I love this comic about creativity.
Archive for the ‘storytelling’ Category
Another idea I got from the excellent Jason Geary.
Apologies if I’ve got this one wrong.
The Story Genie
Ever seen a couple get together at the end of a story and thought ‘they shouldn’t have got back together, it doesn’t really make sense, it’s just happening because that is what happens at the end of a story’?
You’ve just witnessed the power of the story genie.
The same as when we see a villain defeated, not because the hero has struggled and won, but because the villain always loses in the end.
I love classical story structures. Possibly more than is healthy.
But paying too much attention to the big picture story means we miss the moment to moment opportunities to take the story in a new and unexpected direction.
Just discovered this wonderful comic. Art by Ethan Nicolle (age 29), with story by Malachai Nicolle (age 5).
This is extremely similar to the stories I would write in primary school (actually, it’s quite similar to some of the stories I write now). But what impresses me is the storytelling techniques at work. There’s routine breaking, reincorporation, and internal logic (for example, in the world of axe cop, any time you get someone’s blood on you, you gain their powers).
One of the more unusual jobs I do is working as a ghost walk guide (actually, pretty much every job I do is strange). Essentially, I take people around old buildings and tell them ghost stories.
This has taught me a few things about fear. Particularly the art of getting people scared but not too scared.
Below is my theory on fear mongering. Simply, people like to be scared in a safe environment (hence Scary movies and rollercoasters). So, my strategy is to keep pushing people until they get to the sweet spot (it’s hard to check for goose bumps so I tend to judge it on how much laughter my lame jokes get: more laughter=more tension). However on some nights I seem to spend my time just saying calm, soothing things, they’ve already got themselves worked into such a state that my only job is to try and stop them going over the edge. That is to say, I try not to make anybody cry.
A couple of other notes
-People scare easier in hot weather. My theory, a hot humid night makes people sweat a little which people interpret as fear, thus feeding the cycle. Cold weather makes people shiver, which they interpret as being cold, thus making them miserable.
-Most of the work gets done before and after the show. Anticipation is key. The best audience has been thinking about it all day, wondering what will happen. The few groups who have come along as part of some surprise event have not enjoyed it, partly due to the lack of anticipation.
After the show people’s memories build things up to be more impressive than they really were. I remember a boy who had been on the tour describing how a dead body had fallen from the ceiling and landed on someone (if this really happened, I probably would have heard about it).
I was introduced to this game many years ago, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that I managed to get my hands on a copy of my own.
To describe it as simply as possible. Each player is dealt a hand of cards. Each card has a different fairy tale story element on it (A Prince, a castle, long journey, a talking animal). The active player tells a story, playing the cards as they are incorporated into the story. Other players can take over the story if the storyteller mentions something they have a card for. Each player is trying to conclude the story in a way that matches the specific ending they have secretly been given.
It’s tremendous good fun, and it’s a great way to get non-improvisers telling stories, as well as good storytelling practice for improvisers.
Game designer James Wallis has another game which sounds even better; The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen.