Mar 3, 2013
It's a powerful word. It's a sense of classification. It can make your hopes rise or make them plummet to the ground. When I hear the word significance, I tend to relate it to myself. Am I of any significance? What is my significance in life and to others? Do I mean anything?
Okay, so maybe I'm an oddball who thinks weird things like that. Honestly, I do that everywhere. I'm the kind of person who will try to figure out why vampires hang upside down (A. No, I have never watched or read Twilight. B. Yes, I have come up with a theory for this.). But I've been thinking about significance today. And as with all things, I thought about it from a writing perspective.
What is the significance of our writing? What's the point? Why are we reading this side of the story? I mean, after all, I'm sure there were a billion other things going on in The Lord of The Rings even though we followed a select group of people. Why is our selection of characters significant? Why is the story that we see the significant one? What is the significance of the set period of time? We could follow your main character's life and age eight. Why is age sixteen more significant?
Take Divergent for example. This is a popular series right about now that I recently got around to reading book one of. Why do we follow Beatrice? Why is her part of the story significant? We could've followed her brother. He learned about the things going on that Beatrice did (excluding a few things. I'm sure he learned some stuff she didn't, too), but in a different way. He was in a different place. He had a different story.
What makes the character cast we choose more significant than others?
That's what I'm pondering today. Is my selection of characters the right cast for my story? Are they the most significant? Even if they aren't, why is their level of significance important to my readers?
Namely, why am I following them? Why am I following this section of this story? Why any of this?
I don't have a quick fix or an answer to any of this for you. But really, if it's not significant to the reader, what's the point of reading it? Why waste our time?
Are we writing what we should be writing? Is our significance level the right one?
And better yet: How do we make our stories more significant?