When you’re in a crowd of people, how often do you stop to look at a random person, who isn’t doing anything particularly interesting, and think, I wonder what that person’s story is?
We all have a story. Our lives are their own story, with a beginning, middle, and end. A plot, filled with subplots and twists.
Every person you see, whether in a crowd, or in a stock photo, or in a film production as an extra, has a story. A story that you might find interesting, or one you could learn a valuable lesson from. But isn’t it so easy to just look at people you don’t know and think nothing of them instead? Most of the people reading this post never have and never will meet me in person; I wonder if they ever ask themselves what my story is. I wonder sometimes what my readers’ stories are. I think, What series of events led these people to land on an article I’ve written and made them interested enough to read it?
Market research and statistics might be able to answer that question. Maybe it was the title of the article, maybe it was because they’ve read something of mine before. You can narrow things down to ‘how the brain responds to intriguing titles’ or whatever, but in the end, people are still people, not cattle. Therefore, I wonder. I wonder if these people have a similar life story as mine, or one much different. I wonder if they’ll read my works again, or if our paths will never cross again after this.
Young, old, short, tall, fat, fit, ugly, hot, blonde, brunette…. Whoever we are, we all have a story. We have struggles, we have perspectives, we have dreams, and we have regrets. We have desires, and we have needs. It’s more than just a philosophical fact that we all are part of a story; it’s an opportunity to broaden our life experience.
This fact about life is part of the reason I love A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) so much. It’s a fantasy series written just like real life, where one story is united by multiple characters stretched across thousands of miles. Sometimes their paths cross, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes characters get to meet, sometimes they only hear about them. This fact about life is the primary reason I wrote my first and second novel, Remnant and Resurrection from multiple points of view. Life doesn’t revolve around just one main character. Our lives, and life in general, has many main characters. Some of us choose to be in the foreground, some choose to blend in with the background. But we are still there, interacting with each other, impacting each other’s lives. Some of us are forced to be in the background, but we are slowly working our way into the foreground.
It’s this very fact about life that makes me continue to be in love with writing. No matter what story you write, there are always characters in that story you can write a separate work about; you could write prequels, or sequels. Life, and existence as a whole, is a story of stories. Characters aren’t always human, they can be animals, or other living beings, or perhaps something that’s not alive at all, like the story of the formation of our solar system or the story of the dinosaurs.
Of course, obviously not all stories are interesting, but I think we often limit ourselves with what we are interested in. You might realize there’s something you never thought of, something you never knew you’d like, or something you never thought you’d get to experience, all from knowing another story than your own.
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