Shaping The Story

From Stephen Koch’s wonderful and very useful Writer’s Workshop.  He was a professor of mine at Columbia University.


“In Chapter 1, we pointed out that the Latin root of the word invent means “to discover.”  Writers do not make up stories. They find them.  They uncover them; they discover them.  Sometimes they find them in the real world.  Sometimes they find them in the depths of their imaginations.  In either case, they invent stories by finding them and, conversely, they find those very same stories by inventing them.  Which comes first?  That’s the elusive part—the interplay between making it up and digging it up.  Your imagination will not always know the difference.”


I find it incredibly helpful to remember and remind myself that stories don’t come out of thin air, that they are discovered. Koch’s book is enormously insightful.  I recommend it to all writers and teachers of creative writing.


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