03 November 2013

A little over a month ago, after gushing over how beautiful the song The Gambler by fun. is (seriously, listen to it and gush with me ♥), Alvin remarked about how I must love romantic endings, and I said I'm okay with sad endings so long as they are well-written.

Ladies and gents, liking that song opened a can of worms as before I knew it, I was agreeing to this assignment.

Alvin: Here's a series of (tough) questions: What qualifies a story as "well-written"? Can you cite three examples of well-written stories and why you consider them such?
Me: That's tough, but CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

I do not claim to be an infallible writer who has the right to judge whether a piece of written work is great or not; this is just an attempt to accomplish this assignment {as a segue to another project we're working on} using the personal measures I have devised in the years I have been reading books/ watching movies/ listening to songs and writing about them.

For me, any story transmitted through any medium (literature, film, song, photograph, etc.) can be considered well-written depending on its:
  • Content. Does it offer something new, or does it sound like a rip-off of something that has already been done a thousand times before? 
  • Cohesiveness. How do the elements strewn in tie together? If foreshadowing is used, is it employed effectively? Is the ending feasible or did it come out of nowhere? I recognize that suspension of disbelief is needed once in a while, but I don't like it when stories jump the shark.
  • Development. Do the characters change as the story progresses or do they remain soulless cardboard caricatures? Does the story rise and fall or does it feel too long and dragging?
  • Form. Does the viewer or reader relate to it or does it alienate others? However brilliant your message is, if it gets lost in translation, then your work did not serve its purpose.
  • Appeal to human emotions. My emotions in particular. Almost all stories that made me feel feels, I've considered well-written. Huh. I may not be as good at this as I thought because I am a big sap made of cheese and mush, but there you go. Is it something that, even after a considerable time has passed, the reader or viewer has fond memories of reading or watching?
    In movies as in books, I've always been partial to those with good dialogue. Show me something with lines that have been rehashed 'til kingdom come and I will show you my rolling eyes, but show me characters who speak like real people in real life and I will definitely take notice. Except for the third movie in this next list, here are some I've already written a LOT of times about (I love the movies so much I even bought the book versions of their respective screenplays). I wanted to use them as examples because aside from being one-of-a-kind and passing the criteria I posted above, these are written works I wish I wrote myself.
    • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. My all-time favorite movie. I wrote about this here and several many posts after, but that is the most significant.
    • Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight. I considered these as one since they belong in a trilogy. I wrote about them here, here, and here. I reiterate, the lines here are so beautiful it hurts.
    • Amélie. This is so embarrassing, but it was my first time to see this movie today. I included it here because I identified with Amélie's character so much. Watching it was like a breath of fresh air on a hot and humid summer day. Oh, what joy.
    Someday, I am going to write something as great and unforgettable and as well-written as these.


    1. I'd say this is a well-written blog post! :)

    2. Agreed on the movies. You should listen to this, too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPD-a1FjUtU And watch "Stuck in Love". I promise you won't regret it.

    3. Haha, so what's my grade? :D Thanks!

    4. Great song, thank you! And oooh, I've had Stuck in Love in my hard drive for a month now but I've never found the time to watch it. My officemate recommended it to me last week as well as she thinks I'll like it :) I should find the time to see it today! Thanks! :D


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