The Future of Storytelling MOOC

I am doing this fantastic course… FREE! And online. Its here, and just started, so anyone interested, get to it!

Here is my first coursework task:



As you, our students, come from many different countries and cultures, but are still united in your passion for storytelling, your Creative Task for week 1 is:

Please think about which story you have read, seen, listened to, played or experienced has impressed you most in your life. … Which story can you still very well remember? Write down both, the summary of this story (what you remember of the story, not what Wikipedia says.. 🙂 and – on the other hand: – what made it so special to you that you can still remember it.


  1. Retell this story by giving a short summary of what you can remember of it. (in less than 400 words)
  2. Think about (try to remember) and write down what fascinated you most about this story. What can you remember best? What impressed you most? … Its characters? The locations? The plot? The style and voice of the story? Or maybe even the surroundings of how this story was told, maybe by your parents, grandparents, or maybe in your first self-read book? Tell us the story OF the story so-to-speak. (less than 500 words)

Your answer could be a simple text/essay … or maybe you prefer creating a story in itself, a poem, an info graphic,… about it. — Whatever suits you best!

And here is my answer:

White Palace, starring Susan Sarandon and James Spader


A rich young man is struggling to get over the death of his wife two years ago. By chance he meets an older woman, a divorced, outspoken waitress who lives on the wrong side of town: his complete antithesis. After one drunken night together, they start an affair which quickly becomes more serious. But his family and friends are shocked by her and bully him into ending the relationship, hurting both of them. She leaves town; will he follow his heart and follow her, or let her go and return to his ‘normal’ life?  dun dun DUN!

Why this was special to me

My favourite subject is Forbidden Love, and this film sums up every aspect of that. The main character, Max, is in his late twenties, rich, Jewish, conventional whereas Nora, the waitress, is mid forties, poor, Catholic, liberal. They cross every boundary possible- age, income, religion, attitude- how could these two ever forge a lasting relationship? However, due to the excellent acting of Spader and Sarandon, the story is perfectly believable.

This film was based on a book by Glenn Savan, but the story in the book is not quite right- not so gripping somehow. The film version is different- the writer rearranged the plot to make it more compact and less rambling, the love story more believable because the characters are more attractive, cut out some pointless characters, subplots and scenes. I think the book and the film together make a good example of how to tell a story and how not to.

But White Palaces is my favourite story, I first watched it one Christmas Eve with my then boyfriend and hunted high and low for the video afterwards. Now it is 20 years later, my boyfriend has been my husband for all that time and I have White Palace on DVD.


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