Matriarchal Storytelling
February 8, 2016 7:16 AM   Subscribe

Matriarchal Storytelling
These are my findings and observations stemming from my experimental writing in fiction. This is an ongoing series of nonfiction essays about writing fiction in a modern era. I am an author who noticed the stranglehold the Patriarchal style of storytelling had on fiction: a single point of view with a hero who has an evil antagonist and a supporting characters who are less interesting and capable than the protagonist. It limits what a storyteller can do, and as an author, I decided to challenge it by exploring and testing it.

In an awakening world where diversity is so important to progress, the way we tell stories is very monolithic. It is us versus them with no room to consider a world of us with them. Why does it always have to be about competitions and contests? Don't others have the right to explore the world in their own way? Aren't other people's life requirements no better or no worse than ours?

So why do we insist on narratives that confine us rather than expand our understanding as it weaves different points of views together? I had no clue, but I wanted to find out.

Ergo, I began to actively experiment with Matriarchal Storytelling: how does an author reflect the world in a different way? I played with the epistolary approach in my novel Consumerisms In 12 Easy Steps, but wanted to push those boundaries. The Matriarchal allows for multiple points of view without the requisite pecking order. It thrives with short stories where a character who is a supporting character in one story is the main character in another. Stories can interconnect with one another, and single events can be explored from different perspectives. While you can have a villain, the Matriarchal allows us to have people who may be antagonists, but not bad guys per se.

There are other advantages, I discovered: the order you read stories change the meaning on the text. Tales no longer follow a linear path, meaning spoilers no longer are spoilers because it all depends on the context. What bogged down the Patriarchal storyteller does not apply to the Matriarchal one. An author has the freedom to explore different themes and perspectives, making it ideal for those who wish to have a diverse cast of characters. It also allows for a single story to be read multiple times, with the meanings changing depending on which character or plot you are following. A big boo us for me was developing characters that I would have normally seen as throwaway after the original story was done.

The Matriarchal cultivates beautiful gardens of fables as it nurtures ideas and themes.

As I wrote, I experimented and took notes, and the results I have posted on my web site under the banner Matriarchal Storytelling. It is a work in progress, but as an author who thrives in the scientific, I find this venture to be very exciting, and I am sharing my experiences with others who are also grappling with these same quandaries as storytellers who are frustrated by the status quo.
Role: Author and creator
posted by Alexandra Kitty (1 comment total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

This is a very interesting project and I look forward to reading your books. Creating a new way to frame storytelling (matriarchal vs patriarchal) that opens up a different approach to narrative is intriguing. I've had similar ideas for books but because I didn't make that same leap you did I came up short in realizing the full potential of exploring an entire world and not just a "hero's journey". Very cool.
posted by bfootdav at 1:07 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

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