Monday, April 19, 2010

The Power of A Good Story

When I was in grade school many, many years ago I remember hearing the story of "Bloody Mary". Older girls would use the story to scare younger girls and dare them to recite Bloody Mary several times in front of a mirror summoning a female witch or ghost. Her image was said to appear in the mirror, and depending on the variation of the story, any number of bad things are supposed to happen to the summoner. Do any of you remember hearing or experiencing this at school or at a slumber party when you were younger?

Well, my son, who is only in first grade mind you, came home this week scared out of his wits over the story. He doesn't go to the same school I went to, nor do we live in the same state, and yet the story is out there just as it was over 30 years ago.

My point is a good story can survive generations and travel great distances. This story of "Bloody Mary" is of course an urban legend, a great story that keeps on getting told, and hasn't yet lost its power to scare.

Now if only our stories, the ones we slave over writing, could somehow contain that same magical element; to survive the years, to resurface and be just as powerful as the first time it was read. That is a feat. If only we were magicians and could sprinkle fairy dust on the pages of our manuscript. But alas, it is not that easy. The only thing we can control is our writing, to write the absolutely best story we can  before we pitch it to agents and publishers, and before we release it to the world.


April said...

Jorgie read about Bloody Mary in a book and nicely shared it with her friends. I'm sure they went home scared:)

Michelle said...

It's really amazing to me! And to think that it's starting as early as the first grade.