When first tasked with defining exactly what a story is, I quickly realized how much my mental definitions and assumptions vary based on the context. When I hear the word ‘story,’ I think of novels and films with grand sweeping plots made to entertain and enchant their audience. Then (with some help from the reading and its myth ‘debunking’), I realized that the definition of story is much simpler than that. I personally disagree with the ways in which our reading defines story, and my definition is simply “a series of events.” A story does not need to have obstacles or goals, as clearly shown in the ‘slice of life’ genre of storytelling, nor does it even require any sort of meaning or character. Instead, I believe that all a story needs is a series of events, or even just one event, to be considered so.
To elaborate, I feel that whether or not a story is a story (regardless of entertainment value) according to definitions all depends on how it is told and presented. To use a popular example, the entire Harry Potter series could all be told in the following sentence: “A normal boy named Harry Potter became a wizard and defeated the evil Lord Voldemort.” This, of course, begs elaboration (in this story’s case, elaboration in the form of seven books and eight films), and even that sentence could stir a listener’s mind into filling in the details with their own stories. One sentence could grow into two, three, or even an entire paragraph until the entire series unfolds to its full potential as a story.
What I consider as a “good story” is obviously quite different. I may get extremely bored listening to a friend recount a story that happened to them, but go through an entire fiction novel in the span of a day. While the definition of a good story varies greatly from person to person, I consider a good story to be a meaningful series of events with a strong character (or characters) to tie them together and invoke emotion from the viewer. Without interesting characters or events that matter in some way, a story is not really worth being read.