One of my favorite new TV shows is Forged in Fire (History Channel)! It’s a reality/competition between four “bladesmiths”. They are given three hours to create a knife or other weapon from raw material. We watch as they design their knives, select the raw steel and place it in the forge. They deftly hammer, bend and shape the metal to their liking, then hone it and polish it to a fine edge. Well now, there’s a metaphor for storytelling!
There are bladesmiths, blacksmiths, locksmiths, gunsmiths and so, we might call ourselves storysmiths.
We begin by designing the story. What type will it be? What will it be about? How will we use it; What audience will the story be for, etc. Then we choose our materials: Who are the characters; the setting; the time; the “who-what-when-where-why and how” of the story. We put them all together in the forge and heat them up. We mix them and then hammer out each scene and section. We have a vision in our head and continually heat and reheat; shape and re-shape our story until it is the “rough” look of our vision.
Then we cool, or quench it. We grind away the unnecessary parts. We hone it to a fine, sharp edge. We polish it to a high luster. We may decide to add etching or more visual detail. And even after it seems finished and it is used over and over, we examine the edges and continue to reshape and re-sharpen it.
I think it’s a great metaphor and concept. Don’t get too excited though, I already checked and storysmith and storyforge are both taken as websites!