Avatar and the story in storytelling

By Limor Shiponi

No, haven’t seen Avatar yet. I will, I want to. Just mentioning it because it creates a perfect example for what I intended to write about in this post – story in storytelling.

Going back to an earlier post, the one with the Xes. Here is a quote:

…Merriam-Webster. Here is the definition for story …“ the intrigue or plot of a narrative or dramatic work”. Art … “ the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also : works so produced”.

People told me about Avatar. Many people. Only one of them mentioned the plot line of the story in the movie – in general. All of them spoke endlessly about it’s visualization as THE thing about it. “ The conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also : works so produced”. The story of Avatar as told by people who saw it is a story about an amazing piece of visual art, including “ the intrigue or plot of a narrative or dramatic work” – in this case, a visual dramatic work with a visual plot line (colors, effects 3D etc. and how they evolve), worth telling.

In storytelling, “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also : works so produced” should create the outcome of storytelling – someone telling a story after hearing one, and that story should be “the intrigue or plot of a narrative or dramatic work” – in this case, a told dramatic work with a told plot line worth telling.

Story in storytelling is not the original plot of a story. Story in storytelling is what grows emotionally, intellectually and physically inside the listener and turns into a story worth telling – whether it has anything to do with the original plot or not.

So what’s the difference between reading a story and hearing one from a storyteller? it’s the WE or US experience. A storytelling event is a mutual face-to-face creation between teller, story and listener. It cannot and does not exist in any other realm in exactly the same way.

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