Last time, we talked about discovering the essence of our character. Relatedly, over the past few days, several thoughts rolled around my head that made me wonder about the essence of our story.
Or to put it another way: What makes a story idea the one we want to tell?
For any story seed, premise, or theme—such as “a character faces the consequences of mistakes they made years ago”—we could come up with countless ways to explore that idea. We could use almost any genre, setting, character, plot, or storyto express that idea.
Yet during the process of brainstorming, drafting, and revisions, we slowly discover the specific details of our story. The details that make our story unique. The details that make us excited to share our story. The details that we’d balk at changing.
Those details—the ones we’re passionate about—might give us clues about our story’s essence. Let’s take a look at three perspectives for identifying our story’s essence—as well as why understanding our story’s essence matters