Lesson from a Lecture

My Twentieth Century Evening
and Other Small Breakthroughs
Kazuo Ishiguro

I was reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s Nobel Lecture delivered in Stockholm on 7th December 2017.

And I came across this following passage which caught my attention…

“The reason why so many vivid, undeniably convincing characters in novels, films and plays so often failed to touch me was because these characters didn’t connect to any of the other characters in an interesting human relationship. And immediately, this next thought came regarding my own work: What if I stopped worrying about my characters and worried instead about my relationship?”

There’s a great observation and lesson for all of us writers, filmmakers, storytellers…
As I write my script, I often think about in terms of character biography or character development. But I never thought in terms of character relationship…

As Ishiguro explains…
“… I could look at, say, this mentor-pupil relationship. Does it say something insightful and fresh? Or now that I was staring at it, does it become obvious it’s a tired stereotype, identical to those found in hundreds of mediocre stories? Or this relationships between two competitive friends: Is it dynamic? Does it have emotional resonance? Does it evolve? Does it surprise convincingly? Is it three-dimensional?…
… The thought came to me… that all good stories, never mind how radical or traditional their mode of telling, had to contain relationships that are important to us; that move us, amuse us, surprise us…”

How true and profound!

This 36 pages nobel lecture/book is a gem. He talks about how these seemingly small but powerful insights and breakthroughs emerges and we get a glimpse of his brilliant mind.
From now on I’ll try to apply these lessons in my work.
Thank you, Kazuo Ishiguro.

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