There are no new stories…

Audre Lorde said “There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt.”  It’s been phrased differently time and again, but is this the basic burden of all story tellers?

I was imagining a climactic scene in my book – the United Nations invasion had begun.  Our heroes were captured and held in cells within the city of the enemy.  Visions of troops fighting terrorists and heroes struggling for their lives filled my mind.  I was excited because it was exciting and brought my story together so well.

The next morning I woke and realized how closely this climax was to memories of a movie I’ve loved since a child – Beneath the Planet of the Apes!  Minus the apes and mutants of course… I laughed out loud at the thought.  My subconscious had either dredged ideas from past memories or had made the connection after the fact, but either way, the human mind amazes me.  It is a testament to God’s grand design, and often to God’s sense of humor.

Perhaps good storytelling comes from the ability to intertwine unrelated stories – to take that which is not new and make it new through twisting and weaving, plugging unlike plugs together with creative duct-tape and magic twine.

I’ve often felt that the best stories I’ve read or movies I’ve watched were built around plots that confounded me.  When I read or watch well into a story line and cannot form a concept of how the plot will be resolved – that is when I’m most enthralled, most satisfied.  When I can sit, smiling, and say “I have no idea what’s going to happen next,” then I am hooked!

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