Thursday, September 11, 2014

Moving Story

James O. Born

Today we will be flooded with stories that happened 13 years ago.  This is also a tale of tragedy and hope, but not related to the importance and remembrance of today.

Humans tell stories. Whether it is about the fish we caught that was so big it took two full grown men to pull ashore or the script we write for an episode of Law and Order. Some of us are natural storytellers and others struggle with the concept of structure, character and conflict. Some stories are funny, some stories are serious and some stories are simply moving. The key for any good writer is to identify that moving story. We often strain to find the right idea. But if we just open our eyes, look around the world as it is right now, maybe do a little adaption, we can find stories they can make the most hardened among us cry.

Here's an example of a story identified by CBS-TV and presented by Scott Pelley about a Connecticut trooper and his connection to the Sandy Hook elementary tragedy.

(When I say that this is moving, I should add it is sad. I would recommend it to anyone, but it can cause a serious emotional reaction.)

This story moved me on a number of levels: The loss, grief, the effort to move on with your life, honor and friendship. It is an encapsulation of everything a police officer can experience in one event. It's also an opportunity for a writer to ask the right questions and find the best responses.

Trooper Eddie Vann showed himself to be a superior police officer and should be an example to everyone in the profession. The producers and writers of that segment showed him in that light.

We, as writers, should strive to tell a moving story. Whether it's in news scripts, novels or TV shows. It is incumbent that you hold yourself to a high standard. You must ask the hard questions. Does this story have power? Does the character cause readers to care about them? Do the events really threaten the characters? This combination makes for a good, powerful story? 

Seeing a story like this on TV makes me proud to be a police officer, as well as a writer.

The quote today is out of the usual writing realm:


  1. Moved me to tears. Today, especially, I'm reflecting on so many stories of loss and heroism. Maybe I need a nap.

  2. james o. born9/11/2014 5:28 PM

    Today is a sad story but this one was also about hope.