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Old 04-13-2008, 08:15 PM   #16
nekokami
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It's "mainstream" if the marketing departments at the publisher think they can get a zillion people to buy it, right?

I may have mentioned this elsewhere, but Orson Scott Card describes four ways of categorizing fiction as "types" of story: Milieu, Idea, Character, and Event. All four are about attempted change, and begin when the change starts and end when the attempt either succeeds or fails. Milieu stories are travel stories: a character goes somewhere different and comes back and tells the story. Idea stories are mysteries, at heart: there is something unknown that the characters/reader need to figure out. Character stories are when a character tries to change; event stories involve changing the world. Many stories have all four elements, e.g. The Lord of the Rings (everyone travels and they see many wonders; they need to figure out how to destroy the Ring; all the characters grow and change; Middle Earth is saved from Sauron). (Oh, did I need to put "SPOILERS" in there? )

Anyway, back to the point (yes, there is meant to be a point buried in here somewhere): I've come to the conclusion that to qualify as "literature," the primary or even ONLY kind of story arc that is acceptable is the Character type, and preferably, the character fails to change.

Can anyone tell I'm not happy with the reading assignments in my current graduate class?

I still haven't figured out how Shakespeare manages to be categorized as "literature" when the Bard clearly knew how to tell a good story with multiple plot types.
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