The Power of Story

…there was a young girl who had a passion for reading and dreamt of one day writing her own stories.  She grew up lost in the woods with Mole, Ratty and Toad of Toad Hall; going on adventures in Narnia and wondering if princesses really could feel a pea under a tower of mattresses. These are but a few stories that shaped and inspired her, winding their magic like one of Olivander’s Wands on an unsuspecting Hogwarts student.

And the power of story is not to be underestimated; it is a powerful medium that touches a deep intrinsic part of us that thirsts for stories. From the dawn of humankind, we have told stories which have shaped our societies, our experience, our perspectives and our dreams. They have the power to uplift and the power to destroy. Such is the power of story.

Even the word story has significance and is influencing the world of social media: Snapchat offers it’s subscribers an opportunity to create a compilation of snaps and Facebook’s latest story feature includes a short collection of user photos and videos that tell the story of, a day in the life, of its users.

Everyone, it seems, is jumping on the story bandwagon.

Yet what are the ingredients of a really good story?  What is it that makes a story so compelling?

Over the years, I’ve explored, tried and tested formulas for story writing. I remember my first attempt at writing a Mills and Boon romance (like so many new writers) eager to get paid for my writing. I read the books incessantly, attended workshops and submitted manuscripts after manuscript. The feedback was good (mostly) yet, clearly, there was some missing ingredient that kept eluding me.

It took me some years to discover what it was – my heart.   By heart, I mean me, myself and I. I have begun to discover the power of opening my heart to what truly resonates with me. Opening my heart, my eyes, my ears, all of my senses to the world around me really does help me to connect more deeply with it, and inspire a deeper connection with others.  It isn’t quite what I expected; my writing journey is taking me on unexpected, unknown paths which are exciting, quite magical and full of heart.

So, for our stories to resonate with others, the one ingredient to always include is our open hearts, seasoned with our passion, our love, our compassion, our darkest emotions so that each stage of our story resonates with our readers.

There are many books that will be celebrated this World Book Day and, in the celebrating, let us remember the hearts that have gone into creating these powerful stories that will resonate with us, long after the reading.


Naz Ahsun

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