Amitava Kumar in The Globe and Mail:
As a writer, I’m forever obliged to ask what makes a story compelling.
The above question is so much a part of my own thinking that it is impossible to escape it even in other contexts. While reading the news about migrants at the Mexican border, or watching footage of raids by law enforcement, I ask myself which side in the debate is telling the better story.
Let me admit at the outset that this might well be a narrowly professional concern. To the main actors in the scenario, the demands of duty or the plain urgency of survival make such questions irrelevant and even remote. Nevertheless, I find myself giving a desperate cast to my inquiry. To use the language of writing workshops, are lives being lost because the characters in the story are insufficiently fleshed out? Are futures being stolen because someone has lost the plot? Is our society being torn apart because no one is offering a narrative of sufficient complexity?
Once I entertain all those questions, another one arises: Who is telling the true, more urgent, story?