Skilful story artists, whether novelist, lyricist, poet or screenwriter, create a deeper, more profound truth using ‘the lie’.
Where does that ‘lie’ come from? In my experience, it percolates in the heart and soul. They take an idea which impacts me deeply, then bubble and boil away until a character, a situation, or a plot emerges, combining to symbolise the heart of a story. My current work in progress centres around the issue of domestic violence.
Using a succession of ‘what if’ questions, using all the empathy and imagination I can muster, I come up with the bare bones of a number of storylines and plots.
From there I research and brainstorm the subject, fleshing it out using a combination empathy, imagination and personal experience, stories I’ve read, heard, seen played out in the lives of others: friends, family or reports in the media, movies, songs until a series of scenes and scenarios emerge.
Distilled over a (usually long) period of time, what I’m aiming for is a blueprint I can use to tell the story of my main characters using their goals, motivations and conflict to concentrate the emotions involved. They struggle, in my current story, against domestic violence, while others see it from all sides.
My aim? Creating empathy in the reader, telling a cracking story which helps them think about and understand the issues and see how people deal with them. The ‘lie’ which, I hope, reveals the truth.