Episode 258: The Five Commandments of Storytelling – Part 2


Danielle Kiowski, Shawn Coyne, Tim Grahl, Leslie Watts

Tim Grahl  00:00

Hello, and welcome to the story grid podcast. My name is Tim Grahl and I am a struggling writer trying to figure out how to tell a story that works. Joining me shortly is Shawn Coyne. He’s the creator and founder of story grid. Along with him, we have Leslie Watts Story Grid Publishing’s Editor in Chief. And we have Danielle Kiowski, the chief academic officer at story grid University. This is the second in a three part series where we’re looking at the five commandments of storytelling. And we’re looking at it specifically through the lens of the Ed mcbaine, short story, Eye Witness. We’ve been doing the full 624 analysis for the past several weeks. And we’re in the second week of looking at it through the five commandments. So let’s go ahead and jump in and get started.

Danielle Kiowski  00:51

Yeah, that’s excellent. And I think that that’s a really great bridge to go into the crisis too, because the crisis. And as Tim alluded to, before, the the crisis matrix, is going to be an elimination of the exploration of the problem, that Sam faces up until the point where the protagonist, who Sam, as identified with will need to make a decision based on the dilemma laid out in the crisis matrix. So the third commandment is the crisis. And coming out of the turning point, in the wake of the destruction of the initial strategy that the protagonist is using to deal with the inciting incident, the choice of what to do, it collapses down into a binary set of options. So the protagonist faces a choice between two options. And that’s the crisis. So the crisis matrix that that you were talking about, Tim, is looking at the two options, and breaking down the stakes that the protagonist faces in each option along the Trinity planes of perception. So what are the on the surface stakes? What are the above the surface stakes, and what are the beyond the surface stakes. And looking at it in this way, gives us a clearer idea of the comprehensive view of the the two options available to our protagonist at this point in time, it also echoes back up to Sam’s problem. So that it gives us a clearer view of how the author is is drawing these parallels between what Sam needs to figure out and what our protagonist needs to figure out. And it ties the Trinity planes together. So it ensures that your scene, or whatever unit of story you’re evaluating with the five planets, that is operating on all of these three levels, because before we get to the crisis, the author needs to have made clear the stakes at all of these three levels, and that can only happen if the scene is firing on all of those cylinders. So to fill this out, the first thing to do is to determine what are the two choices that face our protagonist? So what are the two options that Struthers has, in the wake of the lieutenant’s entry into the room?

Tim Grahl  03:27

To stay or to leave?

Danielle Kiowski  03:29

Yes, and so. So what we can do to stay in stay and go is a really clear archetypical crisis. Binary. That’s something that we’ve talked about in the heroic journey as well stay versus go, right. We can also look at what that means in terms of the pursuit of justice. So the way that we talked about that is, if he goes he keeps silent. And if he stays, he exposes the lieutenant because he can’t, he can’t stay in not talk like the stay and go as they’re expressed in this story. It’s really the choice between speaking up or keeping silent. Does that make sense?

Tim Grahl  04:18

Yeah, and again, I’m going to ask the same question, which is Who Who are we looking at this through because in previous weeks, when we talked about this, I kept having struggle wrapping my head around like the controlling idea because in the manner that he leaves he served he does serve justice. Right while make while keeping information that he wants he wants to keep so again, are we looking at this from Struthers? Is this up to is this like okay, this is how Struthers is doing. It is this capelli the author is This the SAM, because from from any view outside of Struthers at the point that he, at this point, it almost doesn’t matter what he does, they’re probably going to move closer to justice. Because unless he’s just like, I don’t think in the I don’t think with the crisis of because because of the way he freaks out and leaves, it shows everybody in the room, including the person Sam reading this report that it’s the lieutenant so we move closer to justice. Right? We’ve dealt with that in previous weeks.

Danielle Kiowski  05:45

Yeah, he hasn’t done that yet, though.

Tim Grahl  05:49

I know, I’m just thinking in terms of like, when you’re when you start talking about are we moving closer? What? By looking at the crisis through the lens of justice or injustice? I’m like, Well, you see what I’m saying? Like, I don’t know, is it what capelli things? Is it? What is it the author’s? It’s I mean, it seems to be our three choices are author, same, or protagonist.

Danielle Kiowski  06:16

Okay, so we’re not getting to the value change yet. So what I meant there is just the internet instead of like a generic stay or go, we can look at these choices in terms of how they are, like, how can we express them verbally? What words can we choose to talk about these choices that are very specific to the situation. And that is tied up in genre. So. So that’s why that I’m just like trying to translate from stay or go to keep silent or expose the lieutenant, because that’s a more specific action that is relevant to the global genre. But we’re not trying to make choices yet about whether those progress more toward justice or not, that’s a job for later. Like the resolution, that’s where we’re going to find that out. So this is about the choice, the two choices, the two options that our protagonist has. So it’s looking at Struthers, and what he can do, coming out of that turning point progressive complication. And then we’re going to illuminate the stakes that face him at each of these Trinity planes of perception. And what that’s going to do is that it’s going to do the things that I talked about before about tying the scene together. But what it also does is it sets up the climax, which is going to be our next commandment, so that we understand what we’re learning about Struthers from which one he picks. So we need to know what he knows. And what he perceives as the stakes. So that we can understand his character. And this is why we say avatar, because character is a very particular thing, characters, what’s revealed, when we figure out what the avatar values, how they prioritize things, it’s their inner character. And that’s what gets revealed when they make the decision between one of the two options in the crisis. So we’re focusing on on Struthers and his perceptions and his information in the crisis matrix. Okay,

Leslie Watts  08:39

it occurs to me that we might want to adjust those titles of the or the name of the second choice, because it’s keep silent is our first choice. And then Choice two is expose the lieutenant but because, you know, spoiler alert, he does that even though he keeps silent. And so Choice two should probably be to like speak up or something like that.

Tim Grahl  09:07

Should it just be you stay in speak up or leave and stay silent?

Shawn Coyne  09:15

Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, that’s good.

Tim Grahl  09:17

And maybe I’m jumping ahead here. But isn’t that how is that different from what’s going to go in the on the surface boxes? Great

Shawn Coyne  09:27

question. Survive, thrive derive.

Danielle Kiowski  09:30

Yeah. So so the the way that it’s different is that we’re talking about this is this is a really common thing that happens when people are filling out the crisis matrix. So I think it’s really important to go into and really clarify. When we name the choices, those are looking at the action that the protagonist would take in choosing that option. So keep silent. Leave and keep silent. Stay in Pick up. Those are, as you said, on the surface actions. When we start filling in the boxes, this isn’t about a restatement of the of the choice on that plane. Instead, it’s about the consequences or the stakes, or the potential costs, like are the potential benefits at that plane of perception. So how does the in and on the surface way, right, so looking at the situation on the surface? What are the consequences of leaving and keeping silent,

Tim Grahl  10:48

leaving and keeping silent the consequences are, he stays safe for him and his family stay safe from ramifications of speaking up.

Danielle Kiowski  11:00

Yeah, yeah, that’s great. So then if he stays and speaks up? It’s the inverse of that. Right? Right. So vulnerability, danger. Yeah. And his family is in danger. So that is one aspect of on the surface, what happens? So so he comes in with the goal of exposing the criminal, right. And so that’s a want that he has is to illuminate this, the identity of the criminal. What happens in terms of that want with each of those options from Struthers Struthers informational situation at the point of a crisis.

Tim Grahl  11:44

So then if he leaves, he doesn’t get what he wants? If he stays, he does get what he wants.

Danielle Kiowski  11:53

Right, so the criminal remains concealed if he leaves. And if he stays the criminals exposed. Great. So So that’s those are the changes that we have for the on the surface situation. So those are the on the surface stakes at play in this crisis matrix. And then we’ll do the same thing with above the surface. So above the surface, is about the ramifications for the power that the protagonist has the agency that the protagonist has, as well as their information processing system, and how it impacts the way that they are thinking about the world and the way that their their agency is interacting in the world. So its power agency, informational processing. So how would you just just taking this kind of one at a time? How does Struthers power his ability to thrive? How is that impacted? If he chooses to leave and keep silent?

Tim Grahl  13:02

I feel like he retains power. Because he has information that he can can he continues to have agency over the information.

Danielle Kiowski  13:14

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And yeah, and we we call that retaining leverage just because it it’s information that he can use in a particular way to keep himself safe. Right. So which is exactly what you’re describing there. And then if he chooses to stay and speak up, then what happens in terms of his agency and power?

Tim Grahl  13:38

Well, he, he gives that up. So he no longer has that leverage that he can pull. He’s already he’s already done it.

Danielle Kiowski  13:46

Right? Yeah. And I think that one is a little bit, it’s worth looking at a little bit more closely. Because I think that’s one where it could be easy to look at that and say, well, he’s claiming power by speaking up. But as you pointed out, he’s passing that responsibility to the next person to decide what to do with it. So he gives up his agency over that by speaking up. So even though he’s enacting his agency, he doesn’t have control over that information anymore. The person hearing it does. So I think that’s it’s what you said is absolutely right. And I just want to zoom in on that a little bit to make it clear for anyone following along at home. So then for the the informational processing. So, what we can look at here is that the protagonist comes in with the with an idea of their own identity within a stable internal concept of what Who they are, what they’re here to do. And that’s also tied up with a goal state with their pursuit of a goal state. So all of these concepts work together to form this internal landscape. That that we can we can look at it as a as a frame as a worldview, these are the, the way that the protagonist sees the world, and wants to keep stable. So it’s very threatening for us as humans, when we come into contact with things or when we do things that threaten the stability of how we see the world and how we see ourselves. It’s very painful. So this is another level of stakes where we can look at which option preserves stability, and which one threatens stability creates instability and insecurity. So do you have an idea of which option would do which of those things for Struthers?

Tim Grahl  15:58

I feel like leaving would retain his stability that would get him closer to living in a world where he knows what’s going to happen next. Well.

Danielle Kiowski  16:18

So what’s his what’s his goal? Like, what does he think that he should do? Well,

Tim Grahl  16:30

are we talking about his one of exposing a criminal? Or are we talking about his want of protecting himself and his family?

Danielle Kiowski  16:41

Right, so So both of those are in play, but he has assumed the identity of a witness.

Tim Grahl  16:49

So his goal is to. So his goal is to expose the criminal?

Danielle Kiowski  16:56

Yeah. Yeah. So the idea is, if he leaves, will he have internal conflict?

Tim Grahl  17:09

Yes. Because he didn’t reach the goal that he set out to reach.

Danielle Kiowski  17:16

Right, right. And so that’s what we’re getting at with that stability versus instability is that his stability is compromised. If he leaves because he has this, it’s called cognitive dissonance, that he is acting in a way that is inconsistent with his view of himself in the world and his identity as witness that he’s adopted. So you know, he may have gone through, like, we know that he comes in knowing that the police department is corrupt. So he’s probably gone through some steps of turmoil and cognitive dissonance to get to the point where even comes in. But he has adopted that identity. So now that’s what’s in play is it’s the most relevant thing in play at the time is this identity that he has going as witness. And then on the other side, we have cognitive confidence that he maintains his internal stability and his identity as witness he keeps going with the the the decision that he’s made to be a witness if he stays and speaks up.

Shawn Coyne  18:21

Can I just jump in here about this might be a helpful little trick. The above the surface is about truth. Right? So if if Struthers places truth as his highest, you know, like, I always tell the truth, then what will he do, he’ll reveal that the lieutenant is the killer, because he’ll say I’m, I’m that kind of person who always tells the truth. But then, if he does, that, his well being and his family’s well being will be in jeopardy. So he has to make a choice. Is the truth more important than well being in this circumstance? So if I don’t tell the truth, I’m sacrificing truth for wellbeing. So he has to make a determination here, which is more important in this context, well being or truth. So that’s the stake at a sort of, like, meta level.

Tim Grahl  19:30

So if we’re looking at on the surface, and we had to sum it up in one word, it would be safety. And if we had a sum above the word above the surface, it would be truth. Would you agree with that or no?

Shawn Coyne  19:49

Yes, well, I wouldn’t say safety and on the surface, I would say well being or the good, the good for me, my family the world. So is it better For the world, you’re making a like a quantitative calculation. How how many people will be victimized? If I can reduce the number of victims, then that’s better than increasing the number of victims. So well being is on the surface. Truth is, Am I really is truth being served or not served? are truths being expanded, or are lies being expanded. And the trick here is that you can’t say that there’s a single answer for what well being is or what truth is, because it’s dependent upon the circumstances that, that that you’re under. So you can’t say that there’s a single solution for well being a single solution for truth, or a single solution for that third thing we’re about to talk about, which is beauty.

Danielle Kiowski  21:03

I think just looking at that a little bit more, we have different ways of calculating and then different ways of prioritizing, so we can calculate differently within these virtues of like, this is the trolley problem of you know, should I switch the trolley and run over one person instead of five people? And in practice, when when asked that question, people tend to answer that, yes, you should flip the switch and hit the one person. But then you can make that calculation more complicated, and calculation in terms of figuring out the best way to fulfill that one virtue. So you’re looking at wellbeing, you’re looking at life, do you what happens when it is your family member, what happens when it is someone who is you know, highly valuable to society, like if it’s if it’s a doctor, so you know, you can make all of these modifications to the trolley problem, and then it gets a lot harder. And then you start seeing differences in the way that people think about the value of lives. And when you’re looking at different entries, within these levels within the planes, you’re looking at differences and how we would think about the manifestations of that virtue and how how we would place different value on them. And then you can also look at differences between the planes as differences between the virtues. And that’s more of a prioritization problem than an optimization problem. So this tells you in this circumstance does my protagonist value truth above Well, being or well being above her are viewed in all of these things?

Tim Grahl  22:49

Because in this particular case, if we’re looking at the on the surface, it’s not like he’s letting a murderer go, that would like continuing, continue murdering people every weekend. Right? So it’s, it’s much more about the well, so the wife’s already dead. So on the on the surface, he’s choosing between the very, very real possibility that his family’s well being will be put, will be put at stake, and potentially nobody else’s. Were then once we get to the on the surface, and we’re talking about truth, and power and information processing, now he’s thinking of it in terms of what is right. Right. So would that be another way of saying this of like, well, I my character as an avatar, my character shows through based on the decisions that I make. And so I’m now choosing between the truth of the fact that this is the person that did the murder, and he needs to be held to account for that. It’s so is he basically feeling the tension between the on the surface in and above the surface? Right? Because if you say, if you just asked me a question and say, forget what the answer forget what the choice is. Choice A, your family’s your family is fine, and nobody else gets hurt. Choice B, nobody else gets hurt. Like you know like that’s what I feel like he’s asking on the on the surface is like, if you do choice A you’re guaranteed your family could get hurt and nobody else will get hurt. If you do choice B your family could get hurt and nobody else will get hurt. Well, okay, I’m always going to do a if you’re only looking on the surface, but what adds the tension is this above the surface level, where now he’s having to choose between Do you see what I’m saying? Like that’s the tension is one choice gives him what he wants on The surface but not what he wants above the surface, and then vice versa, is that what is creating this tension?

Danielle Kiowski  25:07

Right. So there are a couple of things in play. One is that there are there is some on the surface tension, because we don’t know that this that the lieutenant won’t hurt anyone in the future any capelli sorry, Struthers feels that he might get hurt. So at the point that the lieutenant has the capacity for violence, by allowing him to remain on the street, he is putting some amount of risk on to the community at large. It’s not like as large as if Hannibal Lecter is out there. And he shows that he kills at random, but it is a measure of risk. And so when we looked at on the surface, we had two levels going on. So we have safety versus vulnerability and danger to his family, one level, and then we have criminal remains concealed versus criminals exposed. And that’s another level of well being. So that would encapsulate the danger to the society as a whole. that’s out there. So this is what I mean, like this is a trolley problem of which of these dangers do I place more value on. So that’s a level of tension within the on the surface. But then when we go down to above the surface, then we are getting those prioritization tensions added in as well. And so we’re not looking at them, when we’re doing the above the surface, like when we’re filling in that level of the crisis matrix. But in making the decision, going forward into the climax, that’s what our protagonist will be weighing is both the optimization within the level, and then the prioritization of comparing the levels. But when we’re filling in the above the surface and the beyond the surface, we want to stay purely within those planes. So we talked a little bit about, about above the surface already. So retaining leverage versus being disempowered, having internal stability compromised versus maintaining internal stability, that’s cognitive dissonance versus cognitive continence. And then we have one more concept to talk about and above the surface, which is the idea of responsibility, which is a similar concept to power and agency, but it’s different. It’s kind of the flip side of it. So what does Struthers have responsibility for? By virtue of his of the inciting incident.

Tim Grahl  27:43

He has responsibility for knowing what I feel like the responsibility is the knowing who committed the murder.

Danielle Kiowski  27:58

That he carries, like the burden of that information. And he has responsibility for helping it come to light.

Tim Grahl  28:07

Well, I think he has the responsibility. The burden is choosing if how and when to bring it to light.

Danielle Kiowski  28:17

Okay, sure. Yeah, I’m thinking of the burden is like, the weight of carrying it around. Like he’s the he’s the keeper of the truth. We could say, right?

Tim Grahl  28:25

Yeah, well, that’s what I’m thinking. He is. He? It’s like, you know, it’s like, like reading somebody’s diary, you now have knowledge that you have to choose to act on, that you’re not it’s now a burden to know this, right?

Danielle Kiowski  28:44

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So how does that responsibility? How does that change with each of the two options that we’ve looked at? or not change? What’s the state of the responsibility after each of these two choices?

Tim Grahl  29:00

If he leaves, he keeps the response, that burden of responsibility goes with him if he stays and tells then he relieves himself of that burden.

Danielle Kiowski  29:11

Great. And so that wraps up our above the surface plane. Okay. So we can move into beyond the surface. And here, we’re going to talk about more universal patterns, we’re going to talk about connection versus isolation. And we’re going to talk about the values that play here we’re going to talk about generally, just these bigger concepts, and the first thing that we’ll talk about and beyond the surface is collective cultural grammar. And so these are the patterns that play in the society. These are norms, laws and codes that that people in the society subscribe to, but we’re looking at the The primary ones that are at play these primary patterns of expected behavior that are at play in the story. So what’s the expectation of someone who is in Struthers position? Someone who has witnessed a crime? What is the society expect him to do?

Tim Grahl  30:19

report the crime? To tell what he knows?

Danielle Kiowski  30:24

Exactly. And so, right, so that’s perfect. So we’ve identified the collective cultural grammar in play is that if you witness a crime, you reveal the truth. And we can look at beyond the surface stakes in terms of when does he differentiate from that collective cultural grammar? And when does he conformed to it? So how would you classify that?

Tim Grahl  30:49

Well, if he leaves, he differentiates. And if he stays, he conforms.

Danielle Kiowski  30:55

Yeah, absolutely.

Tim Grahl  30:58

And we’re talking, we’re talking about the collective cultural grammar inside of this particular story. Correct. So some other story might have a different collective cultural grammar around these types of things. Exactly. Right. So well, so like in a, you know, if we use like a cliche, in jail stitches get snitches. So if you see something, you keep your fucking mouth shut. Right. So that would be a different collective culture grammar, right? Exactly. Okay.

Danielle Kiowski  31:40

Right. And so it’s the collective cultural grammar that informs the primary connections at play in the story. So here, we’re exploring the interaction between Struthers and capelli. And that relationship is founded on this collective cultural grammar of telling the truth when you witness something, whereas like, in the prison scenario, the the collective cultural grammar between the prisoners is that you don’t say anything. But I’m thinking about, you could have something taking place in a prison, where the primary relationship is between, say, a prisoner and a warden, where you’re still operating under this collective cultural grammar of Revelation. Like, I’m thinking of Brooklyn, nine, nine, when he goes into the prison, and he’s like working out a deal with the warden. And so then the collective cultural grammar in play, because that’s the primary connection is one of Revelation. So we can then, but But yeah, we have, we have the same differentiation and conformity for that collective cultural grammar based on those options. And another level to look at beyond the surface is in terms of that core relationship. So we have the relationship with capelli, as the core one at play in the story, which option would break down his relationship with capelli, in which one would build it up?

Tim Grahl  33:05

If he leaves, it’ll break it down. If he stays, it’ll build it up.

Danielle Kiowski  33:11

Exactly. So this is playing on the universal patterns of connection and isolation, that we want to build up connections and create an enabling fabric of, of relationships between different nodes. And so that’s why this is important beyond the surface is that we, we strive for that connection, and try to avoid isolation. And then the final one that we have is playing back to the the, the controlling idea how we talked about, we talked about this in the in the scene events synthesis episode is that just read this out, what we have is that there’s a greater probability of justice when discretion is the better part of valor. And so when we have discretion is the better part of valor. We want to talk about that idea of valor. And talk about what the trade off is there between valor as discretion and valor as something else. So when we were evaluating that, what we’re looking at it are like different ways to, to differentiate and shine through valor. So he picks this valor through silence option. And then what happens in terms of valor in in terms of his own recognition if he stays and speaks up?

Tim Grahl  34:46

Well, again, I feel like when I’m looking at that controlling idea, we’re looking at it from a different vantage where if we go all the way back to the pop, or the what we were calling it the time that would have scenario. It’s like, okay, we have this wizened old detective who pulls out this report and gives it and what he’s trying to. What he’s trying to teach Sam, is that valor can show up in lots of different ways and in this particular way, valor shows up as discretion. But I don’t think that’s the same thing happening for Struthers. That’s a different thing happening for Struthers. Struthers is not leaving in keeping discretion for this greater good of valor. He’s doing it for the opposite reason of valor. But I think valor is like bravery, and courage courage, like when I hear valor, so maybe I don’t have a good definition of that word in my head. But to me, he’s giving up valor to leave. And he would if he stayed, he would side on this side of valor. If we’re because we seem to be looking at it only through Struthers.

Danielle Kiowski  36:06

Yeah, I’m thinking of it in terms of like when, when you talked about what’s right, I see this is where what’s right comes out. So. So he’s operating under this concept of Avalor, like sticking up for his family through being silent that like that this is this is what he he’s operating under this under this expression of, of what is most valuable?

Shawn Coyne  36:37

Can I jump in about courage here? All right, so is it more courageous, to tell the truth and relieve your responsibility? If there are collateral if there’s collateral damage, and your family could get hurt? Or is it more courageous, to have cognitive dissonance and withhold the information and protect your family? So you’re going to feel terrible, because you’re carrying a burden. But you’re going to safeguard other people. So you’re sacrificing your internal integrity for the good of others? Is that courageous? Or is it more courageous to free yourself of your internal disintegration, but it makes more people more vulnerable to being hurt? That’s how I would define courage is is having personal sacrifices for the greater good.

Tim Grahl  37:49

Well, let’s see, this is where this is where I feel like, I start to feel like, I’m sure I’m just not understanding it. But I feel like we’re shooting at a moving target. Because a couple questions ago, you’re like, well, in this scene, the goal was to show up to give his testimony. So if he doesn’t give his testimony, he’s going to leave with this cognitive dissonance. But now we’re looking at it through the end. And that was a correction on me saying, Yeah, but it puts his family at risk. And you’re like, Yeah, but in this scene, his goal, when he showed up was to give his testimony. So that’s what we’re looking at. But now what you’re saying is, we’re now looking at it through the lens of protecting his family, not this other goal. So I think this is where I start to just spin out in my head is it’s like, Well, I understand what makes this such a good scene is there are competing goals, he can’t get everything that he wants at the same time. But I feel like well, if we’re looking at valor, through the standpoint of the goal of whether or not he tells what happened, then he went down on the valor thing when he left, but maybe he went up from the standpoint of his family, or maybe not, maybe his his, his family would stand with him and say, hey, we’ll take the hit. You know, you do what’s right, you know, go come home, on your shield on the pail holding your shield or on it. Okay, but you see, I mean, I don’t know.

Shawn Coyne  39:21

So you’re Alright, hold on, hold on, hold on. I get it, I get it. But what you’re doing is you’re doing a reductionist argument. And what that means is that you’re saying, this is different than this. And this is different than this, and they never link and there’s no connection between well being truth and beauty. And what I’m saying too, is complexity means that they have all links. And so you can look at each level, and you can think about each level, but you need to think of those levels in terms of the other two. At the same Time. And then what you do is you say, you add up, well being increased if leave, Courage increased if leave. And then you see how many pluses are in each column and how many negatives are in each column. And instead of saying, Well, we’re just flip flopping and flip flopping, while courage requires a consideration of the well being, of the increase of life, which Yeah, that that that does go to the end, it’s circles, right? It’s not, it’s not a fractured? Here’s my answer here. Here’s my answer here. And here’s my answer here. And I put them all together, and I’m done. No, they they’re tightly bound together. So you can you have to be very careful and very disciplined in the way that you look at each of these levels. Because they are tightly interconnected. But you still can say there’s an emphasis for each of them. And then you can do this is what makes a complex story because we need to balance our understanding of well being truth and beauty, in in very difficult circumstances, that there’s no single answer. I can’t tell you whether or not it’s a good idea, to rat somebody out or to keep the information to yourself, because it’s what it’s dependent upon the context. So what we’re doing in stories, and when we’re looking and analyzing stories, is we’re really trying to be very careful, and to clearly delineate each of these levels, but we also have to be cognizant that they are tightly connected to, because is it courageous to lie? Not really. But in this case, see that this blue band is what links the the green and the red together? So that’s why it gets a little bit tricky. Because will you withstand? Is it better to withstand that the disintegration of your agency and your mind? If you can trade that for well being of other people? Well, what will we what word would we call that? That would be courageous because you’re carrying a burden so that other people don’t have to? So I understand the frustration, and it’s probably because we’ve been doing this for quite some time. And when you’re really putting a lot of directed attention at this very specific, these specific questions. It can get mind trippy, but I don’t believe that you can just say we can’t consider well being and truth when we’re when we’re talking about beauty. And beauty is one of its manifestations is a courageous act that increases the cultivation of life, and truth and beauty itself. So

Tim Grahl  43:19

So would you say, so? So here’s what I’m hearing is, okay, we’re going to look at on the surface, and that’s the well being. And then we’re going to look at the the truth level. And then the blue is this kind of standing back and looking at all of everything at one time. And so that’s why you’re, that’s why you’re telling me? Well, it’s, yeah, now we’re looking at all of it.

Shawn Coyne  43:50

Yes, we’re trying to put the pieces together into some greater than, than their parts. And that’s what Struthers does. And that’s why the controlling idea of this story is discretion is the part of a better part of valor sometimes, you know, because that that, that means he’s more courageous by keeping his mouth shut. Because what he’s doing is he’s sacrificing his internal integrity for a larger good, and he’s sacrificing. He’s telling, he’s not telling a lie, but he’s not revealing the truth. So he has to manage which is more important. My my reputation as a truth teller and a proper member of society. So is it okay if my friends call me a jerk for not writing out? Can I handle that pressure? Have I made the right decision weighing all the factors? And he, he, I believe he came down on the right right side of that equation, and so does capelli


The Book

Is this your first crack at writing and finishing your book? Are you lost on how to tackle this project? This is the place to start.

First Time Writer

Is this your first crack at writing and finishing your book? Are you lost on how to tackle this project? This is the place to start.


Is this your first crack at writing and finishing your book? Are you lost on how to tackle this project? This is the place to start.