Third Element

Dear Readers:

One of the first things I heard in writing class was there are four things that make a fictional story successful. At the top of the list is clever plotting followed closely by development of fascinating characters, both which can be created following defined formulas. The third element is more elusive. One creative writing teacher called it voice while another described it as mood and a third said it’s best called style. No formula works here because it doesn’t appear to be something a novice author can grab by the throat and throttle into submission. You are born with it. It is between your ears in the “little gray cells” you flex to conjure fictitious things, making them seem real as you scribble them onto the page. It is a combination of one’s background, point of view on life,  level of sophistication, and amount of poetic versus cold, hard facts preferred. I know I am not suited to write mysteries, science fiction, or fantasy if they involve dark motives and threatening settings. I much prefer the story that unfolds without explosions, expletives, or endless uttering of vulgarities. I am glad my first tale is one of two naive young women learning about life’s intricacies during the Great Depression. Now I just have to perfect the fourth element and get this show on the road. The plot thickens.

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