Saturday, November 19, 2005

Beginning, Middle, End

I know the literati will hunt me down with torches and pitchforks and burn the windmill down around me for this one. Can't please everybody.

It's simple, really, though that doesn't necessarily mean easy. A story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, preferably in that order.

In the beginning was the conflict, and the conflict was in the story, and the conflict was the story. Without conflict, there is no story. It would be like music consisting of a single note. No matter how beautiful the language, there's no substance. It's fluff and it's boring.

In the middle, the conflict and the character(s), because conflict implies characters, doesn't it, evolve and progress. Again, this is necessary for the reader to have any interest in the story. A painting that is only one color is not "art" and does not make a "statement" of any kind. It's a piece of wall. I can look at walls anywhere.

Finally, there must be resolution of some kind. Good or bad, the story must end. I can even deal with ambiguity to some extent, but the story must By-God end! Anything that happens after the words "THE END" is part of a different story. Neverending stories are cute. Once. I read mine back in kindergarten. Wrap it up, resolve the conflict, end the story.

Storytelling is as old as language. It is a way that we communicate our ideas and beliefs, our personal or societal mythologies. Storytelling is more than just sound. A story has content. If it doesn't communicate that content to the audience, the the storyteller is just masturbating, and who wants to see that? Who's going to read or listen to a boring story? I sure won't. No matter how beautiful the language, if there is no content, it's a waste of time.


End your story! Grow a spine! Take a stand! Show us what happened!

Inconclusiveness is for wussies and pretenders.


At 3:51 PM, Blogger Anne Merril said...

Nicely said :) Pooh to the literari!


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