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Friday, September 26, 2008

A Few Roles of the Storyteller

Be a Seeder.

Crafting a story requires planting seeds of information, whether they involve a special prop, something someone says, a specific turn of events, etc. Eventually, these seeds of information will sprout and bloom--in true climate-controlled fashion--during specific points in your story. The challenge is to make your seed-planting inconspicuous--the reader realizes only later in the story that the information you've planted is important. This requires careful planning and graceful execution on your part. You don't want revelations to feel forced and contrived.

Be a Sadist.

Pummel your protagonist with everything you've got. Let your hero suffer. Let your reader believe that your hero has no way of surviving in one piece. Execute the ultimate tough love.

Be a Savior.

Your sadism, however, should be climate-controlled as well. Because, as the master of ceremonies, you must have the ability to lead your hero out of the ordeal. This isn't deus ex machina, or the cop out act-of-God way of neatly tying things up. You have to seed these as well during the course of the story. It's like Joaquin Pheonix swinging the bat in Signs, but not as cheesy.


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