How does one craft a good, compelling story? Every author will say something different, but I’d wager there would be more similarity than difference. Here’s George Saunders’s take on it.
As much as I’m a believer of outlines, what Mr. Saunders is saying is don’t be bound to them. Let the outline breathe, let the story roam around a bit. Treat the reader, as well as the characters, with honesty, intelligence and respect.
Also I must remember to show instead of tell (which I’ve talked about before). Showing is far more interesting, but it’s difficult. Character and story will come out of the action. But sometimes a certain amount of telling is required to inform the reader of important facts in a short amount of time. I try to use telling sparingly, and it’s difficult.
Write, then rewrite, again and again until the story is complete and says what I need it to say. Mr. Saunders compares rewriting and revision to “active love in progress”. And selfless love can be is scary. Giving my book to the world is downright scary.
“Do something beautiful,” Mr. Saunders says. Amen to that.