Friday, September 16, 2022

Your Narrator's False Belief--and How It Drives Your Story

Character in fiction and memoir is built on certain convoluted pathways. Because tension and conflict drive story, these pathways are often full of false beliefs or mistaken views of self and life that get examined as the story moves forward and the character grows.

As readers, we witness the journey: the narrator's relative ignorance or unconsciousness at the start of the book, maybe creating a life fueled by fear or anger; the changes as they grow more aware, shedding their limited views; the downslide of the tragic character who embraces their mistaken beliefs even more.

False belief makes a great structural model for story, both in memoir and fiction, and it's even applicable to nonfiction (the reader comes to your book with a limited view and uses your material to expand that view).