Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Colors of Story

What makes a good story “good”? In my post of that title, I decided that a good story (based on Genesis 2:9) consists of two parts: excellence in the execution of the writing (good craftsmanship) and biblically sound themes and their proper treatment (good content).
Having two standards, however, means that stories are no longer only right or wrong. That is, if you will allow the color analogy, the issue isn’t black and white. The black and white can also combine, and we must now deal with black and white and a new third color, gray.
So what makes a story black or white or gray? Let’s look at each of them separately.
White—good content, good craft: This is the ideal. It meets the standard God used, giving us a story that is a pleasure to read and a benefit to the soul. Therefore, these stories can be enjoyed without fear or worry. Nothing meets the standard perfectly, of course, but some authors have come pretty close.
Black—bad content, bad craft: These are fairly rare. A secular publisher might release a book with bad content, but usually the craft is excellent. A Christian publisher might release a book with bad craft, but often the content is powerful. But nonetheless, occasionally one gets through and should be avoided at almost all costs, since it is completely opposite God’s standards. Thankfully, we rarely are tempted to read them—if the craft is truly “bad,” you’ll most likely stop reading before page fifty, unless it is required for school or something similar.
Gray—bad content, good craft or good content, bad craft: Ah! Here we reach the rub. Most books fall into this area and what a friction they cause! We want to read the first (bad content, good craft) because the writing is so engaging—but we read the latter because it’s healthy and “safe.”

No comments: