Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Defensible Positions and Presuppositions

I would like to talk about two particular articles on narrativefirst.com:

The Purpose Behind Every Great Story
 My standard for evaluation of effective narrative is the Dramatica theory of story—a theory of story based on the concept that every complete story is an analogy to a single human trying to solve a problem.
 When it comes to using narrative to argue that a particular point-of-view—or approach—to life is more appropriate than another, constructing them to reflect the mind’s problem-solving process ensures the greatest amount of effectiveness. We all know how to argue, can sense when the argument is baseless or incomplete, and through experience know when an argument works successfully enough to change our point-of-view.
This is the purpose of a great story: to reflect that process while arguing for the effectiveness of one approach over another.
 And A Method For Generating Conflict:
 Great narrative positions one truth against another. Set up an argument that cannot be resolved without one giving way to the other and you have the foundation from which to write a compelling story.
 (Emphasis all his)

... "Great narratives put two truths against another." You would not make one side obviously wrong and easily defeated. By putting these two "truths" together, you are, in a way, suggesting that there are contexts in which each one of them would be true.

If your story is about Racism, and your argument is "Racism is Bad vs Racism is Good" then are you not suggesting that "Racism is Good" is true in certain contexts? And for the story to not be Dramatica-Propaganda, you would likely have to give both positions somewhat equal weight as well. Are you not, intentionally or not, suggesting that "Racism is Good" is a defensible position?

What if, instead, your Racism-story presupposes that "Racism is Bad?" Maybe it is about how to deal with Racism? Or maybe, you can make an argument about whether Racism is a systematic or individual issue.

Replace Racism with anything you like. Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... the same holds true.

Additionally, if you simply put an "obvious" truth against an "obvious" falsehood, why are you writing this? Isn't it a lot more challenging to write about an actual dilemma? You have to go deeply inside your self to find an answer... This is why you are writing this and why we want to hear your story.

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