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Maggie Tiojakin’s Lecture on Finding Story

Last updated:2017-04-19

On April 11, 2017, the 22nd book club event of the Sun Yat-sen University Center for English-language Creative Writing took place in the School of Foreign Languages. The Indonesian writer, translator and editor Maggie Tiojakin, gave a lecture “On Finding Story: plot, dialog, character and details”.

Maggie started by asking several questions: “How to find story?”, “ What is the use of the story?”, “Why do we tell story?”, “What makes a good story?” and “ Who can tell the stories?”, inviting the audience to share their thoughts with each other. Maggie held that telling stories is a good way to understand life, to communicate and to find a common ground. A good story should have universal value, should be cross-cultural, cross-generation and with timeless quality etc. She stressed that everyone could tell stories, because in story-telling, talents accounts for merely 1% while the rest depends on crafting and hard work. Maggie elaborated on plot and dialogue. In terms of plot, she specified the characteristics of plot, mini-plot and anti-plot. For dialogues, she provided two examples to show that dialogues provide information and move the plot.
At the end of the lecture, Maggie invited the audience to do a group exercise, and performance by imagining what they would do if they were stuck in an elevator, so that the audience could experience how the plot moves forward through dialogues.

Maggie remarked at the end of the lecture that to be a good writer also requires one to be a good reader.

Professor DAI Fan concluded the event by thanking Maggie and relating her lecture to issues of creative writing that students at Sun Yat-sen University have had experiences with. She also invited the audience to attend book club events with two Australian writers in May.

Written by: Zheng Wei
Proofread by: Liang Jianxin