Choice plays a critical role in any story. Much of the meaning found in stories is exemplified in the choices characters make, as well as the consequences that follow. And yet, I feel that most characters make very few real choices over the course of their story. And I think that’s necessary. Too many choices can overwhelm an audience, just as too few often make for a boring story.
On the small scale, clarity is the meaning of the words the story uses; understanding the rules of grammar, as well as carefully weighing the merits of poetic language and figures of speech (simile, metaphor, analogy, etc.) It’s ensuring audiences have the necessary information to understand “why”; whether it’s why Harry Potter is famous, why he was kept out of the magical world, or why some characters adore Harry while others despise him. Carefully managing “what audiences learn” and “when they learn” is a critical component of good storytelling. (See 107-02 Background Information)
At first it seems obvious; audiences need to understand the story, both in the concrete sense of “what is actually happening”, and the more abstract level of ideas, themes, and overall meaning. “What is the story about?” “What is the story trying to say” These are important questions to consider when editing a story.
1. Different plots engage the same question/issue.
One of the most prevalent issues in the Harry Potter series is the issue of prejudice. Audiences first encounter it through the Dursleys and their treatment of Harry. Because of Harry’s magical parentage, the Dursleys malign and mistreat Harry. Ironically Harry’s other main antagonists, Voldemort and his followers also begrudge Harry because of his heritage, but in their case they feel that he is “not magical enough”, since he is born of a muggle born wizard (his mother).
For Part 1, the unconscious, Click Here.
The conscious mind represents the more complex side of every person. The conscious mind takes the simple desires of the unconscious mind and builds more elaborate goals around them. Where the unconscious mind wants to feel and enjoy, the conscious mind wants to overcome a challenge. The conscious mind is the problem solver; cracking codes, assembling pieces, all in an effort to achieve some kind of new understanding, a moment of insight that can only be called an epiphany. The question is, what does the conscious mind want to understand?