Story Dynamics– Accepting Possibility

There is no doubt that a phenomenal story has always mattered, and the world’s greatest novelists have generally built their work around strongly structured plots. But I’ve never really been able to decide whether the plot is just a way of keeping people’s attention while you do everything else, or whether the plot is really more important than anything else, perhaps communicating with us on some obscure subconscious level which affects us in the way that myths once did. I often think, in some ways, the conventions of realistic fiction and drama may impose serious limitations on a story. For one thing, if you make a choice to play by the rules and respect the preparation and pace required to establish a genuine sense of realism, it takes far longer to make a point than it does, in, say, fantasy. At the same time, it is also possible that this very work–– that which ultimately contributes to a story’s realism may serve to weaken its grip on the unconscious. Realism is probably the best way to dramatize an argument and the ideas and suggestions surrounding it. Fantasy may deal best with those themes which lie primarily in the subconscious mind. I have always believed that the unconscious appeal of a ghost story, for instance, lies in its promise of immortality. If you can be frightened by a ghost story, then you must accept the possibility that  supernatural beings do exist. If they do, then you must also accept the possibility that there is indeed more than just oblivion waiting for you beyond the grave.

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~ by upbeatmag on November 19, 2008.

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