Creative Narrative

"A creative narrative, according to Brown&McMillan (1991), tells a story that is factual in content, but uses fiction writing techniques, including plots, scene and characters". (..)

That is an intriguing way of putting it. A factual story using fiction writing techniques.

Gets me to think also on how to apply that to life. When we go and see a movie we will often think about what the morale is, what it is trying to tell us, what we can learn from it. But in life we might often forget to stop and notice what we are learning from our experiences, what the key plot points are, and why they are that way.

Being the audience to a composed fiction story, we can be quite neutral. We can see what is going on from several sides, notice the dynamics of each scene, enjoy it simply as a story, without us personally having anything at stake. But we will notice what the characters have at stake and where that gets them.

In life we might easily identify overly much with the roles we play, and take it very seriously, and think that what is going on is really the way it IS, and blame our adversaries for our troubles. But if we could rather appreciate what a good story it is, we might be able to take life more lightly. We NEED some stakes and some drama to make the story interesting, and we need some genuine emotional involvement to make it full and convincing. But that doesn't mean we really have to be deadly SERIOUS about it all. If we can notice the unfolding story, we can be fully engaged in it, but still be aware that it is simply something we are playing.

Also, in that I do improv acting, I can think of some more angles on this. The most compelling play to watch is where you don't really know where it is all going. You get surprised and delighted as the story unfolds in unexpected, but satisfying ways. A good improvisational actor must get used to committing fully to a role and to actions that he doesn't really know where will end. He has to be vulnerable and skate out on thin ice. And it is very exciting for both the actors and the audience to discover what comes out of it. Going where nobody has gone before, but trusting fully that you will get somewhere, and enjoying when you do.

So, it can be exciting and educational to watch a story unfold, even if you don't know where it is going, and even if the ending has not been written yet. Maybe it never will be, but all stories lead somewhere and provide some kind of drama, morale, and entertainment. We might not know before later where the story is leading right now, but that only makes it more exciting.

- Flemming

12 June 1995