Just an up front note… This is not about what makes a story worth reading, which is akin to asking what makes a painting into art. That question is all in the perspective of who is reading the story or looking at the painting. I don’t like Picasso, but that doesn’t mean his paintings aren’t art. I prefer to read fiction, that doesn’t make non-fiction into something not worth reading.
But I digress…
So, what is one writer’s opinion about what makes a story worth writing?
I’ll give you three words: Passion. Persistence. Obsession.
- Passion: strong and barely controllable emotion
- Persistence: firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition
- Obsession: an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind
Writing, like any art form, requires the person to be driven, requires us to have an uncontrollable need to see the story through to completion. The writer themselves will have a strong desire to know what happens at the end, just like a reader.
The story I’m writing now started as a draft prologue in 2009. I used to just write poetry, but I suddenly had the need to write an intro for an idea that was rolling around in my head. Now, life intervening the way it has a tendency to do, after that intro I didn’t do any writing at all for quite some time. However, when the rest of my world slowed down and my creative side started itching, I went back to the story I had started all those years ago.
Now the story keeps unfolding before me all the time. I’ll get ideas for characters, towns, pivot points and tangent stories all the time. I carry a notebook with me all the time specifically for my story. The best part? My story makes me happy. It makes me happy to know that I’m creating something all my own, all original. It’s something I want to see through to the end, not something someone told me that I had to see through.
What makes a story worth writing? A story is worth writing when it becomes a part of what makes us who we are. When it begins to drive us beyond the bounds of our own limitations. When the need to finish the story outweighs the energy and effort required. When the story produces such a strong sense of purpose for ourselves that others can sense it and are moved by it as well. A story worth writing will both invigorate and exhaust a writer. However, once the mountain has been conquered, the view is great.
I believe everyone has a passion they are obsessed with and should pursue with relentless persistence. What’s your story worth writing?