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How to Write a Story: John Dufresne (Full Transcript)

John Dufresne

Full transcript of author John Dufresne’s TEDx Talk: How to Write a Story @ TEDxFIU conference. To learn more about the speaker, read the bio here. He is the author of the book “The Lie That Tells a Truth”. 


Listen to the MP3 Audio: How to write a story by John Dufresne @ TEDxFIU


John Dufresne – Author

Thank you very much.

I want to talk about how to write a story.

And the first commandment in the writing fiction is sit your ass in the chair. Some of us need Velcro Pants.

Thinking about writing is not writing. A story doesn’t exist before the act of writing.

You’re in your chair, but your central character will be at the end of his rope — a desperate man taking desperate measures.

Only trouble is interested. And everything you don’t want to happen to yourself or your family or your friends should happen to characters. You love your hero, but you keep putting obstacles in his way.

Writing a story is taking the path of most resistance. You dip your pen and the ink and you begin at the edge of a cliff.

You sit and try to express what’s inexpressible, and that makes you nervous. You know that every story is a failure. But you also know the writer is the one who is not stalked or even fazed by failure. And that makes you fearless.

You begin not knowing where you’re going to end up. But trusting in your imagination in the writing process to get you there. You write about what you don’t understand. What you don’t know is more important than what you know, because that’s what engages your sense of wonder.

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