This entry is part 2 of 13 in the series Story Genius Method - Pillar

Step 2: Why do I care?

So in Part 1 I got a super basic pinprick of an idea jotted down. Now, per the STORY GENIUS method, I need to answer this ‘why do I care’ question. Lisa (Cron…the author of the book we’re following along with) went to great lengths to make sure I understood that my ‘why’ didn’t have to be perfect. It’s not copy, it’s drafting. For me, this was pathetically simple. Read it as “I care about the idea of a bow and arrow where the arrows turn into pillars because:”

It’s fantastic in a way that forces the story up to a more interesting world. Besides, the mental image of an arrow flying through the air and landing as a finished pillar is cool to me.

Step 3: What’s the point?

This next step was a bit harder. All of my short stories have been fairly straightforward with the list of must-haves as follows:

  • Believable plot with consistent internal logic
  • Protag must change over the course of the story and what he wants must be made clear to the reader ASAP
  • World/circumstances must be engaging
  • Dialogue should be concise
  • Internal thoughts should only highlight important details
  • No head-hopping (i.e. ‘seeing’ things from the view of multiple characters when it doesn’t make sense to do so)
  • No info-dumping (i.e. no long explanations of action before the action)

“Make a relevant point to better the lives of your readers” was something I sincerely hoped would happen naturally. Turns out…it doesn’t really work like that.
So after some thinking, I realized I had squirreled away a few things that I wanted my readers to take away, but never thought about building the story around them (my brain naturally caters to the other direction: build a story, and then let the characters make the point). Que more digging before I landed on:

Being right never gives permission to treat others as inferior.

I find this deliciously motivating.

I want to flesh out this story because I profoundly believe the world needs this point tattooed on all their squishy parts. I’m tired of Facebook threads between individuals who don’t listen to each other, fire their bombastic comments from the hip, and don’t give a second thought to the reality that there’s a person reading them. This is dehumanization.

…And I’ve written and deleted three paragraphs worth of why the contrary to the point is bad and ridiculous, but it’s also wildly off topic. Besides, stories work better than essays.

If you want to follow along, write down the answers to all three steps below! If you finish a short story alongside me, I’ll publish it on the site and make a super big deal about it.

Series Navigation<< Story Quest with STORY GENIUS – Part IStory Quest with STORY GENIUS – Part III >>