Yesterday, we discussed conflict in our family history story. I also referred to it as outer conflict or outer story. The outer conflict is pulled from the facts and events of your ancestor’s life and it is revealed in your story through action and plot. This is often easier for family historians to identify than the inner conflict which we will tackle today.
In Your Book Starts Here, Create, Craft, and Sell Your First Novel, Memoir, or Nonfiction Book, Mary Carroll Moore presents us with the concept of outer and inner story. She defines inner story.
Inner story answers the question Why? It contributes discovery to your book because it takes the reader along on a journey of meaning. Good inner story surprises writer as well as reader as it emerges on the page.
We’ve identified those tangible material objects our ancestor desired, a home, land, money that we’ve classified as the outer conflict. The inner story involves a blend of inner conflict and theme which delivers a deeper meaning to your story beyond the apparent plot line.
The inner conflicts are those less tangible desires and wants our ancestors were seeking in their life such as love, peace, happiness,
security and self-confidence. The inner story should takes us on an internal transformation of your ancestor and provides us with the theme of the story. Theme or focus as I refer to it in the guide is the meaning you want your reader to take away from the story.
The inner story often emerges organically as you immerse yourself in your first draft. But you must write your outer story and crack through its shell so the inner story can begin to emerge. Write your outer story, and let the inner story surface spill out. However, I would like to offer you a few exercises to help you push the process along in cracking through the outer story to reveal the inner story.