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Create Unique Stories or Connect with Readers? How You Can Do Both by Writing Fiction Soul Stories!

Updated: Feb 25

If you’re an aspiring fiction author, should you write a unique story, or follow story templates to make sure you connect with readers? Everyone says there are no truly unique stories these days. Is that true? What if you want to write something from your soul, but also want readers to connect with it? What if you want to write from your soul AND make money on your fiction? Does it have to be one or the other?

The answer is: Yes! (And also no.)

Let’s start with no.

Why Authors Should NOT Try to Write a Unique Fiction Story

Against an orange and blue background, a dark-haired man reads a blue book. A lightbulb hovers above his head, as though he’s just had a bright idea. Money floats through the air around him. To his left, white and yellow text reads, “Write Unique Stories or Connect with Reader? Why Fiction Writers Can Have Both!”

It’s true that, at their core, there are no unique stories. There are only a handful or a few dozen. (The number changes based on who you talk to.)

It’s also true that all human beings absorb story in the exact same way. A way I call the Human Template for Storytelling, which I’ll talk more about below. The point is, if you want people to connect with your fiction, buy it, rave about it, and then return to buy more of your stories, you want to present your stories in the way that humans naturally connect with them. It’s all about human psychology and why people read stories to begin with.

All of that makes it sound like you can’t possibly write a unique story, right?

Wrong! Notice how I said that at their core there are no unique stories. But that’s only at their core. When you pan out from the core to the layers, the characters, the details, the world-building, and all the other aspects that make up a fantastic fictional story, the opposite is true. The details can be as varied and nuanced as human beings themselves are.

Why Authors Should Always Try to Write a Unique Fiction Story

The short of it is that only you can write your unique story. I know that sounds cliché, so let’s go deeper.

Here’s the thing: In order to be a successful fiction author, your story MUST connect deeply with readers. A mediocre connection leads to mediocre reviews and mediocre royalties. Period.

So how do you make sure readers connect with your story?

I mentioned psychology above and the Human Template for Storytelling. But what is that? What does it mean?

Very broadly, the Human Template for Storytelling is like one of those story diagrams we first saw in grade school. You know, the ones where the line starts in the bottom left corner with the introduction and call to adventure, then moves upward in diagonal line until it peaks with the climactic moment, and then has that tail that doesn’t go all the way back down and is labeled “dénouement” or “falling action.”

But that’s very broad. Understanding that graph won’t make you an excellent fiction author anymore than knowing where middle c is will make you a concert pianist. But it’s a start.

The Human Template for Storytelling is that graph, but it’s so much more. It’s all the details. All the plot points, character wounds, story arcs, world building, character relationships, congruency of the hero/villain relationship, and so much more. In short, it’s the full spectrum of transformational human psychology.

No biggie, right?

But here’s the thing. Think of any story you love. Like, really love. It can be in any format: film, book, play, even songs. Every story you’ve ever connected has had at least aspects of this transformational human psychology.

Remember Vogler’s definition of story:

“A story is a metaphor for a journey that leads to change.”—Christopher Vogler

It’s not as hard to learn this entire spectrum of psychology as you might think. You already know a LOT of it because, well, you’re a human.

RIGHT? 👀👀👀

You just have to start observing it intentionally and then using it to craft your stories.

This is a skill I call writing Soul Stories.

How to Start Writing Fiction Soul Stories

This is a story that only you can tell. And I promise I mean that in the least cheesy, least cliché way possible.

Actually, it all goes back to the human psychology.

If I gave 3 different fiction authors the same outline for a novel—same characters, same events, same arcs, same world-building elements, everything—and asked them to write it, we would get 3 completely different stories.

And it goes deeper than just diction and syntax and writing style. Of course there are those things, but it’s WAY deeper than that. The sum total of your personality, beliefs, attitude, experiences, joys, traumas, religion, politics, family life, and even your physicality colors the way you write.

A soul story:

1) Follows the Human Template for Storytelling AND

2) Comes from all the things that make you uniquely you.

In other words, it’s one that that connects deeply with the reader AND allows you to tell your unique story.

How Fiction Heals Us

We all know readers can connect deeply with powerful fiction. That’s because it reaches them on a subconscious, or soul level. So, here’s the general idea: you writing your unique soul story, and then a reader reading that story and connecting deeply with it is synonymous with your soul connecting to that of your reader. That’s why fiction can be so powerful.

It does so much more than entertain, uplift and teach. Of course it does those things. But it can also heal the reader in many ways. Subconscious ways that can’t be quantified.

I would also contend that writing fiction soul stories can heal you, the author, as well. Writing a soul story—or many soul stories—can teach you things about yourself you would n ot have known otherwise.

And this is true no matter what genre you write.

Bottom line: if you follow the Human Template for Storytelling, and write the story from the utterly unique perspective of your own life and experiences, it will be a soul story.

And if it’s well-written, readers will connect with it. It’s impossible for them not to. Imagine knowing how to do this and being able to do it with any story you ever write moving forward.

(P.S. These well-written soul stories that follow the Human Template also just so happen to be very easy to market.)

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