Same Song, Different Verse
By Cait Collins
I love to read, and the more I read the more I see how many ways there are to tell a story. Several years ago, I took a creative writing class taught by New York Times Best Selling Author, Jodi Thomas. I really enjoyed some of her writing assignments. For example, we were told to write a story about a shoe on the side of a highway. When the stories were read, we became aware of all the different themes and genres. One young man wrote about a guy trying to escape his girlfriend’s house before her husband got home. In his haste, he drops his cowboy boot. His story was so funny.
My serial killer mystery focused on the maniac’s calling card…the right shoe placed beside the open driver’s side door. Each car was parked along cliff road. The story was the basis for my first screenplay, Rhymes.
We are taught in writing classes and in writing manuals that there are a limited number of stories: man against nature, man against himself, man against man, and coming of age are among the themes. And yet book stores and libraries are full of books. So how do we manage to fill the shelves when there are so few stories? It is because we have unlimited imaginations and viewpoints. All it takes is applying our own twist or spin to the theme and we have a story. While I may see a mystery, my classmate saw comedy. Another found a memoir. And another wrote a romance. One story line…a shoe on the side of a road resulted in twenty different stories in different genres.
Amazing, isn’t it?