We all like to think that we can tell a dramatic story.
But a new study has shown that we may be missing out on important elements that make it a truly dramatic interpretation.
“There are a number of things that we know that are really important in a dramatic scene,” says lead researcher David Z. Reiner, a professor of communication and psychology at the University of New Hampshire.
“For example, when we are looking at a dramatic sequence, we can be interested in the emotional response of the characters, but we can also be interested, in part, in the relationship between them.
We may want to see how the characters develop in a situation.”
But it’s not all drama and suspense.
There are subtle, subtle elements that add to the drama.
For example, if you’ve ever watched the dramatic version of a story, you’ve seen it play out before.
But in the study, the researchers had to take a closer look at a novel.
The results are fascinating, says Reiner.
“One of the things that’s really exciting is that we see how a novel can be interpreted from a different perspective.”
The researchers also found that the more we like the dramatic interpretation of a text, the more likely we are to be influenced by it.
Reiter says that it’s a bit like playing a musical instrument.
“If you like the sound, it’s going to be easier for you to interpret a story from a musical perspective,” he says.
“And the more you are influenced by that, the less likely you are to want to abandon your original interpretation.”
In other words, if your music tastes good, but your story’s story doesn’t work for you, maybe the most dramatic interpretation could be the one that works for you.
The authors say that while they are not calling for all dramatic interpretations to be abandoned, they are suggesting that it might be wise to be aware of how you interpret a work of art.
“We know that people can tell whether a story is telling a true story or a false story,” says Reiter.
“It’s a really good idea to have an awareness of whether you’re interpreting from a true or a fake story.”
In fact, the study shows that it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of an interpretation, which is why the authors suggest that you keep your expectations in check.
The researchers found that if you were influenced by the narrative and it seemed that the story was telling a story that wasn’t true, then it was more likely that you were interpreting from an authentic source.
But if you saw a dramatic interpretation and it didn’t match up with your preconceptions, it was less likely that it was authentic.
This was true for both the novel and the television series.
In the novel, the authors found that when people were influenced in this way, they were more likely to take their time to consider whether or not the interpretation was authentic, and to consider the role of language in the story.
For the television version of the same story, they found that people were more influenced by what they thought was authentic and when they were not.
“When we look at things from an authenticity perspective, we don’t have to worry that we’re going to go off the rails and get really dramatic and we’re not going to come out on top,” says Z. “Instead, it will be a little bit more about looking at the story and thinking about what kind of story we are telling, what kinds of characters we are writing, and what kind or degree of language does this story use.
That’s how we are going to make our decisions, and that’s how our audience is going to decide whether we’re doing a good story.”
And that’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to listen carefully when you’re trying to interpret.
“The question is: Is it a good piece of storytelling?
Does it capture a certain emotion or a certain mood?
And if it’s true, it doesn’t matter if it comes across as overblown or not,” says Paul C. Schoenfeld, the author of The Art of Narrative, who has also done extensive research on the emotional state of a work and the emotional experience of reading a work.
“You don’t need to be a professional dramaturg to understand that what you’re seeing is a story.
And that it needs to be true to what it’s telling, and how it’s doing it.”
This article was originally published on The Conversation.