Tag Archives: story

Long-tail story arcs

A year or two ago I was analyzing the television shows I loved, attempting to discern why I liked those more than others. While there are many factors — characters, setting, themes, type of show, to name just a few — the shows that stuck with me were (and are) the ones that didn’t completely wrap up everything neatly at the end of every episode.

  • Alias
  • Bones
  • Buffy
  • Angel
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Veronica Mars
  • Chuck
  • The Office
  • NCIS
  • Monk

Obviously, there are others; Lost is quite involved, and 24 has always had season-long story arcs. (But for my purposes today, 24 isn’t the best example.) And just because a show has these more involved story lines doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll love it.

All of these shows have had story lines that last many episodes — often a full season or longer. And I postulate that this is the same reason I like to read book series. I get to spend more time with these characters, yes, and get to see them grow and change over a longer period of time and pages. But it also allows space for the characters to breath. I feel like I’m not explaining this very well; do you understand what I mean?

Note: I was inspired to write this post by My Friend Amy‘s post defending television.

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Whose story is it?

I’m a private person. In general, I think before I speak. But then, sometimes I want to tell a story.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not thinking of or referring to any specific happening in this post. These are thoughts I’ve had, if not frequently, then more than once, anyway.

I’m not talking about made-up, fully fictional stories here, I’m talking about real life. Sometimes I want to share something I’ve experienced. Is it my story to tell simply because I was there? Or do I owe something to the other players of a narrative — it might be more their story than mine, or they may have more to lose by a given story being made public — to keep quiet, to let them keep their story to themselves? Should I wait until all the major players are dead or have made their peace with an event before I make public these stories we share?

Whether it’s blogging or writing a book, most of the stories we tell aren’t fully ours alone to share — after all, they . What’s the right thing to do?

I wonder.

Do you have any wisdom, any insight into this? Or does it not bother you?

Or maybe I’m the only one who thinks about these things, but I doubt it.