Week one: Why we tell stories

Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why I write. Why I want to tell stories. This is the conclusion I have come to: I think storytelling can give us an insight into the worlds, minds and ideas of people who are not us and, in doing so we can learn more about those worlds, and more about ourselves in juxtaposition to this otherness.

Growing up I struggled to find characters with whom I related. I had questions about myself and I looked to stories to answer them. I think as a society we should endeavour to enrich our stories by having our characters reflect life for variety and difference. I tell stories because I want to understand other people, I want to understand myself.

This is one of the reasons I love television. It’s democratic — it’s the friend in every living room. Soaps and continuing drama can influence the way their audiences respond to the world around them by demonstrating a cause and consequence example of different scenarios. Television can introduce ideas and normalise behaviour: one of Netflix’s most popular shows is currently The Good Place, a sitcom about moral philosophy.

I want to see more gay characters on my tv. I want to see realistic depictions of disabled characters, men and women who defy stereotypes, working class characters, racial diversity. I want to see these people written as regular, multi-faceted characters, not storylines. A preachy, over-worthy storyline will not change anyone’s mind, but rather I am interested in taking vastly different characters and putting them in stories which distil what it is to be human down to the most basic, the most common, the most relatable.

This entry forms a part of my MA Writing for Script and Screen Reflective Journal.