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What makes a story stand out?

What makes a story stand out?

There are the gimmicks and there are the ones with heart. Sometimes one overpowers the other. For me there has always been only one choice. I always go for the heart. This has not been an arbitrary or strategic decision, but one that I have arrived at naturally throughout my career/adventure/writing life. Unabashedly I will admit, I am an old-fashioned story teller. Simply because as an artist and writer, I must find the heart and the truth in every story I write. If I can’t find the humanity, it is not worth my effort. If I can’t find its core, I won’t embellish it with distracting techniques.

In my most recent illustrated novel, El bosque Iluminado (translated from the original The Illuminated Forest), I follow the struggle of a boy of 12 as his coming of age is interrupted by the unfairness of life. The story, which also intertwines with the lives of other characters, unfolds around the reluctant relationship Mateo builds with a stray cat that seemingly mirrors his own heartache.

Writing El bosque Iluminado marks my “coming home” moment in my writing. Finally, in its natural language, the story finds its footing rooted in the geography, culture, and flavor of Puerto Rico. The experience has been one of hard work, but ultimately joy. Joy in finding my way back home through the long road I had to build with my every step.

Edwin Fontánez

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