Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Simple Story

It seems that a simple story suits a short story because a short story is short. Not so. We can find a simple story in a novel and a movie as well. In truth, a simple story can be not only interesting, but gripping, and powerful. And it is usually quiet. Being quiet doesn't mean it has no power; on the contrary, it has its own unique quiet power. What I mean is that a simple story draws the attention of the reader/audience from beginning to end without relying on those sensational thrills, which, I believe, you know what I'm talking about. And surprisingly it works equally well in a movie.

Off the top of my head, the movie with a simple story I can think of is a Chinese movie The King of Masks. Even Wes enjoyed it, and we watched it twice. Months apart. The second time I watched it, I was drawn to it, just like the first time. A simple story that is not simple. Here lies the paradox. Anyway, we don't have to resort to all the sensational thrills to thrill the reader/ audience but write a simple story that illustrates a human truth; its quiet power would move the reader/audience much more profoundly than those "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Success is desired by everyone with a dream in every field. Success is perceived differently by each individual. I like what John Wooden said about success. He told his basketball players, "Success is to be the best you can be." To be the best we can be is not an easy thing to do because it means we need to maximize our potentials. I believe I'm doing just that. I've been honing the writer's craft, writing every day, and reading like a writer. Yes, there's a big difference between reading as a reader and reading as a writer. The former is mainly for enjoyment; the latter for a writer's craft.

You might argue: We need to dream big. Who doesn't? But, how many writers make it as big as Dan Brown? As Steven King? I'd like to sidetrack a little bit. The famous Chinese-American woman figure skater Michelle Kwan, who had won eight World Championships; however, her dream of winning the Olympic gold was never fulfilled. Could we say she wasn't successful? I'm sure she did her best in her every performance. So, to be happy but without losing sight of my dream, I like John Wooden's words: "Success is to be the best you can be."