Friday, August 17, 2012

musings on the concept of "story"

I don't normally do these kind of posts on this blog - the sort of posts where I just ramble and rant on about something. I don't even really do these on my personal blog anymore either. But today I feel like this has been a recurring thought on my mind, one that might interest you, so I'm sharing it. 

It's just about 10pm on the dot right now, so if I can get this out of my system and onto the screen by 10.15pm so I have time to hop on the treadmill (I call it the dreadmill) and do a spot of creative writing before bedtime that would be awesome. 

The thing I wanted to talk about is stories. The concept or idea of the story. What a story is. The shapes and forms we find stories in on a daily basis.
Yesterday in my tutorial class for the creative writing English unit I'm doing, the topic of "story vs narrative" was discussed. Our tutor was trying to explain the definitions of 'story' and 'narrative' and their relationship with one another. It's still a little hazy in my head, even though I wrote notes down. But anyway, what I got from that discussion was that a story can have narrative but not every narrative is a story. It's one of those confusing things. 
And this afternoon as I was watching the latest episode of So You Think You Can Dance, Nigel (producer/judge) was saying how amazing it was that Mia Michaels (choreographer) could create a story in only a minute and a half. Which is so true, and made me realise you don't need a plot to tell a story, and there's no need for any arc or methodical structure when it comes to story and storytelling. I believe it's the 'telling' part that makes it a story. You can put a couple people up on a stage and turn on some music and suddenly you're watching a story unfold before your eyes. Or you can sit down on your living room sofa, open up a book and there's a story sitting there patiently on your lap. It could be a montage, a sequence of images, a movie. Or a TV ad, or one sentence.

I've been finding it really, really difficult to start on my creative writing process. For this unit I'm doing we have to submit a folio later in the semester, featuring a few poems or a short story within a word limit. I want to tell a story. And I'm starting to figure out just how ambiguous my task really is, and how percolated the concept of stories is. There's a struggle within me - one voice is yelling at me saying that is exactly what makes telling a story easy, and another voice telling me that it's for this reason that I'm finding it so hard.
I don't know. I'm going to try my best to get this concept of story rooted in my mind and rooting for me to just go for it, jump in, and tell a story. 


Jess F said...

I think a narrative is what actually happened and a story is how you share it.

Like the narrative of my day is the sequence of events which happened from start to finish but the way I tell you about it is the story.


Unknown said...

Lol calm down!
yeah that's what I meant when I said how the story is the 'telling' part.