Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Learning Lessons Otherwise Dismissed

DISCLAIMER: The entire following post was typed solely on my Nook Color's touch-screen keyboard. It was a slow and buggy process but it beats sitting around doing nothing while I am without my laptop at my parent's house.

Well it seems I've been made the fool.

It wasn't very long ago that I went on a slight rant on Facebook about Gustav Freytag's famous plot pyramid which we are all taught in the youngest years of school. You know, the one that looks like this:

As good and true as that certainly seemed, to me in a time of creative infancy I decided that Freytag's model for story progression and structure was too limited. Of course technically any model for anything is meant to be more correctly analytical than it is meant to be limited in scope, and of course Freytag wasn't trying to create any one definite rule for composing a story; he was simply trying to analyze the trends of literature of the time. I did not realize this at the time. I instead interpreted it as the former rather than the latter. I concluded that we as a culture of storytellers should forsake the rules for the sake of genuine creativity and thinking outside the box, and thus I created this new model for storytelling:

Yes, how naive I was. You see at the time I was fascinated with the idea of telling a story documentary-style, meaning there may be no rising action, climax, or falling action, but instead a documentation of a series of fictional events.
That sounds all well and good in theory, but I now realize that even when I'm not trying to create a story with a climax and rising or falling action, there may in fact be no other interesting way to do it, and perhaps no other way at all.
What I mean is that without these elements, there is no plot at all. Sure in theory I could write a whole story detailing a single day in the life of Mr. Somebody, but not only would it be incredibly boring to read and write, but it would be incredibly hard to think of events to move the story along without including some sort of plot or conflict; even the average day has these things in it (that and it would be hard to find inspiration for what happens next in a story where nothing happens).

So how did I finally learn this seemingly simple lesson? Well I realized it as I was typing out the climax to my lifelong tragic love epic, which shall now be simply referred to as a love story due to reasons too lengthy to appropriately describe in a post written on a touch-screen keyboard (as if that's keeping me from rambling anyway).

So, to finally conclude; I learned a very simple lesson first-hand even though I was supposedly taught it over a decade ago.

Sometimes that's what happens.

No comments: