October 4, 2009 Leave a comment
Donald Miller has come to my attention from three unique sources, so I follow his blog. This article on Morality and Narrative Law feels like it’s doing too much, and the comments went off on tangents. But I’m intrigued by his ideas about narrative, and story, and hope to chat with others who have comparable thoughts/feelings about the connection of art and life. I also feel there’s an important relationship between story design and character. It was (is?) my greatest personal challenge while writing my memoir about my parents. 🙂
I think what’s missing from current stories is related to the Keynote Address Dr. Marc Acito presented to the Freshman Class of Colorado College. Aside from his yoga breathing technique, I like his attention to the difference today of having a life goal (rich, famous, specific career) instead of having a life philosophy.
One of my friends, Terri Reed, writes inspirational-romantic-intrigue novels. That’s 3 plot threads, through every novel, that must intertwine and impact each other! Inspirational genre novelists have a very long list of what’s allowed (and banned) to create a publishable novel. I’ve seen this list and am amazed Terri can create good stories, and strong characters, under such restrictions! Terri presents an amazing workshop on layering the novel and I’ll be attending it again this weekend. ( My rewrites on my contemporary romance novel are going really well!)
What brings these three things together, for me, is a line from the movie Contact. I think the statistic was 95% of the human population believe in some type of God/Higher Power. That percentage may still be accurate, or not, but I’m sure the majority of humanity has a belief/faith that is a primary part of their life and culture.
This is what intrigues me about considering Narrative Law. Story has become entertainment – and is less art – because the acceptable story design has become generic with special effects and snappy dialogue. Few characters are presented as having a life philosophy or faith in anything beyond their talents.
New stories also need to escape the New York and Hollywood bubbles. Which are rare worlds of their own. Not because they have a lower percentage of humans with a faith/belief aspect, just a higher percentage of people who separate their life story, and their work, on stories, that comply with the requirements of the marketing department and sales force.
Art mirrors life, and I’m not thrilled that a lot of stories are shallow and boring. Neither mirror my life!