Friday, February 5, 2016

Stories within stories


I think it is so cool to read, watch, or play through a story that has different levels of meaning. The twists are incredible, and being able to read back and find the clues is mind opening. There are many examples of this.

1. Inception 
Duh. Some people (like my husband) didn't like this movie because there wasn't a definitive end. The ending was left to the audience to interpret. Now, I know there are conspiracies out there claiming to know the secret that Christopher Nolan was hinting at, but I loved the fact that there was not a right or wrong answer. And don't get me started on the levels! Just like in dreams, our mind can take things we see in the real world and mix them around in our imaginations to create an unforgettable story. Of course, my dreams don't always make sense.

2. Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
This is one of my favorite books. It starts off with a seemingly innocuous inn keeper serving his regular patrons. A stranger comes in and recognizes the inn keeper as a man, a hero, of legend. The inn keeper/legend agrees to tell his story to the stranger as long as the he does not blow the inn keeper's cover. This story is filled with love, betrayal, loss and adventure. But there are two stories going on in one book. We have the inn keeper and the stranger and everything going wrong in their present world, and then the inn keeper's past. It is masterfully written and, if you haven't read it, go check it out!

3. Princess Bride
An all time classic. This movie also has two stories going on. The first is the grandpa reading to his sick grandson, and then the story within the book. This movie has a lot of sentimental value for me. Whenever this movie comes on TV, my grandpa will make me sit down and watch the poison scene. He claims it's "the best part." Of course we end up watching the rest of the movie together.

4. Persona 4
This is a video game that has many levels as well. While I haven't personally played it, I understand that there is a "day time" version of everyone and a "night time" version. The day version is normal albeit with secrets. The night version is kind of like their alter ego. It's the person they internally struggle with or who they are keeping hidden from the rest of the world. I think we all can relate to that at one point in our lives.

5. Beyond Two Souls
Another video game. This one was very interesting because the way the story is presented to the gamer is out of chronological order. You get bits and pieces of the story as you play, learning more and more about the strange main character. When the game wraps up in a crazy climax, you can see the depth and the layers that make up the story.

I have always loved stories that slowly reveal themselves. Stories that unfold before the reader like a well-earned present. Getting to the end and seeing how everything falls into place is nothing short of magic.

1 comment:

  1. I'm currently reading a book on how to write mysteries, and I think they are perfect for layering. Just this week for our family movie night we watched Harry Potter, and I realized that even though it's categorized as fantasy, each book is essentially a mystery, with the multiple layers unfolding at the end, and then the layers beneath those layers finally unfolding at the end of the series. So cool!

    I like The Life of Pi as a layered book- the top layer is the story of a boy stuck in a boat with animals; the layer underneath asks the question- was it really the animals he was with or people? OooOOooOooh... I haven't seen the movie of that one yet, and I'm curious to see how the book translated to the screen because of that layering aspect.



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