There Are No Bad Ideas: Ideation for Storytellers

“There is no such thing as a bad idea.”

I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before—you might have even seen it on another creative advice website. It’s the sort of entry level advice that is both incredibly valuable and infuriatingly reductive. The truth is a bit more complex. There are bad ideas, but that does not mean that they are without merit or value.

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Getting Started – James: 3 Variations on a Theme

The first step on the road to Charlotte’s Journey was figuring out exactly what sort of story we wanted to tell. Three conditions were at the heart of it all: we would explicitly use the trajectory of Joseph Conrad’s monomyth from The Hero With a Thousand Faces, the protagonist should be female, and she should be saddled with a sword that she is unable to wield.

Below are the first three story treatments James wrote during the process of ideating Charlotte’s Journey.

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Character Sketch: Raul de Madera

The character sketches were a collaborative effort; a rough road map to understanding our characters. As we continued to co-write Charlotte’s Journey, this was a way to keep the “shape”, or a baseline, of a character in mind; so we didn’t create two competing arcs as we wrote first drafts.

After coming up with the appropriate characters required for our story, we spent some time hashing out important details together before each going off to capture our thoughts alone. The next week we shared what we came up with; for the most part, we agreed on broad strokes, and allowed the differing minutia to sway the sketches to their betterment. There were only a couple points where we had different, competing ideas in mind, and we were forced to debate until compromise was reached; always for the good of the story. (For the record—Raul was not one of those debates.) Continue reading “Character Sketch: Raul de Madera”

Reclaiming the Title of Storyteller

Adventures in Storytelling is an ambitious project. In between multiple jobs and mortgages and marriages and home renovations and all manner of adult responsibilities, about a year ago, Luke and I made a big decision. We decided we would go ahead with this project, even if we didn’t really know at the time what the project was, exactly. Now that we’ve had some time to think about what we’re doing, we’ve realised that in some ways we’re doing what has been done many times before: we’re building an online writer’s advice website. Our novel trick, our niche, is that we’re trying to prove that the advice we have isn’t just for writers. It is for any creator, storytellers of every make, shape, and size. Nevertheless, we are very well aware of the fact that we’re moving over well-trodden ground. So why the continued commitment? Why are we passionate about Adventures in Storytelling?

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