Rhetoric of Story – Part Four

Other – the web of relationship

This lecture in the Rhetoric of Story introduces the third of seven foundational elements of storytelling – the other. The key ideas introduced in this lecture are:

  • how do stores that travel through time?
  • as humans we are fascinated by the relationships between people.
  • archetypal relationships repeat again and again in society and in stories.
  • when stories echo our inner psychological conflicts they trigger powerful emotions.

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READING
True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor is a short treatise by David Mamet on the practice of theatre, drama and storytelling. Mamet’s forthright style is refreshing, and his attitude to the creative life, that it should be engaged with 100% or not at all, is a challenge to all artists.

EXERCISE
How well do you know yourself? Consider your own life; where you were born, who your family were, the events that have shaped you. Pick a major event from early in your life. What were your conscious desire(s)? What might have been your unconscious desire? In 1000 words, tell the story of that event from your point-of-view.

READING

Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a master of archetypal storytelling in the psychological tradition of Carl Jung. Women Who Run With The Wolves is her most famous work, a majestic weaving of myth and folktales.

EXERCISE

Consider the most important relationships in your life. In what ways are they archetypal? Choose three relationship archetypes suggested by the people in your life, and write a short fairy tale featuring those archetypes.

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Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Director of creative writing at UoL, published with OUP and Cambridge. Currently travelling the world and writing a book.

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