons, yes, you can make lemonade, but be sure that you also take notes. Someone, somewhere, somewhen is gonna ask you how you did it. Trust me.