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Resonant VS Thought-Provoking: What Makes for a Better Story?

IN HIS BOOK, The Golden Theme, Brian McDonald (who has taught story seminars in Pixar, Disney, and Lucas' ILM) concludes that, "Stories are the collective wisdom of everyone who has ever lived. Your job as a storyteller is not simply to entertain. Nor is it to be noticed for the way you turn a phrase. You have a very important job--one of the most important. Your job is to let people know that everyone shares their feelings--and that these feelings bind us. Your job is a healing art, and like all healers, you have a responsibility. Let people know that they are not alone."

As someone that deeply believes in this philosophy, I couldn't help but think about the latest movie I'd watched on Netflix.

As a politically charged piece, I couldn't help but understand the value of the work, especially towards its advocacy. I was sure that it was able to touch people and make them feel as though they were not alone (as evidence from it's glowing reviews).

But a part of me just couldn't jump onboard to really liking it because of some blunders and impulsive choices that the main character made throughout the film. For some reason, I just couldn't relate to any of the characters, nor did the film illicit any emotional reaction from me while I was watching.

Maybe I just wasn't the target audience for it, and that's why.

But it got me thinking about Brian McDonald's statement about what makes a good story, and what the job of a storyteller is.

If a story resonates and creates empathy in some people, but not all, does that make it a good enough story? What if the ideas within a story (its advocacy) are impactful, but the story itself is not? Does that make it a good story?

It makes me think about how I can better bridge the gap between my ideas and my craft and create something that both impacts people thoughtfully and also resonates deep within their hearts. I think that the moment a story can achieve both, then that's what makes it worthy of being called a masterpiece.

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