What makes a good story

If I can’t feel it when I write it, how can I expect anything else from the audience?

I had a call with a director on her short story today for the rewrite.  She wanted to make sure all the elements were there, all the ambiguity was explained at the beginning.

I then said, “Look, I understand where you were coming from. But doesn’t your version sound like a beige flight safety promo video? How do you want me to feel in the end?”

So what is a (good) story? What isn’t?

The bottom line is, we want our hero to go through hell, to hurt, to lose, to experience a near death before he grows, and learns, before he gets his want, or not. No matter what the reward, he has to earn it first otherwise the audience would feel cheated. Besides, we want the surprises to keep our minds engaged. By giving us details like how we deal cards, our hearts are satisfied through working and solving the puzzles by ourselves. And when we feel what the hero feels at the very end, we finally realize that we have been manipulated by the storyteller. But like the hero, we let it happen. Because the journey is the reward. 

By pinpointing her mistake, I also realize it’s the pitfall that I also tend to fall into. 

As a storyteller, my job is to stir emotions. If I can’t feel it when I write it, how can I expect anything else from the audience?

 

Yours truly,
YZ

The C word

What I’m creating here is a blog. It’s content by default. According to the trend, I should call myself a content creator. But why do I still prefer using writer, podcaster, filmmaker, or artist in general? Because those words carry weight, meaning, emotion. 

Content. It gets on my nerves when I see it abused, as I did the other day when I saw someone posted “Content Creation” at an online course I’ve been doing.

I would go so far to avoid “I’m content,” but choose “I’m fulfilled.”

I ask myself, what do people mean when they say “content?” I googled. This is the closet definition:

Information made available by a website or other electronic medium.

So it means information? If so, why do we use content? Just because everybody uses it? Just because the marketing gurus trademark it?

Truth is, I used to work in marketing. I’m not exempted. In my former line of work, I used “Content Marketing” and “Content Creation” on a daily basis.

Now I ask:

What’re the differences between “Content Marketing” and “Marketing?”
What’re the differences between “Content Creation” and “Creation?”

Does adding the C word before marketing and creation make them more specific?
On the contrary.

What I’m creating here is a blog. It’s content by default. According to the trend, I should call myself a content creator. But why do I still prefer using writer, podcaster, filmmaker, or artist in general? Because those words carry weight, meaning, emotion.

What about content? It’s arbitrary at best. In my view, it’s also—
Hypocrisy.
Elitism.
Pointless.
Careless.
Lazy.

And bullshit popularized by the CXOs, the bureaucratese who ask their subordinates to “generate content” for their content-loaded keynotes about content creation when they don’t even create the content, and to some extent, understand the content they are presenting. Because they’re on auto-pilot when they refer to content.

What would I say instead?

  • General: Things. Stuff.
  • Specific: Art. Design. Article. Essay. Blog. Screenplay…

Excuse my rant.

 

Your truly,
YZ