Sunday, April 24, 2011

Greatness of Stories and Land of Corn Chips Cover

We watched "Water For Elephants" today. It was my full intention to read the novel prior to seeing the movie, but time slipped away, as it often does, and the movie appeared on the marquee before I knew it. I was angry throughout most of it and on the verge of leaping out of my seat to attack the main antagonist. This got me thinking. What makes a story great? What is it about a great story that forces so many to believe in its greatness?

I think we can all agree that a great story is one that stays with the audience long after the book is closed or the credits are rolling or the teller says, "The end." It haunts thoughts. It lingers in dreams. It wrenches hearts. Sometimes, though, great stories have a way of uplifting the spirit and in other times the audience is left thinking and questioning certain issues or situations.

Years ago, when I worked as a glass artisan for our family business, I pondered the subject of what made our art better than other art. The best definition of art that I found at the time and still remains with me is something along the lines of this: Art evokes emotion. Therefore, art is a very personal experience. What may evoke emotion in me, may not do it for you and vice versa. So, what is that common thread that makes art considered great by many?

It's harder to pinpoint with fine arts, but in literature, I've come to the conclusion that great stories always portray a common truth. A truth that rings familiar with many is read by many. This may be a no-brainer to some, but when the truth is expertly illustrated through words to where the audience isn't actively aware of it, that, in my opinion, becomes the grace of a great story.

This brought me to the next question I'm not sure I can answer to appease my esteem. Will my art ever be considered great by many if art at all? If I concede my conclusion above, the answer is maybe someday. Since my truths are not common, my stories may be great to some, but not many. For now, I'm happy to know that my stories are considered art by a handful of people. That they've touched the heart of a few is such an awesome feeling. What is accepted as truth may change in the future, and then my stories just may be considered great by many. How cool is that?

On Friday, April 29th, the cover for Land of Corn Chips will be revealed. I'll announce the bloggers who have graciously agreed to reveal the cover on Wednesday, April 27th. For now, here's a brief synopsis for Land of Corn Chips:

Eleven-year-old Nate Hansen never believed in dragons before an eccentric man with a purple-feather hat kidnaps him. Spirited to the Land of Corn Chips on the back of a mechanical yellow dragon, Nate must find a way to avoid being ground into compost. His only hope of escape is to earn the friendship of the local wrestling gang and zombie kids, and to believe in a parent he no longer trusts.

Peace out for now. 


  1. Did you see Black Swan? That was another movie where people either loved or hated the main protagonist (not her acting, which was phenomenal, but her actual character). I didn't care for the movie, but I definitely felt for her character.

  2. coincidentally, I just finished reading Water for Elephants on Saturday. I had it on my TBR list for ever and then my friend had it and let me borrow it so that was easier than having to go get it, so I read it. (lazy much? haha) anyway it was awesomesauce and yeah, you want to punch the 'bad guy' the entire time and now I want to see the movie even more. =) Great (emotional) story. P.S. Can't wait to see the cover!!

  3. @Scott -- Yes, great movie. It gave so much to ponder. I'm not sure why anyone would hate the main character, though. The only harm she inflicted was on herself. It's the characters who cause others pain that turn my frowny face on. Thanks for commenting. :)

    @Heather -- Yeah, I wanted to punch him in the face, too. lol