Thursday, June 20, 2013
Ever since this TED Talk by Andrew Stanton (quotes are from his talk). I've thought about little else when it comes to storytelling. While his talk is called "The Clues to a Great Story," it might as well be called "Wonder." Because that's what I took away from it. This essential element is often what's missing from making a good book...great.
"Capturing a truth from your experience."
It's the thing that can't really be defined or explained in plain clothes. It's a character's tone of voice, and pitch perfect dialogue. An inspired setting that takes you outside of one world and places you in another. It's the thing that provides the framework for the reader to fill in the blanks. A good story makes you wonder what it's like to be someone else, somewhere else, with problems that are either exactly like ours or so different that it makes us feel like we have even a small sampling of control.
It's that moment in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" where Richard Dreyfuss makes a mountain of his mashed potatoes and says, "This means something. This is important."
"We're born problem solvers...we can't help ourselves from wanting to complete the sentence, to fill it in...Don't give them 4. Give them 2+2."
That's the wonder in story for me--the compulsion, the meaning, the purpose. It's not what initially hooks me, although wonder can do that. It's what captivates me, that makes me unable to stop reading. It's the open tap into human creativity, and writing that uses each and every word efficiently (not only for beauty).
"Wonder is honest...it can't be artificially invoked."
Perhaps the next time someone asks you why you love a book, and you don't have words for it, you could say, "It made me wonder." The right people will know what you mean. ;)
What was the last book (or any art) that made you feel a sense of meaning, or a shared truth, or just entertained the hell out of you?
Noah St. John knows how to tell a story. Knocked our socks off.
Zev knows self portraits. Made us want to be ten again.
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