Finding Your Story's True North

It's easy to lose your way between the genesis of a work-in-progress, and the apocalyptic process of workshopping and critiquing a story to death—before, during, and after it finds its publishing home.

With as many ways to tell a story as there are people willing to express an opinion on it,  you can suffer writing whiplash from trying to accommodate each critique note received.

Although every manuscript benefits from fresh eyes, there comes a time when you have to stand back and check that you're still telling the story that you felt moved to write, the one that only you can tell because the perspective is yours, pure and unsullied.

True geodetic north differs from magnetic north, astronomical north, and grid north. It's all a matter of perspective.

So how do you find the truth North of your story?

Ask yourself why you first wanted to tell this story - what fascinated you about it and made you itch to get started. Why did you choose those particular characters as your protagonist and antagonist?

Then realign your story mind with your character's perspective point, created by the origins that formed them before the story even began, to check the true North of the story. No two people would react to stimuli in exactly the same way in real life because no two people make choices with the same experiential tool set.

So when you get lost in the labyrinth of story, check the relevant character's compass to find your bearings again. Inhabit his body, mind, and soul and let him tell you which path he wants to take, not the one you think he should take.

Faithful emotional perspective equips you with a story compass sure enough to survive any shift in the publishing landscape. Whatever the genre, or form, or category of the story, it will always find an enduring home in the hearts of readers—because it reads true.


There are so many distractions on the writer's path...what great advice!

There are so many distractions on the writer's path...what great advice!

Just what I needed to read before I sat down for one more go at the work in progress. Thanks!

Good luck, Trish! You can do it!

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