Here I am, late again, with the smallest and shortest nugget of wisdom I’ve come across in this whole project: the first draft is for finding the story.
Here at Adventures in Storytelling, we live by a simple idea: how a story is told can be as interesting as the story itself. In more concrete terms, meta commentary on storytelling is itself a space for some really interesting revelation. If it wasn’t, I’m fairly certain the central pillar would collapse.
I do think there is a good reason why most works of literature don’t have a DVD extras-sytle commentary or an author’s website pulling apart the entire outline of a plot, though. Stories should be able to stand for themselves, and as I’ve said before, what an audience brings to a work is just as important as what the authors pour in. The space where author and audience meet is where meaning is generated. The existence of Adventures in Storytelling notwithstanding, giving the audience too much meta commentary can undercut that spontaneous generation of meaning. Our project is looking at the process of creation for other creators, and the dilution of emergent meaning is accepted in order to show how the work itself is created. Continue reading “The Joy of a Tale is in the Telling Part I: Meta Commentary and Shared Story Space”
“I had wanted to play with Taako’s sexuality … not in a way that was like, particularly prominent in the story, but, in my mind, when I was doing the character and had Taako’s story in my head, Taako was a gay guy. And I don’t know why, that’s just how it always seemed to me.”
—Justin McElroy, The The Adventure Zone Zone 2016
On The Adventure Zone—a Dungeons & Dragons podcast created by the McElroy brothers of My Brother My Brother and Me podcast fame—Justin McElroy plays as the fan favourite Taako, an elf wizard/chef of immense power that’s, “good out here.”
In canon, Taako is gay. IRL, Justin identifies as straight. This is a fundamental lived experience that Justin the person does not share with Justin the character (“Taako”).* Continue reading “Someone You Are Not: Developing Diverse Characters”
I’m going to be honest with you. It’s a bit rich of me to be spewing wisdom like “‘show don’t tell’ is reductive and potentially crappy advice” and “ideation is a key to success” because I have absolutely no formal training in writing whatsoever. Everything I know about stories comes from the other side. I have a lot of training in critical thought, and I’d like to think I’m at least adequate at it.
As a result, I’ve made some assumptions about writing in the past. When I make those assumptions, Luke (who does have formal training as a professional writer) usually manages to say something that surprises me. Often it’s insightful wisdom or highly organized, process-based logic, but he did throw me for a loop once. When I went off on a tangent about whether a character would be able to see mountains from where they were standing in a comment on a section of Charlotte’s Journey, I learned that Luke was largely unfamiliar with verisimilitude. Certainly not the concept itself, but the word. I always sorta figured it was writing 101 stuff, but there you have it. Continue reading “Adventures in Terminology: Verisimilitude”
Hey wow look, I posted the first section of my go at a pulp story! Just 3 months after I initially planned to! On a cosmic scale that’s basically no time at all, right?
So what happened? The title here says it all: writing serially is hard. 1 I wrote the first section (and it was way too long and not very good, but that’s the project, right?). I went to post it. Then I convinced myself to write the second section before I posted the first, just in case. In case of what? I couldn’t tell you, really, I just could not bring myself to even save the draft. Continue reading “Writing Serially is Hard, or What is Wrong?”
I have no idea how Luke and James are doing it.↩
To begin talking about writing strategies, we’re going to talk about pottery. Specifically, the kind of pottery created by a bunch of Psychology students who do not, normally, create pottery. The students themselves were given an assignment where they were split into two groups, each with their own similar yet different goals. Members in group A were asked to make as many pots as physically possible for the span of a month; the higher the number of pots, the higher the possible grade. Members of group B were instead asked to submit a single pot, whose quality would determine their individual grade.
I’m going to try a little experiment here—just a small one, because I’m not sure how it’ll turn out (poor scientific method again already!) but that’s kind of the point. But I’ll get to that in a bit. Just know that this article isn’t going to be exactly like my previous ones. It’s going to be a bit rougher, for The Reasons, but if you’re keeping up with all of Adventures In Storytelling it’s not the first time you’ll have read something of mine that’s “rough”. For example, CC.004-5.L.2 – The Charismatic Augusto—Love Him Before He’s Gone! Any of them, really. See, the experiment I’m attempting on this article shall be aptly named (read: stolen): A Shitty First Draft. Continue reading “Freedom To Be Wrong”
Last month saw the great time of NaNoWrimo, a time that most writers either ignore for it’s impossibility or dive into with the enthusiasm of New Year’s resolutions. I like goals and setting challenges. I like them so much that getting excited and assigning myself something unrealistic has become a step in the achievement process. Which then leads to that sought after end goal being unfortunately missed.
This is my reflection to our most recent experiment, PLAY 002 | NaNoWriMo and Other Challenges, in which I learn a lot about some of my previous outlining ideas. You can find an intro to our reflections over here, along with links to others’ experiences during November 2016.