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The Mastery Path for Writers: a new way to learn the skills you need

Story Lesson 8: An Instinct for Story 2

So far we’ve been collecting material for stories from outside sources; naturally, we can also collect story-material from inside ourselves, from our memories, our imaginations, or both.

PRACTICE: Stories from within 1
Using the freewriting technique, write as many sentences as you can that begin with I want to tell a story about.... or I want to tell that story about... Let yourself just play as
you do this.

PRACTICE: Stories from within 2
In a relaxed way, write down your answers to the following questions. Try to keep your pen moving.
1. When you listen for stories you could tell, what people come to mind? Real people? People you’ve loved; people you’ve hated? Imaginary people? Whose voices do you hear?
2. What places come to mind? Real places? Imaginary places? A country/ a landscape/a house/a street/a room?
3. What things come to mind? A favorite toy? Something you spend a lot of time with? Something in nature? An imaginary object?
4. What scenes or moments come to mind?
5. What ideas come to mind?
6. Are there any stories you’ve heard that you really love?
What did you notice in doing these two practices? If you feel moved to write a story now, go right ahead!

By now I hope you are feeling excited by all the possible sources for story ideas and materials. Stories really can come from anywhere!
I encourage you to keep returning to whichever of the story-material collecting practices appeal to you, to make them a part of your writing life.

PRACTICE: reflection on materials
Take some time to reflect, on paper, on the kinds of material you have been collecting.

Are you particularly drawn to fairy tales or folk tales? Or perhaps you’re fascinated by oral history, or gossip? Or maybe you like everything! Can you envision making use of any of this material in your own work? Write down any ideas that come to you now about how you might do this. Do you sense any interesting connections between different kinds of story material? Is there anything else you have been learning about
story materials?

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