• OK, it's on.
  • Please note that many, many Email Addresses used for spam, are not accepted at registration. Select a respectable Free email.
  • See https://www.intpforum.com/threads/upgrade-at-10-am-gmt.27631/

Theories on Storytelling

Cognisant

Prolific Member
Local time
Today, 08:52
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
Messages
8,595
What are you theories on storytelling?
What are the essentials of a story, what kinds of story are there, what makes a good story, what are different storytelling methods and how can they be used, etc.
Please discuss stories you like and try to examine why you like them.

As I see it every story has at least one conflict, this conflict isn't necessarily between people it can be a goal to be achieved, a challenge to overcome, a situation to get out of, a question to be answered, etc, the point being that there's something preventing the resolution of this conflict. The Three Billy Goats Gruff is a great example of this, the goats want to get to the other side of the bridge and to do that they have to cross the bridge but there's a troll guarding it. There's an obvious conflict between what the goats want and what the troll wants but interestingly even though the goats are the protagonists (the ones with a goal) and the troll is the antagonist (the one preventing the goal being achieved) the story is more about the troll than the goats and how his greed is ultimately his undoing.

Something the Three Billy Goats Gruff doesn't have is a character arch, as I understand it a character arch is about how a character changes throughout a story. This can either be passive, something happens to the character that either changes them directly or forces them to change, or active, when a character has some sort of barrier/challenge that they can only overcome by changing themselves.

Character development can be seen as the character overcoming the personal flaws that were holding them back and that's often true but you can also have negative character development where a character progresses through the plot by becoming more flawed. Positive character development is like Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender having to overcome is passivity and undertaking the responsibility of being the avatar, his big kaiju moment at the end of season one happens because the death of the moon spirit forces upon him the realization that his passivity has consequences for those around him. On the other side of the coin we have the Joaquin Phoenix Joker movie in which a damaged but kind person becomes increasingly unfettered as a result of his dire circumstances, watching someone fall to villainy can be just as interesting if not more so then watching someone rise to heroism.
 

Tenacity

More than methods to the madness
Local time
Today, 14:52
Joined
Sep 3, 2019
Messages
410
Every story which has had mainstream success is formulaic and predictable. The ultimate objective isn't met. The objective needs to be reached. The motivation is mostly extrinsic.

Every story that was written out of mostly intrinsic motivation enables others to then also pursue some introspection.
 

EndogenousRebel

We're all trying our best. Aren't we?
Local time
Today, 13:52
Joined
Jun 13, 2019
Messages
84
I don't think I'm too insightful on this topic and I don't want to state the obvious/be redundant when it comes to questions like "what makes a good story?" But storytelling is something I've always been into so I'll just add what at the top of my mind right now.

There is a lot of history behind storytelling, most of which has been lost to due to the mostly oral telling of it. Lots of fascinating nuances that I don't know enough about. Think about it, thousands of years of stories being passed down between generations. Likely used as a teaching tool, for sense making, the first people who were storytellers were probably smart motherfuckers that just made shit up because it was more effective than flat out lecturing people on what to do, and how to act.

Where we are today, it has evolved into an art, and like in all art there have been various movements, techniques, and genres to speak of. Sadly though, it's generally done in pursuit of making (low risk) money, not advancing or pushing the limits of the art. Because of that we get lots shit that people know already work. Really whats pushing the art forward (and not in a way thats fundamentally different) is the absolute fucking saturation of all the media we consume on a daily basis. I'm not saying this is all a bad thing. In fact it's kinda a beneficial thing because we have a schema/structure for all stories we can easily digest. Okay my ranting is over.

Really the I think the success of a story hinges on a couple things. First is getting people to actually bother to consume your story, give it a chance. Then, how are you going to string them along. This is mostly done through characters and their circumstances. Characters are really fucking important. Stranger Things is built on the audience liking the characters, and seeing where the story takes them next. Lastly there is how the story makes them feel, what did they get out of the experience? Insight, butterflies, hope? This is what they will associate the story with long after they've consumed it, and what will make them talk about it, and hopefully make them share it with others.

About Joker, I don't know if I'd call him a kind man. That story felt weird to me. It felt as if they were trying to get you to sympathize with him, but at the very and remembered "Oh wait, this guy is Joker" and 180 his character. It something worth discussing but I don't wanna invest in writing that now.

@Tenacity I feel like you should explain yourself a little more, like develop what you're writing a lil. I don't quite get what you mean. Perhaps give some examples of extrinsically and intrinsically made stories? Yes, stories are formulaic, in that they have key ingredients that everyone knows works, things they know audiences like, but if the writer is good they can make an engaging and compelling story that isn't quite predictable. I'm thinking things like Breaking Bad, GoT, and Dexter. At least in the beginning all these shows had good writing that made you want to know what happened next.
 

Tenacity

More than methods to the madness
Local time
Today, 14:52
Joined
Sep 3, 2019
Messages
410
What is this ultimate objective?
The "ultimate objective" depends on the value system presented by the laws of the world displayed. The way in which the ultimate objective is "reached" then relies on one or many combinations of narrative structures chosen due to popular, subjective, and/or constantly dynamic cultural expectations.

There also exists the conflict(s) of "Person vs. Themself" and/or "Person/Protagonist vs. Antagonist" and/or "Person vs. Nature".

I don't quite get what you mean.
Which part?
 

Cognisant

Prolific Member
Local time
Today, 08:52
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
Messages
8,595
There also exists the conflict(s) of "Person vs. Themself" and/or "Person/Protagonist vs. Antagonist" and/or "Person vs. Nature".
I love stories that do all three of these at once, there's an antagonist who is far more developed than the protagonist so the protagonist has to go through a lot of self development (trials that involve overcoming oneself) before being capable of facing the antagonist on equal terms at which point their conflict becomes philosophical where each is an embodiment of their own philosophy.

It's not even necessarily violent, the story could be about two chefs each running their own restaurant their own way, one is wealthy and well established whereas the other is poor and unproven and has to work he way up the culinary world before he can challenge the other's way of doing things, ultimately defining what it means to be a professional chef.

Alternatively the antagonist could be grooming the protagonist to follow in their footsteps, I've noticed this in martial arts stories where you will have a master of some sort who is intentionally putting the protagonist through mental and physical trials (as their enemy) to create a worthy opponent who may potentially become their successor.

A story I'd like to tell is where the philosophical aspect is more literal, kind of like stories where there's figures of intrinsic good and evil which can't come into direct conflict but rather manipulate people/events to either fight on their behalf or to serve their ends, but rather than good and evil have competing schools of philosophy like objectivists vs subjectivists, nihilists vs absurdists, idealists vs materialists, dualists vs monists, creationists vs darwinists (as in robots vs biotech), etc.
 

Tenacity

More than methods to the madness
Local time
Today, 14:52
Joined
Sep 3, 2019
Messages
410
There also exists the conflict(s) of "Person vs. Themself" and/or "Person/Protagonist vs. Antagonist" and/or "Person vs. Nature".
I love stories that do all three of these at once, there's an antagonist who is far more developed than the protagonist so the protagonist has to go through a lot of self development (trials that involve overcoming oneself) before being capable of facing the antagonist on equal terms at which point their conflict becomes philosophical where each is an embodiment of their own philosophy.

It's not even necessarily violent, the story could be about two chefs each running their own restaurant their own way, one is wealthy and well established whereas the other is poor and unproven and has to work he way up the culinary world before he can challenge the other's way of doing things, ultimately defining what it means to be a professional chef.

Alternatively the antagonist could be grooming the protagonist to follow in their footsteps, I've noticed this in martial arts stories where you will have a master of some sort who is intentionally putting the protagonist through mental and physical trials (as their enemy) to create a worthy opponent who may potentially become their successor.

A story I'd like to tell is where the philosophical aspect is more literal, kind of like stories where there's figures of intrinsic good and evil which can't come into direct conflict but rather manipulate people/events to either fight on their behalf or to serve their ends, but rather than good and evil have competing schools of philosophy like objectivists vs subjectivists, nihilists vs absurdists, idealists vs materialists, dualists vs monists, creationists vs darwinists (as in robots vs biotech), etc.
We over-rely on storytelling as a society. It works up until one has analyzed so many stories that they fail to have impactful commitment to memory.

Regardless, you should tell that story. You seem to possess the capability to engage our minds.
 

Rebis

To see a world in a grain of sand
Local time
Today, 19:52
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
607
What are you theories on storytelling?
What are the essentials of a story, what kinds of story are there, what makes a good story, what are different storytelling methods and how can they be used, etc.
Please discuss stories you like and try to examine why you like them.

As I see it every story has at least one conflict, this conflict isn't necessarily between people it can be a goal to be achieved, a challenge to overcome, a situation to get out of, a question to be answered, etc, the point being that there's something preventing the resolution of this conflict.
Stories are memes by the original definition of the word by richard dawkins in the selfish gene: "Memes are social genes". Stories serve the purpose to socialise us with helpful information that we will apply to the world. Oliver bird put it more succintly than I (1:15 in, but you shouldn't skip because it's a brilliant intro).

 
Top Bottom