Wednesday, July 10, 2013

An Old Box of Papers, Part 2 - A Good Story

Sorting through these papers, I found notes from an English class in highschool. Most of the notes were useless - my practicing matching questions for the test, random words and definitions that any dictionary could provide me later on, terms of poetry that I never understood, or the names of assignments for the day. One thing caught my eye.

There was a section that discussed what makes up a good story. I tried to explain this to many of my closer friends, not knowing exactly when the though originated. I knew that it was before I was a huge PluggedIn reader, where movies and other media are discussed - I recalled knowing what I thought was a good movie long before that.

According to my highschool class:

In a good story, the characters' actions have moral consequences; no one "gets away with murder," so to speak.

In a good story, evil is condemned and good is approved, which is found in direct and indirect ways; the tone itself may be as much as a clue as if good is rewarded, and evil is punished.

Also, a good story is neither cynical (where nothing goes right) or overly and purely sentimental (nothing goes truly wrong). A good story balanced realistically. That is, goodness is possible, but bad also. The struggle between the two is what makes a story, if you think about it, and it feels unsatisfactory if the good guys don't win, and the bad guys aren't punished.

Which brings me to my last point, which really was a PluggedIn truth - in a good story, there are distinct good guys and bad guys by the end of the story. And a good guy who does bad things and isn't punished, just doesn't satisfy. Not that good guys don't do bad things in some stories, but just that if they do bad things and are either praised for them, or don't get punished for them. See, there's good, and there's bad, and the two can't be a part of each other.

Luke 11:36
36Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you."

And I know this is a little out of context, but I think it fits -

2 Corinthians 6:14
14 For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Original Post: Tuesday, June 15, 2010

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