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#atozchallenge: U is for Understand Your Story #fiction #writing #quotes

Theme:  Quotes from Authors and Bookish People about Writing 

 The last week of A to Z is upon us– I can’t believe three weeks have flown past. I want to send up a cheer for my  co-hosts Lee, Alex, Tina, Jeremy, Nicole, Stephen, Heather, AJ, MJ and Pam, without whom this challenge would not be what it is– a mega-networking event, but with a personal touch.

In case you haven’t had time to stop by their blogs in the last week, make sure you drop by today– they deserve your love and support for all the effort they put into the challenge :).

Today we discuss Story, without which there’s no fiction. Fiction is story, and stories are one of our biggest needs as humans.

Here’s what some storytellers have to say about Stories:

 “We live by stories— our own and those of others, real and imagined. It’s how we relate and stay connected on the most personal and intimate level. We need stories, the story process, to maintain our balance and our identity. We don’t think of it this way because we don’t have to. We just do it…Believe it or not, it’s one of our deepest social needs.” — Jerry Cleaver

“I am a story teller. If I wanted to send a message I would have written a sermon.” — Philip Pullman

“Anecdotes don’t make good stories. Generally I dig
down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is
not what people thought their anecdotes were about.”
— Alice Munro

“Storytelling is ultimately a creative act of pattern recognition. Through characters, plot and setting, a writer creates places where previously invisible truths become visible. Or the storyteller posits a series of dots that the reader can connect.”–Douglas Coupland

“Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely using
words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences.”
— Anne McCaffrey
do you tell a story? What stories do you remember and why?
Which of the above quotes do you like?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Hello Damyanti and thank you for your recent visits and comments. I think I've responded to almost all, but I will be checking again. I've decided to leave my visits to the hosts / moderators until after the challenge so I can make a quality visit, and not just deposit a 'like'.
    How do I write a story? I consider the intro and the end, and when I'm pretty sure about them I build the part that takes me from one to the other. I usually start with an action sequence, and end with a twist.
    The stories I remember are the ones that allowed me to use my imagination the most. I love good imagery.
    Of the quotes, I couldn't choose an individual one – I think they are all excellent.

  • Sue Elvis says:


    I like stories that reveal some kind of truth, that make me think. Even true experience stories must have something to reveal other than a retelling of an event or experience.

  • Susan Scott says:

    Terrific quotes and post thank you. Story telling is an ancient art form of passing on history. It's a way of sharing … Einstein, when asked by parents how they could encourage their children to become clever like he, replied "Read your children fairy stories'. But apart from that stories open us to a wider world and a better understanding of it and our place in it.
    Garden of Eden Blog

  • Romi C says:

    I like the quote of Douglas Coupland the best. When I read a book, I enjoy interacting with the writer through the story, "connecting the dots, " and reconstructing the story within myself.

    This post makes me ponder on what is a story and what is not… It is great food for thought.

  • Lady Lilith says:

    As a photographer, I usually tell my story through visual images.

  • Loved all the quotes. I think Jerry Cleaver's is my fave. I do believe we continue to explore and analyze the human condition our whole lives. What better way to do that than through stories.

  • As a confirmed bookaholic I LOVE stories. And am partial to Ann McCaffrey and Alice Munroe – among others.

  • I love stories full of emotion and that have a message to them. I remember the emotions, the facts, and the relationships. I enjoyed Anne McCaffrey's quote, but then again, I have pretty much liked anything from her since I was a small child. I don't know how I tell a story, I guess generally very factually. The scientist in me can't let that go! I need to dig out a story I wrote many years ago and reread it, perhaps rewrite it. If I remember the story correctly, even now it brings tears to my eyes.

  • Great post, I like stories that tell a truth about something. nice to meet and connect through atozchallenge

  • Creating fiction stories is what I do best. My non-fiction sucks. I like the quotes, especially Phillip Pullman and Anne McAffrey.

  • cleemckenzie says:

    This is wonderful. At the heart of everything is the story. Great quotes.

  • I love the Munroe quote. A lot of storytellers make the mistake of sticking to the level of anecdotes without really digging into their stories. Sometimes students shake their heads when I say that storytelling is both art AND serious research AND a job. 🙂

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Tales of colors
    MopDog – The crazy thing about Hungarians…

  • I tell stories very carefully.

  • I loved Munro's quote, what a great approach! I love how stories can be so different and so personal. Anecdotes can be stories, a song can be a story, a picture can be one, too. The formats are practically endless.

  • Joy says:

    I like what Douglas Coupland and Jerry Cleaver have said.

  • Storytelling is a great art – people can write badly and still be fantastic storytellers.
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles – A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX – A to Z Drabblerotic

  • Fil says:

    Storytelling is a great art – and getting to the bottom of what the real story is what makes the story sing. Thank you for visiting my place today Damyanti:) I'm really enjoying the challenge and meeting so many diverse bloggers on this blog challenge.

    Fil at Fil's Place – Old Songs and Memories

  • Storytelling is how we pass on history.

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