M is for Meh

Is there anything worse than reading through to the last line of a meh story?

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Maybe it didn’t hook you. Maybe you couldn’t bring yourself to care about the main character. Maybe the plot points fell flat, or didn’t ring true (either to the real world or the world the story created). Perhaps the progression was formulaic, predictable, or uninspired.

I’ve heard it said that there are no bad stories, only bad storytellers. If that’s true, how does one become a great storyteller?

A question we were asked to contemplate during my last writing conference was “what do you expect from writers?” This was my written reply:

I expect to be educated, surprised, entertained, and persuaded. To be filled with a sense of gratitude at being made to see something new, or a familiar thing in a new way. To be given ideas for describing or processing things that otherwise confound and befuddle.

We were next asked, “What do you expect of yourself as you write?”

To this, I scribbled that I expect to grow to write at the level of those I admire. I expect to open my work up for honest appraisal and scrutiny from others–casual readers and experts, alike. I expect to learn from what they have to tell me and to use that information to become better. I will always strive to be the best writer I can be for the readers I hope to one day reach. I accept that this will take a lot of time, dedication, hard work, and a willingness to embrace change.

What do you think it takes to elevate storytelling from meh to masterful?

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One comment

  1. Two very good questions. Feeling mildly guilty now that I haven’t shown my best work for all the A to Z posts. Your answers are good ones and expectations of yourself are good ones to aspire toward.

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