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How to Make a Story ーWhat is "Story Question" and "Central Question" ?

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What is "Story Question" ?

This is the basis of Hollywood style story composition theory.

"Central Question" is a synonym.

This article summarizes the definitions of "Story Question" and "Central Question" and why they are important.

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What is "Story Question"

Desire of protagonist

The protagonist of an interesting story has goals or desires.

That will be a story question.

  • "I want to meet my missing father!" → Story Question: "Can the protagonist meet the missing father?"
  • "I fell in love!" → Story Question: "Does the protagonist's love fulfill?"
  • "Find the criminal!" → Story Question: "Who is the criminal"

It briefly expresses the whole story

"Story Question" expresses the story concisely.

  • "Can the protagonist meet the missing father?" → "The story about the protagonist finds the missing father"
  • "Does the protagonist's love fulfill?" → "A story about whether the protagonist fulfills love"
  • "Who is the criminal" → "Story to identify the criminal"

Importance of "Story Question"

Without it the story gets boring

A story without "Story Question" is not fun. It's just a record of events.

Lisa Cron wrote as follows.

Without knowing what he wants, or what his issue is, ....

Without it, there’s no yardstick by which to measure your pilgrim’s progress, no context to give it meaning.

.... It’s like watching football with no idea what the rules are, or how points are scored, or even that it’s a game at all.

ーfrom "Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence" by Lisa Cron

 

"What he wants, or what what his issue" is a story question.

It resembles the rule of sports

Story Question is compared to the rules of sports.

Sports are fun because there are rules. The story is fun because there is a story question.

It sets the meaning of the story

"Context to give it meaning" is similar to "rule".

Even with the same content, when the story question changes, the meaning of the story will change.

Even with the same content, the meaning of the story differs between reading while thinking "Who is the criminal" and reading while thinking that "Does the protagonist's love fulfill?"

In other words, story question is what sets the meaning of the story.

Is it different from "Central question"?

Words of broader meaning

"Central question" is a wider meaning than "Story Question".

This is a word that can be used in various fields.

Words that can be used outside the story

For example, if you are talking about diet, "How can I diet" is Central Question.

In the case of a politician's speech, it is "how will society get better" and so on.

The central question in this article is "What is Story Question?"

... Like this, "Central Question" can be used for various things.

Among them, the story's central question is called "Story Question."

Summary

  • What is Story Question: mostly the goal of the protagonist.
  • Why it is Important: Without it, readers and viewers will not understand the meaning of the story.
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