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Mar 01, 2019 23:08:17

Stories Don't Have to Be Surprising

by @keenencharles | 254 words | 1🔥 | 216💌

Keenen Charles

Current day streak: 1🔥
Total posts: 216💌
Total words: 60736 (242 pages 📄)

A good story evokes emotions in the consumer. It's able to make you feel tension or joy when you know what you're seeing isn't real. Even if you know what's going to happen, when done well you can still feel the expected emotions.

I think a lot of people have a misconception that stories need to be surprising to be good. They'll figure out where a plot is heading and dismiss it immediately because it goes as expected. But as the cliche says, the journey is more important than the destination.

Many great stories are predictable. The hero wins or the guy gets the girl. At some level, they all turn out the way we expect. But we enjoy them anyway. That's because the writer is able to generate empathy for either the characters or the situations they find themselves in.

The most popular example of this is Avengers Infinity War. The big cliffhanger ending left many sad and in shock. Yet we all know most of those characters will return soon enough. What the movie does well is it establishes genuine stakes and get you to empathise with the characters' desire to deter those stakes. When they fail you feel it too.

Looking for a big surprise in a story can diminish your enjoyment of it. Surprises are great but when done for their own sake they feel hollow. It's so much more rewarding to accept a story for what it is but enjoy the unique journey it takes towards an expected ending.
  • 1

    @keenencharles Oh yes! So many beautiful movies seem to be schematic and plot obvious, and yet they have magic, because they look at the obvious from the non obvious place...
    Yet, hard to beat Game of Thrones, as it both, is breathtaking and... so NOTHING there is obvious. (well, I'm talking about the books and movies based on them, the last ones... escape me) I think our culture cannot believe that bad things actually happen. We deny odl age, we we deny weakness, we deny death...

    Lucjah avatar Lucjah | Mar 02, 2019 11:34:58
    • 1

      @lucjah well said! I think Game of thrones especially the books try to subvert the expectations we've had of heroic stories that's why it's so surprising. You expect characters to return or find a way out and they never do.

      Keenen Charles avatar Keenen Charles | Mar 03, 2019 10:36:32
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