Grand Story + Story + Facts = Meaning (Advanced Writing Course Materials)

in Writing & Reviews5 months ago (edited)
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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Credit: Thom Milkovic

Grand Story Gives Meaning To Story And Story To Facts

Grand Story can be understood as the culture's creation story. Examples are 1) Marxism, which posits a class struggle between the bourgeoisie (capitalists) and the proletariat (workers), and 2) religious narratives, such as Christian creation story, which give purpose and morality to existence. Grand Story gives meaning to Story and Story to facts.


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Credit: Wilhelm Gunkel

Think of Grand Story as the outer-most onion layer and Story as the other interior layers: data, statistics, facts, and bits of any information themselves are being made sense of when nested inside story, which again is further nested inside Grand Story.


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Credit: Mike Tinnion

Story Gives Meaning To Facts

Journalists, for example, will not simply report the facts. They'd package the facts in a story, for there's no other way other than that in order to make sense of the facts. The facts need to be understood in the context of the story. And the meanings of the facts themselves will change in the event of a change in the story. The story written by the journalists can be, and will be, nested inside one Grand Story or the other (implicitly or explicitly; there's no escaping from that).

The formula applies when we read a text (always; whether we know it or not). A word in the sentence has to be interpreted within the context of the sentence, the sentence within the paragraph, the paragraph within the chapter, the chapter within the book, and finally the book within the culture it is written.


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Credit: Valentin Salja

Recall The 'Onion Layers' To Memory While...

You're walking into a rural landscape, walking on a footpath, let's say. The road is dirty; and then located somewhere in the middle of the road is a particular stone which is found garlanded by a heap of cow dung; so, you and others stepped on the stone and then walked away, ahead, on the road. On the next day, however, when you came back to the same spot, you found that the stone is now surrounded by some candle-sticks and bananas. It's still the same stone; it's still in the exact same location, but you can't set your foot on it anymore without receiving a tight slap from somebody.


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Credit: Photoholgic

The same stone in the same location... you can, on day one, step on it. However, you can't step on it, on day two, solely because of the change in the surrounding materials around the stone. This is akin to editing a text and altering its meaning.

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As someone who is interested in writing and who wishes to hone my writing skills, I find that your tips are very useful. Thank you for sharing.

You're welcome. Glad that you found it useful, my friend.

Here's a related discussion (audio) presented by Timothy Keller: Bethinking.org/ Writing from a Christian worldview I'd still listen to it from time to time. Very informative.

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