Monday, August 4, 2014

Guest post by Katrina Ramos Atienza: The story in your head

The story in your head
by Katrina Ramos Atienza

I was talking with a friend recently, an avid reader, and together we discovered -- or maybe articulated is the better term -- a key truth for people who love stories: we tend to view the world in narrative.

I know, I know, hardly earth-shattering. But as my friend and I were talking about this, we realized what this really means is that we tend to force the randomness of reality into the orderliness of a narrative.

Coincidences become plot. Something interesting a friend tells you informs your interactions with others. You pick out the elements of a conversation that fit in the story in your head, and suddenly a theme emerges. You say, oh cool, this week is all about unrequited longing. Or chasing after a dream. Or maybe even something as mundane as "everyone is getting married except for me."

Because a story is easy. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. It has tropes and archetypes and specific character beats. You know that conflict ends in resolution and that a story needs symmetry for balance. Bad things can happen, but you are warned, thanks to foreshadowing.

Real life, however, is hard. It's totally random and unbalanced. Conflicts hang in the air and never get solved. Things hit you without warning. Real life doesn't have a template, and you can't predict how a person will really behave.

How we impose a story on our lives is what You Caught Me On A Good Day deals with. The main character pictures himself in a movie, complete with soundtrack, as he goes about his day (oh God I am so guilty of this). Another character enters the picture, and it seems that his imaginary indie romance finally comes to life. Or does it?

And that's my story: Expectation versus Reality, and all that complications that ensue, in 10,000 words or so. Hope you enjoy it!

(PS: When I first finished this story I wasn't sure what to make of it or where it fit in. It was romance, but not the kilig light-hearted ones that are genre staples. The genre New Adult -- with its themes of exploration and discovery -- seems like a good fit.)

Katrina Ramos Atienza blogs at Read You Caught Me On A Good Day by getting All This Wanting on buqo. (

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