The spectrum

​In The Art of Dramatic Writing Lajos Egri makes a revelatory point, and like most revelations, its power comes from its seeming obviousness:

“The drama is not the image of life, but the essence. We must condense. In life, people quarrel year in, year out, without once deciding to remove the factor which causes the trouble. In drama, this must be condensed to the essentials, giving the illusion of years of bickering without the superfluous dialogue.”

Egri’s point concerns concentration. Drama, or any story really, should be like absinthe, as opposed to beer. Everything is stronger. The dark is darker. The light is lighter. Contrast is increased and conflict is accelerated, instead of dumbed down. Consider the spectrum below:
​Real life and the real world occupies the middle of that spectrum. Everything and everyone is a shade of grey. Nothing and no one is black and white. Not so in a narrative. A story is about the conflict between black and white, it’s about opposites and what happens when they collide