On Creative Writing
Every story breaks down to this essential statement. But how can one sentence sum up a novel length story? Consider Wally Lamb's 800 plus-page novel, I Know This Much Is True: An angry, resentful brother feels obligated to keep his schizophrenic twin out of harm's way. In Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code: A man under suspicion must solve a murder that is shrouded in ancient Christian ritual. In Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita: An aging professor is obsessed with a troubled girl.
Let's go back to Mary and her mother.
"Who is Mary's mother? What's her name?"
"Her name is Adele," you say.
"And what does Adele want?"
"Adele has what she wants. She wants Mary to be dependent on her. She wants to keep her that way."
The problem with this story goal is that it is reac