As I have grown older I have increasingly enjoyed sticking my head above the parapet and having a good, if I hope well considered, scream.
I’m in my 50’s, I have been described, affectionately on the whole, as being an archetypal grumpy old man, and such is my pleasure in playing the role of the devils advocate, that I find there are plenty of opportunities top pursue both pursuits every day.
Sometimes though an unwelcome or unexpected bullet comes my way, and such was the case recently when a friend came round for a meal. He asked how the blog was going but then as we continued talking, he frowned.
“You have created this blog to express your views and to profile your writing.”He said to me.”But how can you write new stories when there are no new plots to tell?”
My reply to this question was to initially direct him to the hyperlinked short story table as can be seen below, a selection of free stories which I hope many of you will enjoy
Then I began thinking, are there any new stories, or any new plots for that matter, and if not what is a story writer to do?
As regards plots I can do no better than refer you to the article What are the seven basic plots from the website www.straightdope.com but is interesting to note that the number of classified universal plots seem to vary from 1-62. It is an interesting article, and one well worth reading, especially if you are a writer, but the author of this article, by his own admission, has two problems, as can be seen below
“this is the problem I have with all these schemata–first, no taxonomy can encompass everything in literature, and second, they don’t tell you anything beyond the obvious.”
I wonder whether beyond basic classification, such taxonomy matters? Granted they can give skeletal structure and overall direction to a story, but just think how many things can be connected to such a framework, and all the variations that can then occur.
I could be wrong here, as I am no expert, but as far as I can see the plot of a book is rather like travelling on a railway system. Once built and operational the train may take you from A to D by way of B and C, but it has no power to control who travels with you, or what you will experience during the journey.
Look at the picture at the head of this post. It is a painting by Sir John Everett Millais, called The Boyhood of Raleigh, and it purports to tell of a sea mariner telling a young Walter Raleigh as regards what life is like out at sea. Yet by following this link, a whole host of secondary usages enter the scene. From Satirical cartoons and literary explorations of Post colonialism, to record covers, and onto my own humble fun interpretation, this picture is a seasoned world and literary traveller, yet the painting remains the same.
So what about stories, are there any new ones to tell, and should we as writers carry on with our trade.
Yes, most definitely yes, in answer to both questions, for even in the most fleeting of moments, do not new experiences and stories lie around us on all sides?
If all life has it’s own story, just one story mind you then, if the figures are right, to the nearest 1.3 million, then there at the very least eight million seven hundred thousand living species and thereby living stories to tell. Multiply that by the number of stories written, spoken, or recorded by one person, then the number becomes ludicrous in the extreme.
So in closing I will say this. This post will be updated as new stories are written and posted, but the next time someone sees you reading a story, maybe even one of my stories, and tells you that there is nothing new under the sun, direct them to this post, or too other posts of a similar nature. I bet they’ll start singing a different tune!