How do you introduce several metanarratives into a story, especially conflicting ones?


I watched this video and then I was wondering how to add the two contrasting metanarratives. "The wealthy buy politicians through campaign donations, that's why it happened" "The workers didn't overthrow the bourgeoisie, that's why it happened". In my understanding, you can only allude to them as a writer when writing a story, but is it possible to "allude to" two conflicting metanarratives at the same time?

1 Answer 1


Your "metanarratives" look to me like nothing more than the typical views and opinions that people hold. Society is full of people who hold conflicting views and opinions - heck, most individual people hold conflicting views and opinions.

There's no problem if two groups in your story hold opposing views - that's kind of the source of conflict that gives tension and interest to a story.

The "groups" don't even have to be that large - it may be nothing more than two characters arguing about why some event happened. The "groups" could be as small as one person trying to reconcile his own beliefs with the consequences of holding them.

The reality is that many views and beliefs conflict and overlap - they are opinions based on incomplete observations that don't (and often can't) take into account all points of reality. An individual can't see all of the background of all events and can only form opinions based on personal observation and whatever information other people present.

Your example presents two views as though they were in conflict:

  • The wealthy buy politicians through campaign donations, that's why it happened.
  • The workers didn't overthrow the bourgeoisie, that's why it happened.

More likely, both interpretations are true to some extent and false to some extent. Some politicians are corrupt and take bribes and some workers don't care enough to force changes.

Your story doesn't have to resolve the conflict or prove one view superior to the other. It will, however, generally use such conflicting setups to drive the action.

Maybe your story is about characters with opposing views discovering that they are more alike and less in conflict than they thought.

Maybe your story is about how society moves in a sort of average direction determined by the prevalence of differing beliefs and how some balance maintains a prosperous society and some imbalance threatens to cause a disaster.

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