The Way of Story: The Craft and Soul of Writing

The Way of Story: The Craft and Soul of Writing

By Cathrine Ann Jones
Ojai, CA: Prasana Press, 2004. Paperback, 195 pages.

The Way of Story: The Craft and Soul of Writing By Cathrine Ann Jones will appeal to anyone interested in an intuitive approach to effective writing by drawing from personal experience. The book also teaches writers how to share one's inner journey with others through the medium of story. Jones, a successful New York playwright and Hollywood screenwriter, inspires the reader to write what one feels passionately about and also gives guidance to develop the solid skills necessary for successful story writing. This balanced approach to the writing process can have a healing influence on the writer, as well as on a fractured society in need of spiritual connection.

To reveal the essential elements of what creates a memorable story, the author delves into the inner workings of the art of storytelling. At its best, writing, and the writer as shaman, act as a bridge between spirit and earth. From this perspective, it is seen that the work must begin within, in knowing one's self, and being able to feel at the heart level. In order to serve the soul, feeling and emotion, rather than knowledge, must be the raw material to work With. One must begin with a passion for what one writes, then, use the craft to contain it in a story to be shared with others, People read stories or go to movies in order to feel something. Having an emotional identification with what one writes can only help the reader make an emotional connection with the story and its characters, and through that, to their own humanity.

Practical advice and techniques on the craft of writing are organized in chapters on topics of re-writing, character development, dialogue, and scenes, Examples are given from the author's own work to illustrate the points made and writing exercises at the end of each chapter reinforce the material presented.

Jones also leads "The Way of Story" experiential workshops, one of which I was fortunate to attend. I was impressed by her ability to individually work with participants, bringing them to their next stage of development, regardless of whether they were interested novices or seasoned professionals. This was accomplished through guiding the participants to arrive at their own insights through exercises and reflective work, rather than feeding them information. The Way of Story: The Craft and Soul of Writing is a valuable presentation of the author's understanding that truly transformational work begins from within, through experience absorbed through the heart and not the head.


January/February 2006