Excavate The Inner Life Of Your Story

When it comes to expressing inner values and establishing a personal perspective on a story, opening the inner life of the story allows the writer to play on the reader’s perceptions of the characters—the motives and the reliability of the storyteller are automatically in question.

Stories within a story may disclose the background of characters or events, tell of myths and legends that influence the plot, or even seem to be extraneous diversions from the plot. In some cases, the story within a story is involved in the action of the plot of the outer story. Sometimes, the inner story serves as an outlet for discarded ideas that the writer deemed to be of too much merit to leave out completely, somewhat analogous to the inclusion of deleted scenes with home video releases of films. Often there is more than one level of internal stories, leading to deeply-nested fiction.

As a writer, you have to:

  • Illuminate the thoughts and mindscape of your characters: You have to show us what a character is thinking, what is going on inside the character’s head, and how the character’s point of view guides us into a rich inner life that is meaningful and rewarding.
  • Reflect on the thematic purpose of your story: If your story deals with ‘Man versus Nature’, you have to delicately weave this into your line of dramatic action by creating subplots. Amplify your theme without preaching.
  • Reveal the memory or history of the events and characters in your story: As your character journeys through the external plot of your story, you contrast the physical action with a rich emotional landscape that takes us into the past that informs the present.