Uneven foundations.

What makes for a great story?

It's not the subject matter, or even the characters. Nor is it from following the three-act structure, I've read comics, novel, watched movies that discard these things entirely and still are watchable, almost addictive.

An uneven application of the law.

My theory is that fundamentally a good story has its foundation on a wobbly surface. In other words, we're aware of a certain inequality going on here.

Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird is charged with defending a black man accused of raping a white woman in the 1930s depression-era South. He has to 'even things out' by supporting the accused's side of the story.

Somebody's got it, so you can't have it.

In Casablanca Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) holds on to the 'letters of transit' making it impossible for Resistance Fighter Victor Lazlo and his wife Ilsa escape the Nazi-sympathetic Moroccan outpost. Rick could just hand them over, but then the story would get 'evened out' too soon.

Walt fixed things for himself, but it caused...

I'm re-watching Breaking Bad again and I see time after time how Vince Gilligan skillfully uses the actions of one character -in this case Walter White trying to keep the illegal meth-lab in operation.

Just when you think everything is solid and level story-wise along comes the assassins to kill his brother-in-law Hank. Vince Gilligan's method is to fool the audience into a false conclusion of Walter's conflict only to throw in a massive, deadly conflict that was there all along brewing in the shadows (it didn't hurt to write in Hank's demotion from the D.E.A., losing his weapon before the shit went down too).

So, if you're in the midst of writing your novel, screenplay, or comic keep in mind to make the foundation a bit 'wobbly' from the get-go.

The Bible doesn't really get going until Eve takes a bite of the apple. Imagine The Bible being 8 pages long because Eve said to the Serpent 'Sorry, dude. God said no.'

Uneven stories.

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