So, did anyone else notice the the Supreme Court decision on the Obergefell vs. Hodges case cited Confucius? I know that this has caused quite the hubbub in China, and among scholars of Chinese philosophy, and relatively little of what I’ve read has been positive. There are some who have defended the citation, but the vast majority have pointed out that when Confucius lauded the family as a foundational institution of the state, a child-bearing family was assumed, and the creation of children to strengthen the community was one of the primary duties of the family under the Confucian model. Further, the cheap shots taken by justice Scalia at justice Kennedy’s use of the quote from Confucius were simply insulting. As others have pointed out, it is one thing to disagree, and to present a well-thought out argument, it is entirely another to simply dismiss something as meaningless or worthless. Thus, whether you agree with the Supreme Court’s decision or not (personally, I am not supportive of their handling of their decision on the case), I have to say that the first major use of Chinese thought in an American political setting (at least that I know of) was not well handled by either side. Anyway, I have an exercise for you. This is something new. At this point, if you’ve been following the blog, you probably have quite a few settings worked up from our Friday challenges. However, I’m wondering if you’re using those settings at all (if you don’t, then look back through the archive at the plot challenges and you’ll find plenty of inspiration for settings). So, today I want you to sit down and write out your basic metanarrative. I don’t want you to building any settings or develop any characters, instead use what you already have and come up with an overarching storyline for a 1, 3, or 5 story series. Plan on these stories being between 10,000 and 35,000 words long and try to have a good flow. I want you to consider and decide on the following points:
1) What locations (i.e. cities, ruins, forests, temples, etc) is your story going to center around? What are the major powers (i.e. national or religious) forces involved and how to they currently relate to one another? How are their relations going to have changed by the end of the story?
2) What characters are involved? Who is your main protagonist? You supporting protagonists? Your main antagonist? Your supporting antagonists? How is each major character going to be different by the end of the story? Is anyone going to be dead? If so, who?
3) What is the introduction, the climax, and the epilogue of each story? What are the three pivotal events that the metastory itself focuses around? What are the major events that come in between them? Try to have a clear but general outline of your plot. Consider what has to happen in the story, and then consider what should happen in the story. Then you can start working out how to get from one to the next.
4) What are going to be your major trouble areas? What events or plot points do you just not know enough about, or are you simply bad at writing? Can you work around these trouble points? If not, is there something you can do to get better at handling them?