Tag Archives: Storytelling

We can fix society, one story at a time

The screen is cracked. The screen of my cell phone, which I’m currently using to create this post, that is. Like a hideous spider web, it obscures my vision. Already used to the broken fragment, I swiped on.

With cell phones being so fragile, I’ve seen many a person walk 🚶 around with the same kind of blemish. Odd how quickly we adapt. We accept as normal. And I’m not just talking about the inconsequential cracked cellphone screen. Obvious. Maybe not.
After all, if everyone is doing it – then it is perfectly acceptable. I’m not just talking about drugs here. So if everyone comes to work late, it becomes perfectly acceptable to be late, each and every morning. Before your boss has whipped out his eyes, the company culture has changed.

child blowing bubble earth

What’s the big-y about culture?

Culture is something which governs our actions. What we find acceptable. What shocks us. How we react to things. This is why buzzwords such as ‘rape-culture’ are so big in our online discussions. What’s more, culture is formed by the collective experiences. I.e. What we believe, how we react to life is filtered by our past experiences. 

Did you know that storytelling creates experiences? Yes, and not just from a writer’s perspective. It only takes two different stories with a similar outcome to convince someone to rethink how they react towards that type of outcome. Two similar tales spun, and someone has gained a different experience. This in turn will not only determine his own perception, but changes the way others in the community think and act.

Think about that, for two tics.

Your stories, whether written or spoken can influence how someone else perceives the world. I’d like to hope all of us aren’t that impressionable. While stories may be used for the force of good, often they are used for the dark side.  How quickly your mind can change really depends on our point of reference. Your upbringing and your experiences.

Let’s say you are a woman. You hear from a friend about a guy whom you have never met, let’s call him Joe. Joe charmed your friend out of her socks, but got bored pretty quickly.
A few weeks later, another friend tells you she went on a date with Joe, but after a great night he never returned her calls. A random night out, you meet this Joe. Would you not approach Joe with caution? Perhaps avoid Joe altogether? What about if you met someone completely different who reminds you of Joe?
You get where I’m going here. Your friends shared experience, has become somewhat your own.

See how easy stories influence us?

If one guy gets away with a certain conduct, the next one will try a similar thing. Soon it becomes common.
Like my cracked cellphone screen, as a society we all too conveniently find some things acceptable.
I really don’t want to go into all the heartbreaking things this world has found acceptable. As mentioned, it’s sometimes the little things, such as coming to work late which rob us.

Sometimes, it takes some real strong-willed determination, not to do what everyone else finds perfectly acceptable.

The impact these stories of such strong-willed determination have on our society is sometimes the only thing that stands between us and degradation, impoverishment of the human condition.

Why? Because these uplifting stories give us a new point of reference.

While I’ve been terribly philosophical with this post, which certainly would have benefited in me being more specific, I hope it has at least given you some food for thought. Now, go forth and shine.

This post has been the tenth day of it does not need to be perfect a series I’m currently writing on this blog.

*child blowing bubble picture courtesy of pixabay.

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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Do authors kill their darlings to torture their readers?

*Spoiler zone for Harry Potter and other book series*

“Kill your darlings”, is advice given to writers. Seriously, do they need to heed it?

As a reader, it is often frustrating and painful to watch how merciless author’s kill off a beloved Darling character. The first time I actively noticed this literacy trend was while reading the Harry Potter series.

Author J.K Rowling came under much fire for killing her characters in a book series intended for children. Rowling kills off Cedric Diggory in book 4 of the series. If you ask me, this was purely a plot mechanism. Cedric’s death plunges the story forward. It also signals that the story getting much darker. While terrible, the death of this minor character was not all that traumatizing. Quill held high, each subsequent book saw Rowling crossing out another Darling.

People debated whether the death of Sirius Black or the death of Albus Dumbledore was more distressing. Personally, I would go with Dumbledore. He was one of my favorite characters. However, none of this came as a shocker. I was reading all the spoilers (Hey, I had to wait until normal business hours to get my copy of the book). I read the end before the beginning. Book 7 saw several Darlings lose their life. Only Rowling could kill off her own protagonist in such a magical fashion and get away with it. Okay, so she brought him back to life.

What is a story without its hero?

It was while reading another series that the death of a major character really got me down. Author Kim Harrison, killed off one very beloved character in her “The Hallows” series. I, along with all her other readers was confused, angry and very sad about the loss of Kirsten, who was Rachel’s (the protagonists) boyfriend at the time of his death. Okay I’ll admit it, I was crushing on the sexy vampire. Later books in the series revealed that he really did have to go. He was in the way of the story moving forward. Still, it hurt.

Author George R.R. Martin, takes no shame in killing his Darlings. Those who have read the “A Song of  Ice and Fire” series, or have watched the Television Show, “Game of Thrones”, will know Martin’s beloved method. He takes the entire notion of killing major characters to a completely new level. Simply put, I find this disturbing. It is one of the reasons I stopped reading those books.

The question then remains, do authors really need to kill their Darlings?

box-man-ripping-out-heart

From J.R.R. Tolkien to Anne Rice, many authors have killed their Darlings. It’s not for nothing that this is something so frequently found in our literature and storytelling. Sometimes a Darling will stand in the way of the story moving forward. He will stand in the way of the protagonist’s personal growth. It is all part and parcel of plot dynamics. There certainly is good reason behind this madness of, killing off Darlings.

Authors do not only apply this concept of killing off their Darlings to their characters.  This technique is applied to entire scenes, dreaded adverbs and other things that do not serve a book. Some of these things are more painful to the author, than readers will ever realize.

However, when authors kill their characters, they should not expect their readers to react graciously. Sometimes only, the author and his editor will know why a beloved character needed to take a bow. For the rest, there are online forums, discussion boards and even book reviews where readers will take their disappointment out on the coldblooded author.

What’s your opinion on the killing of Darlings?

Thanks to Author Stevie Turner for : #OpenBook blog hop prompt.

About the Blogger

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:

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