What is a story? – Alexander Lewandowski

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.

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3 thoughts on “What is a story? – Alexander Lewandowski

  1. meaganmthornton January 20, 2015 / 3:18 am

    Alexander,

    I like your inclusion about slice of life stories. I had thought about that particular genre when writing my post for the week, as it does not follow the typical path of the hero, or main character. Your inclusion about provoking emotion in the reader or receiver of the story is a particularly good facet of the definition of “story”.

    -Sam Watson

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  2. meaganmthornton January 20, 2015 / 11:12 pm

    Alexander,

    I too, like Sam appreciated your “slice of life” idea and explanation. It is true that any simple and monotonous chain of events could be considered a story, however a good story should as you have stated move the reader in some way.

    -Hannah Marble

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    • meaganmthornton January 25, 2015 / 1:48 am

      It seems that we all agree with Alexander and his point about a slice of life stories. This genre certainly is a story but does not have the conflict or tension discussed by the Story Proof reading. Do we think that the slice of life story may not have tension but still acts as vehicle of meaning imparting a larger message? Or is meant to paint a picture and represent a moment? – Meagan

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