Jasmine's pond of dreams

Jasmine's pond of dreams

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The 1 most important storytelling question, Storyteller's log 1-4-2013

I seem to ask a lot of questions. But isn't that what storytellers do?

Will Luke destroy the death star?

Will Dorothy make it home?

Will the Sultan kill Scheherazde?

Will Pooh find hunny?

Will Phil wake up on Feb. 3?

Can Frollo let go of the ring?

Will Bella get her bite?

Storytellers are asking questions though out their whole story. But good storytellers will add something extra. They'll add the element of time. Not just any kind of time, but time running out. So will Luke destroy the death star before it starts destroying planets? This urgency adds excitement to the story.

Let's get back to the previous blog's question- What should a good story theory map?

We now have our X axis defined. It's time. This is also how Aristotle mapped it in his work on drama. It's call the Poetics. His book has wonderful information, but the language of his time makes it a dry, slow read. (Personal opinion)

Aristotle's Poetics

But what do we map on the Y axis? Nancy Duarte's Sparklines gave me a hint. She maps the "what is" and "what could be" along the y axis of her presentations separated by a gap.

I'm going to add a negative dimension to the map and now we'll have our two axes in positive and negative dimensions. But what does the Y axis actually plot?

Our baseline starts with "with is."  But "what could be"goes in a positive and negative direction. "What could be, "could be great. But, "what could be", could also be horrible. So the Y axis could represent a scale of + good through - bad.

What's interesting here is that it visually can show our structure of what's at stake. It shows where the character starts from what can happen if they succeed AND what can happen if they fail. 

We've now left Aristotle behind. But later, he will still have his usefulness when we add extra dimensions to our mapping.

Why would we add a negative dimension to the time axis? To point to an answer, I'll quote a movie. "Everything is illuminated in the light of the past." (Storytelling structure- Adding narrative questions along the way. I'm setting up something that will be answered later.) 

This blog started with questions. And now I'd like to return to where we started, but not where we were. (Storytelling structure- Return to where you start from but not where you were. It's now a new world.)

So I'll end today's blog with a question. What if? (Another narrative question)

What if we map the ups and downs of the characters along the Y axis as they change over X axis time?

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