As a writer, I know that there’s a point in the writing when the engine of the story really seems to roar to life, and at that moment, the characters start feeling like real people.
When you start working on a story, the characters are like finger-puppets, and putting words into their mouths is a bit embarrassing, like you’re sitting at your desk waggling your hands at one another and making them speak in funny, squeaky voices. But once those characters ‘‘catch,’’ they become people, and writing them feels more like you’re recounting something that happened than something you’re making up.
This reality also extends to your autonomic nervous system, which will set your heart racing when your characters face danger, make you weepy at their tragedies, have you grinning foolishly at their victories.
In his keynote speech at DIY Days in New York earlier this month, self-proclaimed "story architect" Lance Weiler trumpeted transmedia storytelling as an "opportunity to lay story across the real world in a way that's never been possible."
On purely technical terms, he's right: A single story can be told around the world instantaneously in various media. Examples abound: Wieden & Kennedy's Old Spice campaign with its use of online video, TV spots, and social media; the use of games and live events for The Dark Knight; and the sprawling epic that was BMW's The Hire. Weiler himself identified other tools in the transmedia arsenal: geolocation and the improving technology of near field communications.
Former Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats originally tweeted these rules: a mix of things she learned from directors and coworkers at Pixar, when listening to writers and directors talk about their craft, and via trial and error in the making of her own films.
In business, storytelling is all the rage. Without a compelling story, we are told, our product, idea or personal brand is dead on arrival. Jonathan Gottschall, author of The Storytelling Animal, says science backs up the long-held belief that story is the most powerful means of communicating a message.
There's a lot of talk about storytelling going around these days. Over the past several years, this timeless and infinitely familiar craft has become somewhat of a darling in the corporate world, with more and more companies looking to use storytelling in their communications and branding efforts.
Scott Thill: '“Anyone who loves comics and sees them as a vital art form capable of telling unique and challenging stories must recognize that [the industry's] business corpse has to be put out of its misery so a new one can be built,” said Pizzolo, a publisher and filmmaker who has been busy engineering the transmedia spine that will take comics into the future' ...
I came away from this article thinking that a fundamental key to successfully implementing narrative forms would be: keep the surrounding narrative brief and ruthlessly devoid of fluff.
The balance between making something more fun and keeping it useful can be a delicate one. Making the user wade through what the author considers entertaining in order to perform a multi-step mandatory task could really kill the experience.
Who says a conference, like a university course, can't be flipped? At the Future of StoryTelling event last month in New York, delegates were given homework to complete before they had even arrived at the venue -- and instead of standard keynotes or panels, they sat in groups to discuss their studies.