Writing and Shit – Part 4 – What does a story need? continued

Okay. Often what you will have written for the first sentence is something like:

A story is… a personal journey of growth and discovery involving struggle and eventual triumph or defeat’


‘..is about a character who faces a dilemma that forces them to define more clearly who they are through their choices.’

All these and similar definitions (perhaps picked up from other manuals or creative writing tutors) may, at a less primitive stage, hold true for the kind of stories you want to write.

But, frankly, I think they’re no use for getting you out of the shit.

For the moment, I want to find a way of describing a story that holds just as true for a multi-volume fantasy epic like George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones as for a two sentence short story by Lydia Davis, and as much for a cutscene in a video game as for a three panel cartoon strip.

So, we are going to put aside the first sentence, and concentrate for a while on the second. What does a story need? What can’t a story do without?

Carry on.

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