Friday, March 9, 2007

Depth and Story

I'm fascinated by depth in a story. Layers of subtext, symbolism and theme that weave a deep emotional experience for the reader. No one workshop or writing class has ever quenched my need to explore or understand this aspect of fiction writing. It's the part of my own storytelling I value the most. What I want readers to remember when they're standing in front of the bookshelf at Barnes & Noble, staring at hundreds of book spines looking for the one that will not only give them a great escape for six hours, but stay long in their minds. Linger like a puzzle they're not quite sure they put together correctly.

I gravitate to the same experiences myself. Movies like Memento and Donnie Darko. Television shows like Lost. All create the same mystique people crave. The thirst to go beyond the superficial social candy of a Sex in the City and answer the universal question of why we're here. Our role in this lifetime.

I believe the next trend in the romance will be not only books that cross sub genres and provide a fresh blend of experiences never coupled together, but the resurgence of depth in stories. The backlash of the romantic comedies and chick-lit. A quasi-literary tone borrowed more from mainstream fiction. An honesty that will resonate with readers looking for something more in safe folds of a great love story.

Someday, hopefully soon, this will be my niche. But what will I have to say when asked to speak or give a workshop? Can layering and depth be broken into digestible parts and taught? I certainly hope so. Someday, I hope my contribution to other writers will be the exact thing I feel so passionate about in my own writing. Maybe today is the day to start thinking about it.

What have you been taught about layering a story?

Thoughts I'd rather not ponder :: Nebraska and Kansas...don't ask.

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