The Art of Story Telling.
I am neither a great story teller nor a scholar in the art of story telling. I have looked around for good sources on the subject of story telling but to no avail. Thus I have decided to start writing on the subject myself. With respect to writing, the writer with a blank sheet of paper and a pen assumes the same position as that of the creator where the infinite nothingness into which he must put forth his creative energy is but the blank sheet of paper. With great humility and respect for what he creates the writer must move forward for what he creates in the end is what will give him his existence.
To simplify the understanding I will assume three objects to be necessary for the act of story telling to happen . One would be the Teller, then the second would be the Story itself and the third would be the Listener.
The Teller is the God of the story. The Story itself would be where the Listener and the Teller interact thus the life of these three objects. The Listener is passive in this relationship but is the end of the three. The Teller with all his powers and tools must “floor” the Listener with his story or the story itself would be a failure.
Now that we have defined our players lets delve into the art itself.
What are the qualities of a good story? What is a simple story? What is a Higher Story?
Let us take into account some good stories. Not writing or directing or a good musical score but the story in itself. A great writer or director might have many skills up his sleeve but all of those will fail if the story itself doesn’t count.
Heres one sci fi story I really liked.
A Most Ambitious Experiment by Mike Krath
"Now," Robert told his wife, "I am going on a long trip. You won't see me for years, but I will come back and see you."
"Where are you going?"
"I am going into the future. I am sure you will be angry when you see me, but it won't be for long, because once I have seen you, I will then vanish again and you will see me standing in this very spot exactly five minutes from now."
Robert's wife was puzzled.
"I am curious what our 401k will do if I invest in certain options and leave them," he said. "I've decided to go twenty years into the future and see the outcome."
"What if you can't come back?"
A slight pause - then, "I hope I made the right choice."
"What do you want for dinner?"
"I wouldn't make anything for me now, but, five minutes later, I will tell you what I want."
Robert left for the basement. His wife, still confused, but knowing that Robert was a puzzling man, went to the kitchen to make dinner, with or without her husband's request. She was quite unsure what to make of all of it, but, after a few minutes, she quickly forgot the conversation.
Later in the afternoon, Robert's wife walked over to the basement door and knocked. She waited. She knocked again, and, again, nothing. Finally, she opened the door and walked down to the laboratory. Robert was nowhere to be seen. She hadn't heard him come up. Where had he gone?
When supper was ready, and the light outside turned a dim color, Robert's wife called out his name, but no one answered. The house was quite still.
"I don't like this," she thought. "He's never been late for dinner before."
Robert's dinner grew cold, and his wife placed it in the oven to keep warm hoping he would notice it when he came back. In the morning, Robert's plate was still warm in the oven. He had never touched it. His wife looked for him once again and called out his name, but it was to no avail - he wasn't in the house.
After several days, Robert's wife contacted the authorities and told them what had happened. They searched the house for clues, but all they could find was a slightly discolored spot on the basement floor.
"I'll be back in five minutes," she said.
After the authorities had left, and after several more days, weeks and months, the case was officially closed. Robert was missing, but since no foul play could be determined, it was decided that he had just deserted his wife. Robert's wife was not pleased.
Years passed, and Robert's wife was able to secure a job that kept her living slightly above poverty level. Day after day, while working, she cursed her husband for leaving her. She would never forgive him. Never! Her face became more wrinkled and the pretty smile she once wore turned into a permanent scowl.
Finally, twenty years to the day her husband had left, Robert's wife was sitting at the kitchen table when she heard a noise coming from the basement. She immediately got up in fright. Who was down there? She heard footsteps slowly walking up the stairs and - finally - the door flew open and there, before her eyes, was none other than Robert. He didn't look any different than when he had left.
"You!" she managed to say.
"Okay, what's the value of our 401K?" Robert asked.
"Where have you been?"
"That doesn't matter. What matters is the value of our 401K. I need to know if I invested wisely or not."
"You left me twenty years ago with nothing to live in and expect to find anything left of the 401k?"
"You spent it all?" Robert asked. "Oh great - that's just great. I'll be right back."
Robert turned and went down into the basement.
"Robert? Robert, where are you?" Robert's wife said but suddenly saw a brilliant blue flash of light and then nothing. Robert had vanished once again.
Robert's wife went back to the dining table. She sat down and tried to think of what had happened. Her mind was muddled. She couldn't think. The 401k had been - had been - she thought - left untouched when Robert had first left, but now - she was beginning to remember different things. The 401k had been placed in a trust. A trust where she couldn't touch the money for twenty years. Then, she remembered that when the authorities had informed her that Robert had deserted her and was never located, that she had him declared legally dead so the trust would be legally hers without waiting for twenty years.
"I told you I spent it."
"I put it in a trust."
"I had you declared legally dead." Robert's wife said.
"Oh bother," Robert said. "I'll be back again."
A flash of light and Robert's wife was again confused.
"Did I say spent it? Spent what?" she thought. She had tried to obtain some money after Robert had left her. When she had gone to inquire how much was in their 401k, she had found out that Robert had withdrawn the money and had hidden it somewhere - but where?
Another light and Robert was there in the kitchen again.
"Do you know how much you put me through? You left me nothing to live on."
"This will all be a bad dream," Robert said.
"If it wasn't for some gold coins that I found buried in the backyard, I would never have survived."
"You found the gold coins?"
"So that's where you hid the money!" Robert's wife said. "Good. I'm glad I found it and spent it all!"
Robert went back into the basement and disappeared. His wife sat still for awhile expecting him to appear, but he never did. She got up and went to cook. She thought of her husband and tried to remain bitter against him. She suddenly couldn't think of what would make her bitter. Deserted her? He had never deserted. What an imagination she must have. As she opened a cupboard, Robert walked into the kitchen.
"Have you decided what you want for dinner?" she asked. "I haven't started making anything yet."
"Leave me alone, I'm not hungry," Robert said and sat down at the kitchen table.
"Can't you keep your grubby hands off our money for twenty years?"
"You can't let me leave you for a measly twenty years without spending everything we have, can you?"
"What are you talking about, honey? You haven't been gone for five minutes and already something is troubling you."
Robert looked at the wife of his youth.
What if he killed her? He could strangle her now, go into the future, see what the 401k did, come back a few minutes before, and live happily ever after.
"May I see that dish towel for a sec?"
Robert went back down into the basement, and twenty years later reappeared in a flash of light.
"Who's down there?" a man asked walking down the basement stairs.
Robert hadn't thought of this. He looked for somewhere to hide, but it was too late. The new owner of the house had a rifle.
"Say your prayers."
"Wait! I can explain!", but it was too late. Robert was immediately shot and fell backwards quite dead - a most miserable end to a most ambitious experiment.
I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I did. Lets get to analyzing it.
Krath’s writing is average. He gets his point across using simple language and doesn’t play with his words too much. Krath’s understanding of time travel is formidable and his character play is exquisite.The Story
The world is very simple. A basement and a kitchen. The number of lead characters is two.A husband and a wife. The motive for the narrative lead is money. The Spin on the story is the Time Machine/Time Travel which in itself is hardly described.
This story reminds me of butterfly effect and the Linear hold that story had on different points in time and the effect of one time on another.
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