Category Archives: storytelling

Celebrating cliffhangers

Emily Nussbaum sings the praises of cliffhanger narratives, from early film serials to tv soaps.  It’s a celebration of the segmented form (which I touch on in chapters 3+5). Nice observation on cliffhangers in digital media: In the digital age, … Continue reading

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Choose your own adventure deaths

One of the key components to a Choose Your Own Adventure book is the series of death pages.  (If you haven’t played/read one, these are pages to which you turn when selecting a seemingly nonlethal choice.) One helpful blogger has … Continue reading

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Storytelling rules from Pixar

One Pixar artist offers an interesting set of 20 storytelling rules.  They are aimed at fiction, but most can be thoughtfully considered for nonfiction as well. For example, #6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar … Continue reading

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Writing the blog novel

One prolific blog-novelist explains why she chose that format.  It’s a very rich discussion. The temporal structure of blogging helped with productivity.  “A big part of it was the extra pressure to deliver: I had committed to a post every … Continue reading

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Quickly turning bio into story

Here’s a lightning-fast way to start turning your biographical materials (c.v., “About”, etc) into a story. First, work through the five questions.  Next, try out the powerful prompts under “Here’s a few key tips for reinventing your bio as a … Continue reading

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One storytelling secret

Here’s a fine way to boost your storytelling skills: playing role-playing games. No, no, put down that Xbox controller. Here. Take these. *hands you a pile of glittery multi-colored polyhedral dice* They’re not pills. Don’t swallow them. It’s a terrific … Continue reading

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Vonnegut on stories

The shape of stories: here’s part of Kurt Vonnegut’s famous fortune graph. (via Scholarly Kitchen)

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Games too long for complete stories

How long should a story be, so that an audience sticks around ’til the end? If the story is a game, short might be better than long. Blake Snow argues that major games taking dozens of hours to finish aren’t … Continue reading

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We adore spoilage

What do we do with a story’s end, when reading in a book? Since we know where to find a tale’s finale, how often do readers page ahead to relieve suspense (or boredom)? A new study finds we love being … Continue reading

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Storytelling a presidency: Westen and the critics

Yesterday saw one prominent analysis of president Obama as flawed storyteller. It’s a moving, if flawed piece, and well worth reading for anyone interested in storytelling. Many critics have pointed out its analytical problems, from inaccurate assessments of political environments … Continue reading

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