Stories / December 12, 2012

Wisdom for Storytellers from G.K. Chesterton

From chapter one of Orthodoxy.

“In short, oddities only strike ordinary people. Oddities do not strike odd people. This is why ordinary people have a much more exciting time; while odd people are always complaining of the dullness of life. This is also why the new novels die so quickly, and why the old fairy tales endure forever. The old fairy tale makes the hero a normal human boy; it is his adventures that are startling; they startle him because he is normal. But in the modern psychological novel the hero is abnormal; the center is not central. Hence the fiercest adventures fail to affect him adequately, and the book is monotonous. You can make a story out a hero among dragons; but not out a dragon among dragons. The fairy tale discusses what a sane mane would do in a mad world. The sober realistic novel of today discusses what an essential lunatic would do in a dull world.”

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