Catch of the Day 25/8/16

The Mystery of Storytelling (TED Talks), Julian Friedmann

An interesting talk from an agent, giving his view of storytelling theory (mostly applied to screenwriting, but I think a lot of the points can be applied to novels). The most interesting points (in my view):

  • The relationship between storytelling and the chemical response in the brain.
  • The relationship between an author, the characters, and the audience. How many writers forget the third aspect of this relationship?
  • The place of fear, and its importance in catharsis and the experience of the audience. Alongside that thought, the writer’s job to be an entertainer. Maybe this applies more to ‘genre’ fiction than ‘literary’ fiction, but there needs to be some aspect of entertainment in order to draw the reader in. Otherwise they would just read an academic paper on whatever it is you’re writing about. Our writing needs to elicit an emotional response — in order to do this, we need to engage with the audience, and we need to think carefully about how we actively seek to engage them.
  • Encouraging the audience to be active participants rather than passive observers. Not sure how this could relate to novel-writing. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

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