What I Look for in a Story?

Writing stories requires huge amounts of mental investments. For each story I write, there is a lot that I need to get correct, for example, context. At least, that is one of the few things I look for in a story; any story—technical or not. What else do I look for? I delve the question.

Purpose

Technical and creative stories have a lot in common. For writers like you and I, both technical and creative storytelling are journeys full of experiences. The reader is our co-passenger, who, along the way, discovers and rediscovers. The reader, I believe, is also a seeker—like us. We embark this journey along with them, on their own terms, and, sometimes, in their times of dire needs. That’s why the first rule is always the most important in my eyes: have the purpose clearly defined. Having a clear purpose ensures a unidirectional flow of words, which builds a memorable experience.

Rehearsal of Fear

Despite how purposed we are, if there is still something that makes us all human, it is fear. Uncertainty, for certain, is fearful. So is lack of information. And so is misinformation. Fear has a say in both technical and creative stories. Our readers often call our stories “eyeopeners” not because the stories rehearse, relive their fears. But because stories begin with their fears and end with resolutions for their fears. Sometimes with logic and science. Sometimes with emotions and interpretations. Our stories are sources of remedies and cures for our readers.

Position vs Juxtaposition

Even if we were to know what constitutes a good story, would it be enough? The larger question, in this context, is of knowing who we are as storytellers. Would I, as the writer, behave the same way as the reader? Would you, as a reader, be equally moved (emotionally) each time you were to read a story? Like I said before, we are all seekers. Consider this: we look at the outside world to find answers to questions that lay inside us. We continue to walk the two paths of which one leads us towards finding answers and the other, towards exploring unanswered questions. Our stories must help readers seek more answers more quickly. Through the journey of a story, we must take ourselves from point A to point B. From one plot to another. From one cause to another.

Connecting the Dots

Stories are full of expressions. Delight lies at the crossroads of the seeker’s past or present: at a previously recited story (or tradition) that connects common threads. At times, even distant, disconnected stories have threads in common. In the context of technical writing, it is much like the seeker’s experience of design, which is only as good as the product and its interface, a story is also only as good as the seeker’s comprehension. In the context of creative writing, it is like reading through accounts of experiences: co-creating value. We read. We imagine or relive. We compare. At times, we imitate. We learn.

Conclusion

A thought, by itself, is like water. Despite what form it takes, it remains the same in its essence. So long as the intent is clear, our stories, too, should behave accordingly. So long as seekers continue to find answers in them, the stories remain immortal.

About Suyog Ketkar

He is a certified technical communicator. He believes that writing continues to be an easy-to-do-but-difficult-to-master job. In his work time, he proudly dons the “enabler” cape. In his non-work time, he dons many hats including one of a super-busy father.
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4 Responses to What I Look for in a Story?

  1. Arun says:

    I liked the ‘Conclusion’ the most! Lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sriram says:

    I liked the complete post. Very well written. Keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

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