Thursday, March 21, 2013
Storytelling Mad Libs style
CONGRATS TO THE CONTEST WINNERS! Thank you to all who participated. The signed books are going out this weekend.
It was really great hearing from my readers. One told me he had just graduated and was going through a hard time looking for work. He told me reading my blog kept him excited about his passion for storytelling. This made my day.
I realized that he was in the chaos phase. You go to school, study hard and then you graduate. You're on top of the world. But then the structure, that school provided for your entire life, is gone. No job yet and the goal proves to be empty. I painted houses the year I graduated.
It feels like symbolic death. Remember, this key point, it's a symbolic death. You're not dying and new opportunities will emerge in your life that you could have never dreamed of. But you can't sit around waiting for them. Continue to hone your craft. Continue to look for work and take any work that will help you towards your goal. (Even if it doesn't see related at the time.) In the future, I may post some blogs about the job seeking process.
I'm writing this blog to talk about a number of things, but also to write my book on my Dragon theory of story. I still don't have a great name for it yet. Maybe another contest could be in the works.
So far I've presented the writing theories that don't work for me. I think Aristotle led everyone astray by mapping the audience's involvement during the time of the story. That would be great if he told you how to get them that involved, but unfortunately he did not. However, everyone still follows this old greek pied piper.
After that I wrote and drew my new approach of mapping the ups and downs of the character and the hopes and fears of the audience. This is where I differed from Kurt Vonnegut who also mapped the ups and downs of the character's fortunes. This is an important distinction between the character and the audience, which we'll see when I show structural variations of the dragon. This culminated with the School of Rock example.
I'm now preparing a new thrust for this next chapter where I'll examine more examples so I can start showing structural variations. I have to watch and analyze some films for this.
In the meantime for your reading pleasure...
I thought it would be fun to combine a Mad Lib with the cliches of storytelling to make Mad lib to make a story the dragon way. (Mad Lib structure with no dragon chart.)
In the 1950s, Roger Price and Leonard Stern created the Mad Libs book series which is still going strong today. They're played with two people. Basically, a mad lib is a short story. Words are cut out of the story. One then asks the other to fill in the blank word with a word with the same part of speech as the word in the original story. So if it was a noun, you ask for a noun. An adjective you replace with an adjective. Now the person answering has no idea of what the story it. The fun comes when you read the new story with the random additions. They're lots of fun and I have great memories of using them on long car trips.
It's an example. It was a dark (adjective) and stormy night (noun).
The result might be- It was a green and stormy breakfast.
Story cliches are those expressions you're all familiar with such as, Once upon a time, meanwhile, or little did he know.
Let's mix the two up and see what we get. Try it out with a friend and if you write a blockbuster, let me know. NOTE: Letters and numbers refer to parts that repeat unchanged or modified during the story. For example the goal A1 is replaced later by A2.
The tale of the Dragon in Mad Libs style.
Once upon a time, in _________ (place) there lived ________ ( main character).
One day their world turned upside down when _________( problem X1).
They wanted to fix this and gain ___________(goal A1).
But they didn’t know how to fix it and they were scared, so they tried _________(wrong approach Z).
Along the way they found a message in a bottle which read __________ (Lesson C). But they didn’t bother to read it.
But meanwhile, the evil ___________ (Bad guy K) planned an obstacle course for (main character).
Our character faced terrible ____________(Obstacles) along their journey.
But they persevered and won ____________( part of the goal A 1/2.)
They were on top of the world. But slowly things turned as they realized ________ (Who did they hurt along the way?)
Suddenly, their world started to fall apart because of them doing it the wrong way. They had to face ____________ (Consequence of their own actions Z).
They felt like they died. All was black and ___ _______ (adjective + new problem X2).
But then unbelievably ____________ ( message) the message in the bottle returned.
This time, because they took the journey, the journey had changed them by ________ (change). They were now ready for the lesson ____________ ( Lesson C.)
As if the sun rose filling them with light, this lesson changed everything and they could see _____________( new better goal) with perfect clarity. They now knew what they had to do.
They faced bigger more frightening ____________(More obstacles from K).
Finally they were faced with an impossible choice ___________(Double bind choice)
Sacrificing __________ ( Something about themself ), they chose correctly proving they learned ____________ (The Lesson C.)
There was no stopping them now. They won ___________ ( new goal, revised A2) for everyone.
They made the world a better place by ______________(Accomplishment)
See you next ______ (noun).