Living good stories doesn’t come naturally. Maybe, somewhere deep inside of us, we know that our story is important, and that we don’t want to throw it away, but at the same time, left to our own fear and uncertainty many of us would settle for a safe, mediocre story. What does it take to live a good story? Why are some stories engaging while others are not? What can we learn from reading good stories, or watching them on film, about how we should be living? We want to talk about those elements of story.
Over one year ago, when Darrell and I started Prodigal Magazine, we did it because we wanted to hear your stories. We had already heard so many of them — in the body of an e-mail, on a Skype call, at a conference in Chicago, in our car, or over a wobbly table at a... read more
I am sitting at the kitchen table trying to write this post and my husband is in the living room, wrestling with a tangle of wires and cords, attempting to organize the octopus that is our entertainment center. He sighs in frustration, pulling plugs from power sources, tripping over himself and jamming his toe in... read more
“So, are you headed home, or headed away?” I don’t particularly enjoy flying. I always fly coach class. And flying is a big hassle. But when I finally find my seat, I don’t bury my face in the SkyMall catalog. I don’t pull a book out of my backpack or start a crossword puzzle or... read more
In good stories, characters are put through the thresher. They go through hell and back, and it’s no coincidence that’s what produces character. That’s why Kurt Vonnegut encouraged writers to be sadists: “No matter how sweet and innocent your characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are... read more
“My mom is dying,” she told us. We were in a small coffee shop outside of Chicago when we met her for the first time. She was quiet and unassuming. She looked down at her cup of coffee while she told us the devastating news, the thing that was closest to her heart. She was... read more