Jasmine's pond of dreams

Jasmine's pond of dreams

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A look back at story structure and a step into the new year, Storyteller's log 1-1-2013

Let's look at where we've been with the help of Scared Bunny's look back mirror.

Our story thus far, I promised to share the development of my new story theory as I write it into a complete new text. I self published my first book as an introductory book- Iggy's Incredibly Easy Way to Write a Story. Which is my primer on the subject.

Speaking of suspense, so far I've been telling you what limitations I personally find with most story theories. Let's look at the structure of what I've done so far. To do this I'd like to introduce you to another approach offered by Nancy Duarte from her book, Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences.

Resonate on Amazon

Nancy deals mainly with presentations and has taken things from storytelling such as archetypes and the hero's journey to develop her own version of mapping presentations. I'm now going to take what she evolved for presentations back to storytelling for narratives. This is exactly why it is so important not to just read what everybody else is reading on your subject but outside the subject. It get's you out of a rut.

Nancy introduces her mapping tool she calls the Sparkline of a presentation. In her book she analyzes a number of presentations using this tool.


I think this is a brilliant, particularly in the way in the way she shows what's at stake during the story or presentation. She compares the bottom line of "what is" and then contrasts that with "what could be". Very clear and elegant.

Let's look at a Sparkline of what I've presented so far on the storyteller's log 11-26-2012. First, I talked about the two senses of being lost in the story. The first sense was good, that you want your audience lost in your story so the world fades away and they live the dream. The second sense was that in trying to create a story often writers get lost not knowing what to do or where to go next, I know this happens to me. Then I told you what will come- a new way for you not to get lost. Only I didn't say when. 

Already we have the beginnings of a story. A problem is presented. A solution is promised. I announced my intention to show you a better way to create stories. Then there were obstacles. I showed attempts at solutions and why they don't work for me. First with Aristotle, then Plot Points, the Hero's Journey, and the structuralists- Propp and Eco.

Here's what we get using the various mappings.

Here's Aristotle's mapping of the problem, promise and possible solutions and their limitations. This really doesn't really show us much does it?

Here's the Plot point mapping of the same data. This shows even less information. 

Here's the Hero's journey mapping. I'm starting to get lost again.
Here's Propp's functions. But it doesn't fit into his functions. I'm definitely lost again. Maybe I should have bought a GPS.

Now here's Duarte's Sparkline mapping. This gives us some useful information. It shows how I offered solutions that I've learned about but ultimately found limiting.

But look closely, we're interested in story structure. I've basically repeated myself four times. This makes it repetitive, potentially boring and probably frustrating. If you've come back to this blog wanting to learn about a new story structure you've been let down. So far.

This was done for a point. I could have continued with several other approaches that I find helpful but limiting but that would have strained credibility. I wanted to introduce you to a useful structure and see how it could be applied to analyze a story structure.

Remember this when you're structuring your movie. You need to walk a fine line with suspense. The right amount will keep the audience on the edge of their seat. If you repeat too much, you'll lose the suspense.

But too much suspense will put them to sleep. Storytelling is story delaying, but just the right amount.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you exactly what I'm looking for in a story structure theory. Till then...

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