Today I’m going to show you how to make the Little Miss Muffet example from yesterday better and then next week I’ll discuss some of the craft of being a writer.
How can we make it better? We could add some character. Wouldn’t it be interesting to get to know this little girl? All right let’s do that. Let’s say Little Miss Muffet is a very lonely girl. She’s eating lunch alone every day. So she’s all alone, she’s sitting on her tuffet, she’s miserable and she’s a very lonely girl. We can infer from the story that she’s probably afraid of spiders. So all of a sudden Little Miss Muffet starts coming alive to us–she’s a lonely little girl who’s scared of spiders. So she’s having another lonely lunch, and then along came the spider. Now the spider happens to be a lonely guy too. The guy is ugly. He’s a spider. He can’t get a date. So he sees Little Miss Muffet and he approaches her. Now every instinct in the spider’s body is saying take a chunk out of this babe’s leg, and yet he’s lonely. He’d like to have a friend. On the other hand this is a high-risk operation, what if she steps on him? Little Miss Muffet is like, “Gee, he’s ugly. Gee, I’m really lonely and he seems nice.” She waffles around about it for a while and then finally she screams and runs away, proving that Little Miss Muffet is more afraid of spiders than she is afraid of being lonely. It’s a better story. You learn something about her, you learn something about the spider. It’s already better.
Well there’s more you can do to a story. You can add jokes, and bits of business, interesting little events that happen. You can build more suspense. You could actually have the spider creeping a little closer to her on her tuffet. You could do a lot of things. You could add a car chase. So you could take that basic building block and that’s where you start being creative. Throw your creativity at this and come up with something really cool. Better still, you could make it relate to me, the reader. Let’s face it, that’s the kind of stories we like to read when you can say, “Yeah, I felt that way.” You could try to figure out something that means something to whomever is reading it. Try to get that across.