By Kathryn Loch
Part 4 in Good Story and the Lie article series.
Folks need to understand, despite all the benefits of our hero Good Story, there is still an inherent risk of failure. He’s a good hero, but also imperfect and temperamental. Even if Good Story does all he can to help the writer, there is never a guarantee. Good Story won’t lie to you, he won’t make promises he can’t keep. Even if he possessed the ability to guarantee success, he wouldn’t. If he guaranteed that, he wouldn't be Good Story anymore. He would be Formula. Good Story doesn’t want to die. He likes his life just like it is, thank you very much. He's worked too hard, lived too long, to die as a formula. So he will remain difficult and temperamental. He will leave it up to the writer to become good enough to harness him and his power into their work.
Good Story can be take many forms as he works his magic. He can be thought provoking, irritating, he can educate and teach. He can encourage debate or be a commentary on society. Good Story can be all or none of these things. At his heart,, he is a great entertainer. A bit of fun goes a long way, and Good Story can be a secret treasure, a family evening together, a mystery, or fright so strong even the adult will go to bed with the lights on.
For every person who reads pages where Good Story has been welcomed and has taken up residence, he reaches each in a different way for a different purpose. If he has a message he whispers to one, he might shout it to another. He’s as handsome as any character hero but as nebulous and difficult to identify as the ideal he represents. He appears differently to everyone writer and reader, but he is well known and well loved, having friends by the score.
Every time you curl up with a good book, you curl up with him. He understands his responsibility and his duty, his reason for being – his ward is the reader. But he can help only if the writer has brought him into the work correctly. If he is strapped n so tightly he cannot move, he cannot work. Too loose and he runs rampant, trying to make things better when there is no need. He has no idea what it means “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” He knows his duty to the reader, but without the right guidance from the writer, who provides the structure and foundation he needs to do his job, he ends up turning the work into a disaster. He can be disaster looking for a place to happen.
He is honest but slippery. The minute you think you have him, he’s gone, and what you thought you knew turns opposite from the epiphany you believed. That is what makes Good Story hard to judge. Just because I managed to grab him and see a side I absolutely adore, does not mean the masses will see the same. Will they find him in the workings of my story? Everyone knows him. When they find him the cry of victory resounds. Look quickly, behind the banner over this article! Do you see him here? Wait there he goes, watch the text. Can you spot him in this work? Or is he nothing but my imagination?