The important thing, when telling a story, is to get to the truth. You probably know the old truism: There are two sides to every story.
In life, any story worth telling probably has more than two sides – probably it has as many sides as there are people to tell it. Everyone will see something different. But a story worth telling will have something true at the core – something worth telling.
Writers should try to see every side of a story. They should understand the meaning of the story for everyone – those people in it, and those people apart from it. The writer should understand each character that plays a role. What motivates the characters? Why do the characters act (or fail to act)? What is in the heart of the characters?
That does not mean that the writer should tell every side. And the writer does not need to define every character completely when telling the story. The writer must choose which side of the story she needs to tell, and then define the characters sufficiently – believably – to tell the story. The writer gives the story perspective – she defines the truth. That’s a heavy burden but that is the job that a writer undertakes. It is a worthy and noble undertaking.
I try very hard to see from all possible perspectives when I consider telling a story. I do as much research, investigation, and fact-finding as possible. I talk to people – if I can – to find the truth. It’s only fair – to the story, to the truth. But there are always limits to the facts that can be found and the time within which to find them.
Some stories demand to be told. The writer must do the best possible job with stories like that because sometimes not telling a story is an evil that world cannot bear. I did a Google search on “two sides to every story,” and found this quote:
The real thing about evil,” said the Witch at the doorway, “isn’t any of what you said. You figure out one side of it – the human side, say – and the eternal side goes into shadow. Or vice versa. It’s like the old saw: What does a dragon in its shell look like? Well no one can ever tell, for as soon as you break the shell to see, the dragon is no longer in its shell. The real disaster of this inquiry is that it is the nature of evil to be secret.
p class=”western”>“… it is the nature of evil to be secret.” Yes – some stories need to be told because not telling it would be to perpetrate evil. As a writer, I will do the best possible job in telling such a story. But I will tell the story.