clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Monday, December 3, 2012


At left is the second of Australian Shaun Tan's work I've purchased in the past year.

We talk a lot in writing groups of characters and plot development and publishing and obstacles. We talk little about story. We just assume that as writers we all have good stories.

I wish that were true.

The first thing we are as writers is a story teller. ( yes, I broke the compound intentionally). There are times we could use a little reflection on that duty. They story has to interest the reader. The plot, the language, the characters all come into play but the core - the story - needs to be of interest.

Getting a jar of mustard from the store can be a good story if you are a good storyteller.

Shaun Tan is a good storyteller. He uses words and pictures. They go together for him had-in-glove. The volume pictured here has a delightful piece entitled "The Lost Thing."  I also have purchased this year Tales from Outer Suburbia. "The Arrival" is a especially interesting tale in that volume.

The hook builds gradually. The twists are exquisite. The resolutions are hopeful.

I suggest you find one of these and look at his integrated storytelling as an example of the fundamentals we too want to capture clearly in our work. 100,000 pages is no excuse of obtuse text, muddled narrative or shoddy character desire. Good writing comes in many places.

I especially like asking questions of a water buffalo who lives in the overgrown lot at the end of the block. He indicates the way to the resolution of our needs by raising one hoof and pointing. We all can use a water buffalo down the block to help us in our text.

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