As writers, we worry about all sorts of stuff: plot, pacing, description, tension, characters . . . ad infinitum. Sometimes we get so concerned about craft, we forget we’re telling stories.
Imagine you’re sitting around a campfire, lames bright against the dark. Maybe it’s an eon ago, maybe tonight. The night sky stretches above you an inky black, except for the stars flung across the void.
We’ve been finding patterns in them since the first humans looked up at the infinity. The ancients tracked their course across the skies, across time. The Big Dipper, Ursa Major, Sirius, Orion, the Pleiades. Some call the Milky Way, others the Road of the Dead, Raven’s Snowshoe Tracks, Sky Backbone or the Tree of Life. All these titles, given over the centuries, explain not only the stars in the night sky, but our world, its creation and us. What our society values, behaviors best avoided.
The story-teller’s bones are the urges to share our understanding of the world and us. Yes, then and now. And for any vertebrate, the bones are necessary. Those “other” things of craft allow us to exercise our muscles as writers. They’re important, but always the most important is the story.
So, sit down, take a look at the sky, add a log to the fire. And think about the story you want to share.