The 100 Years from Now Story

Thursday, June 14, 2012
What are you writing that someone will want to read in 10 years? In 50 Years? In 100 Years?

We all write grocery lists for ourselves, trash as soon as our shopping cart is full. To-do lists are crossed off and tossed as soon as you can. A letter or email lasts a bit longer, but the pleasure in these is usually short-lived. The results of our writing can be short-term or long-term. But we hope that something we do is longer lasting. The idea is scary: what could I write that someone would want to read 100 years from now?

Like Ray Brandbury's Fahreint 451, we want our stories to be the ones people choose to keep in their hearts. How do you write for posterity?

Passion. First, find something for which you have passion. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson was written over 60 years ago, but today we recognize it as the beginning of the environmental protection movement.

Emotion. Find emotional connections to others that will resonate with the time and period in which we live. Charles Dicken's story, "A Christmas Carol," is about the poverty of his times and how stingy characters can be turned around. But it's also a timeless story of the power of love to change a person. Look for strong emotion in your life or surroundings and trust that those emotions will resonate across the years.

Voice. Most important, be who you are. Write it your way. Who cares that first person POV, present tense apocalyptic stories are popular. If you write in verse, then write in verse. If you write in 3000 word chapters, do it. If you like jargon, dialect, do it. Or, like Hemingway, maybe you tend to write in simple sentences and vocabulary. What tpics do you love, what storytelling techniques turn you on?

Practice. Of course, saying that you need to use your own personality and voice doesn't let you off the hook. You still need to practice and learn and find ways to write stronger. It may modify your working methods and voice some, but hopefully, you'll find ways to satisfy general aesthetics about writing, but with your own twist.

I like watching shows like HGTV's "Design Star"or any of the other competition shows on these days. Because so often, it is about Voice. You'll hear the judges say things like, "Show us more of who you are." "We want your take on things, not just an imitation of other people."

It's a struggle to be original. Judges urge contestants to relax, to be themselves.
If you want to be read a hundred years from now. write something true to only you, something that no one else could have written.

What is that story or piece of writing that you have been scared to write because you didn't think you could ever write? You should do it. No one else can. And it's just possible that it is the one thing that will still be read 100 years from now.


Anonymous said...

"Bradbury" "Fahrenheit" "topics" "now, write" (comma)

LuAnn Schindler said...

Darcy, when we cleaned out my grandmother's house when she moved into a nursing home, we found a trove of letters she'd kept from my dad. He would type a letter once a week and she kept all of them. Even found the letter where he told my grandparents my mom was pregnant - with me! I read many of them and even in letters, there was a clear voice. It told alot about my dad and his perspective.

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