Stories are Grey: Why Ethics Pull The Audience Into the Story
The story of being human is about getting along with other people. Some of us struggle to be the person our family wants us to be. We struggle to balance love and work. We struggle to sell ourselves. We struggle to care for our loved ones. Really, our entire lives are made up of interactions with other people.
Ethics is about right and wrong. Which means it’s about choice. And choosing how to get along with other people is a grey area, because there are no easy answers in life.
If the story is black and white — if it’s pretty obvious how everyone can figure out the problem of the story — then it’s all mechanics. But when everyone has a choice to make, and there are no easy answers, something called life happens.
Grey areas are spaces for the audience to put themselves in the story. Black and white leaves no room for the audience.
It’s the writer’s job to ask questions, not to give us the answers.