Tuesday, August 24, 2010


A single story can be hopeful or not-so-hopeful. It all depends on where you put the emphasis.

Part 1
Create hope in a story you tell by making sure you know in your heart where the hope is. Feel it first.

Part 2
Create hope by playing with time. Make the time span as long as it needs to be.

Part 3
Create hope in one context by telling a hopeful story about another.

4) Create hope in stories by talking about hope.

Jaklin Eliott and Ian Olver: The multiple employment of hope suggests that the term cannot be defined simply as an entity to be operationalized and measured but can accommodate a plethora of meanings.

It may seem incredibly, ridiculously simple, but one of the easiest ways to give emphasis to hope in any story is to mention hope directly. Fortunately for us, hope gives us words in abundance. It is both a noun and a verb. We have hope, we hope for things. It is also a word with a number of derivatives—hoped, hoping, hopeless, hopeful, etc. C.R. Snyder, a prominent hope specialist in the world of academic hope studies, writes about high hopers and low hopers. Here in Edmonton at the Hope Foundation of Alberta, a centre for hope studies, I tend to speak of our circle of interested researchers as old hopeys.
Each of hope’s derivatives is just as helpful in the task of emphasis-giving as the root word itself. We can talk about hope in terms of quantity, no hope, lots of hope. We can mention hope in conjunction with acts, with events, with symbols--the thing that gave us hope.
Here in our counselling program, I have found that you can get anybody to talk to you about hope when you ask a question that mentions it. When I ask people to tell me their hopes, they willingly give answers that begin with I hope. When I ask them to tell me about a person who gives them hope, they tell me about a person who gives them hope and they describe that person in relation to hope. This practice also serves me well in the creation of stories.
It is not difficult to give emphasis to hope in a story if you ask yourself hope-related questions about the characters and then take the time to answer them. Let us think of a few familiar fairy tales. What was Jack hoping for when he planted the beans that grew into a beanstock? What were the three pigs hoping for when they built their houses? When did Hansel and Gretel feel the ultimate hopelessness? At what points did they hope for things? When youname hope’s role in a story, when you mention it in any form, talk about it, play with it, it will help you adjust the emphasis.

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