The Story that Needs to be Told--Patrick Ness

In A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness, a monster tells young Conor three stories and then demands that Conor tell him a fourth story--his own story.

The monster's first tale is about a regent (a witch who wants to marry her own step-son to keep herself in power) and the rightful heir (a good ruler who we later discover committed a heinous and unnecessary act to assure himself the throne).

But Conor is confused.

"I don't understand.  Who's the good guy here?"

There is not always a good guy.  Nor is there always a bad one.  Most people are somewhere in between. 
Conor shook his head.  "That's a terrible story.  And a cheat." 
It is a true story, the monster said.  Many things that are true feel like a cheat.  Kingdoms get the princes they deserve, farmers' daughters die for no reason, and sometimes witches merit saving.  Quite often, actually.  You'd be surprised.
-From A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness 
inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd

The story is a good one.  It's the one Conor needs to hear, even if he doesn't understand yet.

Sometimes we as writers have to tell the story that demands to be told--even if it doesn't fit the patterns.  Even if it blurs lines and breaks rules.  Even if some people will call it a terrible story and a cheat.  

Because sometimes these are the most powerful.



Melinda Brasher loves visiting alternate worlds through books and exploring this world through travel. Check out her newest article on Go Nomad:  “Hunting Mushrooms in Wallachia.”  For some free short fiction, read “Stalked” on On the Premises or “A Learned Man” on Electric Spec.. Visit her online at melindabrasher.com


3 comments:

  1. Melinda, excellent post! Nudges me to think "out of the box," which is most helpful.

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  2. Melinda, very interesting writing tip and good reminder that we don't always have to fit in the most popular mold. Write what needs to be written.

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  3. Really interesting. This must be the "advice that must be told." (-:
    Best,
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Multi Award-Winning Author of the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers including the second editions of the Frugal Book Promoter (http://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromo and The Frugal Editor (http://bit.ly/FrugalEditorKind )The latter is e-book only.for the time being.

    ReplyDelete

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