Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Saturday, 14 December 2002

Some writing today. I actually had two new story ideas and wrote tiny bits of each.

I've been thinking about Christmas stories.

As best I can tell (and I'd be very interested if someone can see the matter more clearly than me and can fill me in), there's no particular structure for a Christmas story. The core of a Christmas story is that the action demonstrates the redemptive power of the season. The story problem can be just about anything and the resolution can come from just about any source--as long as that source is somehow aided by the nature of the Christmas season.

If you don't have that then it's not a Christmas story, even if it takes place at Christmas time. (The movie "Lethal Weapon," for example, isn't a Christmas story--even though it takes place at Christmas and it's a story of redemption. In "Lethal Weapon" the redemption comes from the friendship between the partners and from within the hero, who finally accepts that he can go on with his life, despite the loss of his wife. Since it doesn't rely on the redemptive power of the season, it's not a Christmas story.)

Christmas trappings aren't really important. At least, I can imagine a Christmas story about someone in the tropics with no access to Christmas decorations or anything, drawing something important from the power of the season, and having it work as a Christmas story.

As I say, I'd be very interested if anyone has a different take on the nature of a Christmas story.


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