Good Stories, Lonely Stories


Recently, I came across this post I wrote some time ago, musing on writing and and how it can can be intertwined with loneliness. As I re-read this piece, I thought about how in many ways there is a distinct type of loneliness that can surround our writing practices and often infuse our writing, particularly when we are working character struggles or lone characters. I made a few edits to the post, infused by a few new ideas.

Often we think of good story scenarios as being ones that have multiple characters and clear, obvious and perhaps predictable happenings. We long for happy endings even in the mire of worry and worrisome scenes.

Good stories can sometimes be lonely stories. What I mean by lonely is that the story can be focused mostly on a singular character. The cast of characters are not there, filling out a storyline or bringing more layers to the tale. Sometimes the story is a singular one. A story that is about one, single character–one single person’s reactions and responses to the world that they have stepped into or the world that feels is happening to them.

Often a singular story turns outs to be a poem. Or poem-like.

No one wants to be trapped inside one character’s mind for too long. It becomes too insular. And still there are singular stories. The stories of what happened when she crossed this milestone she set for herself but never told anyone about it. Or the story of when the world came crashing in when there was no one else around to hear or feel impact.

There will be lonely scenes when expressing these moments. Allow that loneliness. You may want to bring an outside character in to bring another insight or perspective for a moment, even if in memory. As in real life, we are so often left to figure it out for ourselves. This is lonely business.

There are still colors, light and rare shadows in loneliness, even when life is drab.



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