Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Use of a Double in Storytelling


I recently re-watched Fringe, a television series. In one episode, I noticed a very striking technique being used. In the episode, one character feels out of place. The plot of the episode is that he's helping hunt down a character doing evil in the cause of -- fitting in. When the main character questions the character and finds out more about his motives, everything the murderous character says about doing whatever it takes to fit in, the dialogue has a subtext and a level of deeper emotions because the viewer is aware of the main character's issues.

One aspect of powerful storytelling is making what a main character feels accessible to an audience. Struggling writers are often so immersed in introducing a character, getting across their background, their history, their surroundings, creating a picture of their relationships, everything really except what an audience often craves from a story, something that suggests an author can help readers/viewers go on a journey to a state of deeper, potent feeling.

When novels become hugely successful while being denigrated by literary stylists, they have often created that deeper journey people crave from stories.

On a side note, I helped an author with a memoir that had a vivid and compelling action line...but I could barely get her to convey her feelings toward those closest to her, and to her own deeper feelings about tragic events in her life. On a first read, her deeper feelings were an almost complete void.

A literary agent passed on her memoir (that someone had, when the main events of the memoir happened, offered her $50,000 for the movie rights, but that was long ago).

It happened that another story person read her memoir and helped her to write about those deeper feelings from the first paragraph of the memoir, and the literary agent who had passed on the book agreed to represent it.

If you're not writing a sequel to a well-written movie about dinosaurs, you need to get to that deeper place and take your readers with you.

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To read some of my longer reviews of popular movies, check out my writing workbook, A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling, available on Amazon's Kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook.