Sunday, July 3, 2016

Provocation.

The things a character wants determine his social and political platform, allowing us from witnessing some minor activity to speculate what he will do when a larger issue arises. 

An individual character may practice a form of self delusion by building an agenda from some abstraction such as freedom to explore options or deciding to speak up in the presence of injustice. 

Abstractions such as these may be a firewall to prevent the character from seeing the eventual outcomes of greed, self-indulgence, or a woeful lack of confidence. Sometimes in the behavior of characters, we see defensiveness such as vivid protestations of disinterest or complicity. 

But the discerning reader can see and in time recognize the Maginot Line of response, see through the offered explanation and into the action.  Don't you see?  I had to.  Or, I did it for you. In other words, implied words, I was, don't you see, provoked?

In the presence of such individuals, the introduction of an opposing character, a man or woman who judges individuals by deeds rather than words, has every chance of provoking story. 

This sense of a story being provoked carries the weight of drama. Stories do not happen by chance. Even if there is an element  of accident, the forces involved in the accident have agendas, if only the agenda to occupy the same place.

Stories erupt from a combination of provocation and combustion.  The goal of the major character provokes an atmosphere of desire, impatience, perhaps even desperation. When the chemistry of these forces reach a critical mass, there is combustion. Now the story begins.

Like a boulder perched atop an elevated ledge, the story is already critical mass. How difficult it is to see in real time, such a boulder, perched on such a ledge. Try as we might, we can't help visualizing it in motion.

This is the only moment in story where appearance is valid; from this beginning point, story is motion, gathering momentum, its acceleration growing. The moment the story comes to rest, it is over, waiting for another provocation to move yet again.



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