Award-winning writer Mary Carroll Moore, author of Qualities of Light, concludes this week's insights on transitioning from nonfiction to fiction.
AMA: Can you explain the concept of "outer story"?
MCM: If you imagine "outer story" as what happens, where it happens, who it happens to—the great newspaper reporter's questions—"inner story" explores why and what it means. In newspaper writing, we left that up to the reader, many times. We just reported the facts. Now, I was learning to weave meaning (the story behind the situation) into my writing. As soon as I began incorporating "inner story," a few of my short stories were published, even won awards. It took five more years of learning about "inner story" and listening carefully to three of my most interesting characters before I could evolve into long-form fiction. My novel, Qualities of Light, was published last year and has been nominated for a PEN/Faulkner award.
AMA: What about "inner story"?
MCM: The element of "inner story" is what I love most in my writing; it's what lingers long after all action subsides. My journey into a new genre taught me that meaning—in life and in writing—can't be outlined or plotted. Meaning seeps in when we're not looking or planning anything. All we can do is listen for it and be ready to pay attention.
For more information, visit Mary Carroll Moore and her blog, How to Plan, Write and Develop a Book.
For a great upcoming writer's conference, visit CAPA University. Keynote speakers are doctors Henry Lee and Jerry Labriola on "Writing True Crime."