lookingforoctober: (Default)
[personal profile] lookingforoctober
Most stories are "do" stories, about things happening, not about a static situation. About time passing, not about a moment in time.

But here is a "be" story: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/here-is-my-thinking-on-a-situation-that-affects-us-all/ (Here is My Thinking on a Situation That Affects Us All, by Rahul Kanakia).

On first thought, the existence of "be" stories (and scenes) makes me question the idea that the only constant thing to be found in a story is change...

Ursula K. LeGuin says it this way:

I define story as a narrative of events (external or psychological) which moves through time or implies the passage of time, and which involves change.


(Which just goes to show that LeGuin has a far more nuanced understanding of story than I do, since I read this and then remembered it as "stories have change". That little bit about implying the passage of time is pretty clever. But anyway...)

My example "be" story has change in the past and implies that there will be change in the future, so it implies the passage of time, but it doesn't actually show time passing. The now of the story doesn't really move.

But there is more change to it than that. Some of the change is implicit, and depends on the reader comparing the situation described in the story with current reality.

But some of the change is discovery -- it's the reader, not any of the characters, whose discovery is most important to this story, because it's the reader whose understanding of the situation changes.

I think the amount that the reader must bring to the story is important to a "be" story, maybe even what makes something into a "be" story for me. If the reader were watching a reader-stand-in character discover what the reader discovers, it would be a "do" story with a climax of discovery. As it is, the climax of discovery takes place entirely within the reader.

(This is also the danger of the "be" story, that the reader may not bring the right things to the story, and then it won't work.)
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LookingForOctober

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