By Yage Wang
Everyone loves stories. As we might notice or not, almost everything that we care about in our daily lives is composed in the form of a story, such as games, gossip, tv shows, news, and even posts on social media. Until today, the film industry and fiction writing have come across hundreds of years of examination and development to walk us. It is a remarkable journey. However, despite the rise of the retro trend, readers (or story lovers) cannot use the same-old appreciation to give critiques anymore. Stories are evolving, so should our evaluation of those literary-based works.
Today we will introduce terminology that describes the structure of stories: Kishōtenketsu. It usually includes four parts of storytelling: introduction, development, twist, and conclusion. Not easy as it sounds, Kishōtenketsu can bear the phase of “twist” according to the author’s creativity and logical ability.
A great example will be Christopher Nolan’s Tenet (2020). The reason for the “great” denotation is that people usually consider movies as productions of affectionate literary works, like Romeo + Juliet (1996), Casablanca (1942), etc. However, Nolan uses this stereotype to pull out a story of justice’s origin. It breaks off the traditional and emotional storytelling on the inheritance of justice, kindness, and heroism. Still, it digs in-depth into the philosophy of consequentialism. This movie challenges the audience’s habit of watching movies with their eyes and heart. For example, we tend to be sad when we see the protagonist cry, and we would likely sigh when we see good people die. Instead, the director deliberately downplayed the emotional resonance of the audience and encouraged us to watch the movie rationally. All in all, Tenet uses a rational attitude to explore a perceptual theme, and that’s Nolan’s innovation on the “twist.”
If you’re interested in developing a short fiction, consider enabling Kishōtenketsu in your story, take some time on polishing, and maybe submit it to us in the following spring Dazed Staring collection.