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Do Not Be Satisfied With Stories: Narrative Structure and Expectations
Is it easy to enter a story? Is it hard? And why? How much do expectations, knowledge, and familiarity, as well as a sense of what we believe is appropriate, play into how well we can understand and adjust to a narrative?
This lecture and follow-up discussion explores how the expectations we bring to a story influence how we engage with it, with a particular emphasis on how opening paragraphs (and opening sequences in films) often rely on familiarity and cultural knowledge to draw us in. We’ll focus on science fiction and fantasy stories, but the information is applicable to all narrative, and includes a close reading of the opening dance sequence of the filmed version of West Side Story.
Kate Elliott has been writing science fiction and fantasy fiction and non fiction for thirty years. Her twenty-six books include her recent YA fantasy trilogy Court of Fives, the Afro-Celtic post-Roman alt-history fantasy adventure with lawyer dinosaurs the Spiritwalker trilogy (Cold Magic), the science fiction Novels of the Jaran, the Crossroads fantasy trilogy (Spirit Gate), Black Wolves, and the massive AND complete seven volume epic fantasy Crown of Stars (King’s Dragon), as well as a short fiction collection. Her work has been nominated for the Nebula, World Fantasy, RT, Norton, and Locus Awards. Gender-bent Alexander the Great in space coming soon. Kate was born in Iowa, raised in Oregon, and now lives in Hawaii, where she paddles outrigger canoes and spoils her schnauzer, Fingolfin, High King of the Schnoldor.