Knowing a Story vs. Finding the Story through Exploring


Introduction: The Power of Stories

Some painters see the painting before they start; others painters can't visualize the finished piece until they sketch it. From the ancient tales passed down through generations to the latest bestsellers and blockbuster movies, stories captivate our imagination and hold the power to transport us to different worlds, but the writers don't always see the complete piece before it's done. The stories entertain, educate, and inspire us. But have you ever wondered about the distinction between knowing the story and finding it?

We delve deep into the profound impact stories have on our lives and how our personal connection with them can unlock their true potential. Our connection to story transcends mere consumption and invites us to actively engage with the narrative, unearthing hidden layers of meaning and connection that enrich our understanding.

By embracing the art of storytelling, we can not only be passive recipients of tales but active participants in their creation and interpretation resulting in a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

2. The Difference Between Knowing a Story and Finding the Story

There is a distinct contrast between knowing a story before you start and embarking on the exhilarating journey of finding the story through exploration. It's often called "plotter" vs. "pantser;" when we know a story with a surface-level knowledge of its plot, characters, and perhaps some memorable moments vs. needing to immerse ourselves in its depths to explore the story's elements.

When we set out to find a story, we become adventurers, charting unexplored territories of the imagination. We embrace curiosity and open ourselves up to the possibilities that lie beyond the familiar. In this process, we uncover the nuances and intricacies that make a story truly come alive, whether we veraciously outline or fly by the seam of our pants.

Finding the story requires active engagement, allowing us to become participants rather than passive observers. It entails reading between the lines, questioning assumptions, and embracing ambiguity. Through exploration, we uncover the underlying themes, unravel the complexities, and uncover the universal truths that lie within the story's fabric.

But the fabric of the story is what you make of it. Will it follow the traditional Hero's Journey, go through the stages of kishōtenketsu or the Snowflake method? Do you even know what structure the plot will take? Will it look like a familiar Freytag Pyramid or resemble the Seven Point Plot Structure?  

3. The Joy of Discovery: Unveiling the Hidden Gems

I am not a plotter. I am by definition a Pantser. I find the story by writing it. One of the most rewarding aspects of finding the story through exploration is the joy of discovery. It's like embarking on a treasure hunt, where each clue and revelation brings us closer to uncovering hidden gems of wisdom and beauty.

I vividly remember stumbling upon the ending of my novel Life Between Seconds, knowing only after I had written it the story had to end that way. But I did not write it at the close of the narrative. I wrote it about midway through the story, but I then understood where I was writing to. I had an end-goal in mind. It was a hidden gem that touched my soul in ways I never expected.

These hidden gems can be found in various forms—a lesser-known book with a profound message, an overlooked piece of art that speaks to our hearts, or a forgotten folktale with timeless wisdom, the earwig of an opening line we can't get out of our thoughts.

In the pursuit of finding a story, we open ourselves up to the possibility of unearthing these hidden gems. We step away from the well-trodden path and venture into uncharted territory, guided by our curiosity and intuition. It is in these moments we allow ourselves to play, we find unique perspectives, unconventional ideas, and powerful messages that resonate deeply within us and the stories we are trying to tell. 

4. Embracing the Unknown: The Thrill of Exploration

In a world filled with constant connectivity and instant gratification, there is something exhilarating about venturing into the unknown. The act of finding a story through exploration invites us to embrace uncertainty and step outside our comfort zones. It is in this uncharted territory that we discover the true thrill of exploration.

Exploration allows us to break free from the confines of familiarity and experience the richness that pushes us to new horizons by questioning our beliefs in our story and expand our understanding of its characters. As we venture into unexplored narratives, we confront the unknown, and in doing so, our stories grow.

The thrill of exploration lies in the anticipation of what lies ahead, the joy of unearthing hidden gems, and the sense of accomplishment in conquering the unfamiliar. It ignites our imagination. With each new technique we discover, or nugget of truth we unfold within our narratives, we further embrace the thrill of exploration.  

5. The Art of Uncovering: Techniques for Finding Stories

Finding a story through exploration is an art form that requires a combination of intention, curiosity, and a willingness to dive deeper. It is not stumbling upon a story by chance, it is having an entry point in mind and possibly and middle or end point to reach; the rest is understanding who our characters are, where they are, and what choices the have made, will make, or both, that makes the plot unfold the way it must.

Embrace the power of research. Dig into historical events. Uncover the inspirations your favorite works. Unravel the layers of meaning within a story or within the importance of what story means to you.

Foster a mindset of curiosity. Embrace the unknown and allow yourself to be guided by intuition. Sometimes, the most profound discoveries come from stepping outside our comfort zones. Instead of writing the boring bits, skip them altogether. Write the moments that excite you. Write moments that intrigue you. Write the moments that can practically put yourself inside and live because of how vivid you experience them before they have reached the page.

In the art of uncovering stories, patience and persistence are essential. It may take time to find the hidden gems that truly resonate with us. But by actively engaging in the process of exploration, we can cultivate a deeper connection with the stories we write.

Embrace the Journey of Storytelling

In our exploration of knowing a story versus finding the story through exploration, we uncover the immense power and joy that comes from embracing the journey. The pain points of not engaging in the exploration of narratives become clear: missed opportunities for personal growth, limited perspectives, and a lack of connection with the richness of the human experience.

Pick up a book, visit a gallery, attend a local theater performance; embrace the unknown and the unconventional. Allow stories to shape your perspective. Connect with others through shared narratives.

What keeps you from telling your story? The power of stories is within your reach; all you need to do is take that first step. 

I can help you take that step when you contact me, no matter where you are on your storytelling journey.