Monday, August 1, 2016

Hypothetically Speaking

Story as an overall concept, has much in common with Science as a capitalize concept; both are built on an item common to both, the hypothesis.

Story is a concocted set of observations which lead to a dramatic conclusion.Science, with at least as many potential definitions as story, may be regarded as a series of observations leading to the explanation of some demonstrable phenomenon. Boiling water, for example, may be defined as a substance composed of two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen, heated to at least 212 Fahrenheit or 100 Celsius degrees. A hypothes is a supposition or theory, or a related group of suppositions or theories, leading to a predictable outcome. 

To overstate an obvious hypothesis, if one were to suppose water would boil at 212 Fahrenheit or 100 Celsius degrees, one could secure a quantity of water, verify the hypothesis were being tested at sea level, then subjected to that quantity of temperature, the results would fall in the same category as the drug deal gone wrong or the about-to-retire law man. The hypothesis or theory would by now seem so plausible to us on a basis of first-hand observation.

There are many stories lurching into momentum with some arrangement going wrong, which brings into play the significant inertial force of story, the triggering device. A memorable example of such a beginning is Cormack McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, which dumps a slew of triggered consequences down on the person--and thus sensitivities--of Ed Tom Bell.

In both cases, the drug deal gone wrong and the place in the story of Ed Tom Bell, who is a senior law enforcement officer, on the track toward retirement, author McCarthy is playing with cliches, plausible situations that have become convenient memes for the reader to accept. The mater of plausibility resides in direct proportion to the amount of reading a reader has experienced.

Much of story finds its opening velocity from one or more individuals contesting the outcome of a hypothesis or theory. Story that does not begin in this manner may lurch into motion when one or more characters, which by definition are invented personalities or hypothetical individuals, have conflicting views about an intended action.

Another meme convenient to Story is the assumption or hypothesis that it begins with someone, the author, perhaps, or one or more of the theoretical individuals created by the author, become intrigued with a series of observations, say Othello becoming jealous of his wife because another character had said the magic words, "What if?" leading Othello to seek to disprove the hypothesis.

Shakespeare knew a good thing when he had it. His character, Leontes, in The Winter's Tale, begins to hypothesize about his wife, the child she is carrying, and his best friend.

One of the many keys available for investigation in Story is the location of and awareness of trickle-down consequences of the hypothesis gone wrong.

If you learn to recognize the telling points in the successful hypothetical realities of other writers, you may well be able to put into place your own realities-gone-wrong, turning your he said/she said into a hypothesis that holds up under the scrutiny of logic, but more important yet, the crucible of emotional investigation.

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