Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…

Character, Value, and Change

This article is so good for writers to read and understand I had to reblog. Enjoy.

A story is born when an event, known as an inciting incident, disturbs a character’s deeply held beliefs or values. There’s more to it than that, of course. Characters persist in a state of deprivation. They have unmet needs. Repressed desires. Subtext, history. No character walks onto the story’s stage without carrying a heavy load of this baggage. But, until the bad thing– lightning strikes, the gun fires, the lover says the unsayable thing –disturbs a core value, there is no story. Strout, Elizabeth

Consider an example. In Olive Kitteridge, an Elizabeth Strout novel composed of connected stories, in “A Different Road,” we meet Olive and Henry, middle-aged, long-time marrieds in the throes of reacting to a terrible event. Eventually we learn that they were attacked and held hostage by a gunman in a hospital during a drug robbery. At the opening, we only see the change, or reversal that…

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This entry was posted on July 11, 2015 by in Uncategorized.
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