Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday writing: Georges Polti's dramatic situation of deliverance

NaNoWriMo is next month.  So excited but also dreading it!

Following my last post on Georges Polti's dramatic situations (go here), I am continuing with Polti's second situation, deliverance.

The three elements of a story of deliverance are the Unfortunate, the Threatener, and the Rescuer. The The Threatener and Rescuer could be actual people or they could be some other force such as a terrible storm or winning the lottery.  I think they are usually people, though.  The Unfortunate is definitely always an actual person.  It's hard to sympathize with anything else, after all!

I think you can gather from those alone what a story of deliverance would be!  Basically, the Threatener threatens the Unfortunate in some way, and the Rescuer saves the Unfortunate from the Threatener.  This could range from dire to mild such as a prince saving a princess from being killed by a dragon or a man giving another man money so that his landlord does not throw him out.

This story is basically as old as time.  Fairy tales use it, childrens' stories use it, even the most acclaimed novels and movies use it.  Why do we like it so much?  Some suggest that stories of rescue appeal to our primitive need for safety.  We can easily identify with the Unfortunate because even if we are not in the exact situation he is in, we know what it feels like to feel threatened and to need rescuing of some sort.  We sympathize greatly with the Unfortunate and want him to get the help he needs.  We want the Threatener to be thwarted, and we admire the Rescuer for his selfless or heroic act.

In modern times, it seems to be politically incorrect for a woman to be the Unfortunate whenever the Rescuer is male.  These sorts of stories are not becoming rare exactly but less common, and when they do appear, they are often criticized for being a woman in a position where she must be rescued by a man.  As a woman, I'm not personally offended by these stories.  I feel that if the plot and characters are well-developed that it really doesn't matter what the gender of each character is.  However, I'm not anyone important to impress.  When using this dramatic situation, you must consider why you are writing it a certain way and how others might potentially perceive.  Unfortunately, it's just never enough to have a good story if you want to actually sell your work!

1 comment: