The question:

What is a story?

My answer:

A story is a constructed sequence of events meant to mirror the experience of real life in a concentrated form.

The key word here is “experience”.  The experience of real life is very different from real life itself.  Stories with unrealistic elements like fantasy and sci fi are often better mirrors of the experience of real life than realistic fiction because of how effective that kind of imagery is at drawing out the most meaningful emotions of real life.  In real life, there are long periods of boredom, drawn out muted emotions, and confusing lessons we feel we’re supposed to learn.  Stories boil all that down to a simple and pungent form.  Plot structure, character structure, thematic arcs are all designed to bring out those emotions and ideas in a way that feels powerful and pure (often by using one of our favorite ways of experiencing emotions: catharsis).

That’s my answer.  Would love to have a discussion about it!

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