David Long suggested that there are always two strands to a story: 1) the story we’re telling and 2) the rendering or shaping of that story. “We don’t always give enough attention to the second half of that,” he said. There is a difference between what happens and what it’s about. “As storytellers we’re concerned with the conveying of meaning in a very specific sort of way.”
He reminded us to “Crank it another crank.” Too often, we stop short (i.e. we must go deeper into the core of the story).
Each story has a beginning, middle and end. David discussed the psychological states of each. The beginning is associated with ignorance, skepticism, curiosity or seduction. The middle has a deeper sense of bonding with the characters, a more educated sense of curiosity and deep absorption. The ending has elements of amazement, fulfillment, relief and joy, or disengagement and melancholy.
As readers, David noted, we tend to race to the end of novels. “What we’re racing towards is the end of our pleasure.” Seems a good thing to keep in mind in the telling of our stories.