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What Makes Me Like Your Story

I have some conflicting preferences when it comes to stories.

What? Drew's talking about his opinions of storytelling on his blog again? Call the fucking media, it's a once-in-a-lifetime occasion!

What? Drew's talking about his opinions of storytelling on his blog again? Call the fucking media, it's a once-in-a-lifetime occasion!

For instance, I love postmodernism and the way it encourages fractured storytelling and genre blending, but I hate how needlessly obtuse postmodernism can be sometimes. I like my postmodernism within a certain threshold of obtuseness. It's a delicate balance, but some creators (Kurt Vonnegut) make it work. For me, a work has got to impart some sense of cohesion.

Sometimes, cohesion comes from operating on a logic that isn't strictly intellectual. I love Hitchhiker's Guide. Trying to come to intellectual understanding out of it would drive me nutso. But it follows a logic of absurdity, and so it still works. Some stories I love adhere to a poetic or emotional logic. See the above, or the novels of Haruki Murakami, or the plays of Samuel Beckett for works that do this well.

Generally speaking, autobiographical fiction is a surefire way to turn me off. I figure if you're just going to thinly disguise your real life, then write a friggin' memoir. As always there are exceptions to my "rules." Pinter's Betrayal is a wonderful play and all it is is retelling a real life affair he had and making it non-chronological.

I have a bias towards simplicity. I don't mind complex characters and plot, but I am always in awe of storytellers that can make a little go a long way. Storytellers like Samuel Beckett, Sarah Kane, Chuck Palahniuk, and Kurt Vonnegut (again) never cease to amaze me with how impactful their works can be precisely because of how little fluff they allow in their narratives. There is something to be said for not getting too clever about things.

I don't like stories that spend too much time explaining things. Which is tough because fantasy and sci-fi are my favorite genres.

On the topic of fantasy, I have an overall preference for non-realism. As in, stories that take place in a realm of possibility beyond our mundane world, even if it's some minor injection of the supernatural. This is sort of related to my wariness of autobiographical stories.

I like the fantastical. I like wonder. But I also demand truth and a beating heart amongst the chaotic weirdness. If there isn't anything grounding a story, then it's inconsequential fluff. Which can still be fun, but that's not what tends to stick with me.

I was about to write that I'm very demanding when it comes to the stories I like, but that's not quite true. A piece doesn't have to fill ALL of my "requirements." A work that exemplifies a principle or two is already well on its way to earning my undying love.

If you've got your own biases when it comes to stories, feel free to sling them at me in comments or something.

Anywho, until nexto timeo -


I Steal from These Writers Because I Love Them So Much

Pick Better Idols, Drew!