Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Story Within Story

Have you seen Inception yet???

I absolutely loved it. What a well-woven story! And, like all really good stories, it inspired some thoughts that could be relevant to the stories we have yet to write. I'll try and tell you about them using only the trailers and the first few minutes of the film. Don't want to spoil it for anyone. :)

In the movie, they mention the concept of a dream within a dream. But let's look at a slightly different idea: a story within a story. From the trailers, we discover that the movie is about the power of dreams. In the opening scenes, we find out that the MC is trying to get home. It's a story within a story, and only as the film goes on do we discover the depth of meaning of each of the elements and how they relate to one another.

After finishing the film, I realised what an important concept this is. A good story is like a piece of cloth: a series of interwoven threads. Some threads are more important than others, but every thread strengthens that piece of cloth. Take Harry Potter, for example. That story could have been told with any random kid as the hero. But it's so much stronger because Harry's parents have been killed by Voldemort. Or let's look at The Hunger Games. The Peeta/Gale scenario is not neccessary for the distopia, but it makes it that much better.

That is story within story. Why do the characters want these things? What drives them? What makes them who they are? What's on their mind when they can't sleep at night?

These are the things that pull us into the film, or book, or song. That connection, where we feel like it could be us.

In the end, Cobb is just a man yearning to get home, Harry is just a boy yearning for his parents' love, and Katniss is just a girl who's confused about boys.

And that's why we love them, because we identify.

Is there a story within your story?

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