Sample Mini Lesson/Lecture

Creative Writing Lesson 2: Have a Point!


David Shreve

So, we have covered that for a story to be at least mildly interesting and entertaining it must have the thing it promises in the premise. In other words, it must teach the lesson or simply tell a funny joke. Another rule is it must have a beginning and ending. I’m somewhat reminded of Woody Allen hoping this beautiful thing called life never ends. As he would say best, “Death?! I’m against it!” But stories do need to end, not all stories should end with death. No! I like to think the best stories end with messages of peace, no matter what the protagonist suffered. As Spiderman’s Gwen Stacy would say, “We must be better than what we suffered.

Thus, in a way all myths, or stories, are about this or that character bearing their cross to the best and at times worst of their lives. Because really telling well balanced stories should be about more than a literary equation or broadcast news equation or ideology. It must have heart and show that heart throughout. Also, if some stories don’t speak to you that’s okay too. As my stepfather would say, “That’s why we have variety.” Or rather so many different genres. Basically, that’s why there are so many sections in the Sunday paper and so many only read their favorite section. That’s normal. In fact the only thing abnormal about a story is one with no point. One without a clear start and stop and lesson to be learned, even in broadcast news and journalism. Their must always be a point and something to be learned. Even if it’s simple.

We should also have empathy for those that don’t understand this or those seemingly simple concepts. Usually these are the very people that life has been hard for and got a lot of bad shakes, even though they have bit the hand many times while trying to do the right thing. Making them sometimes incredibly jaded. We should find kind ways to encourage those that like Frodo Baggins, from Tolkien, who are carrying a great burden. Because usually they aren’t just doing that for themselves, their doing it for everyone to make the world a better place no matter their political orientation.

That is the end of our lesson for today. The only thing I task you with doing is meditating on different stories you have run into or encountered in life, true or untrue, conspiracy or hard news. What do you have to say about it? How did it make you feel? As storytellers we must always remember to have empathy. And there’s no time like the present to develop that. No matter how old, there’s always hope. You just have to have faith and like James T. Kirk, “leap, sometimes without even looking.”


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