Sunday, 7 November 2010

Tutorial on Storytelling

Recently, I had a very constructive tutorial with Sharon Sage, who helped me with my game’s narrative. I want to expand on the narrative of my game, in order to strengthen my project. After explaining the basic concept of my game, its aesthetics and target demographic, Sharon seemed to understand my intentions of making this game and was interested in helping me come up with ways to communicate storytelling, rather than action/violence for its own sake.

Firstly, after explaining how I want my narrative to express a kind of Alice in Wonderland theme, she suggested that I read Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales that have female characters. I am interested in reading (or in some cases, re-reading) Snow White, Cinderella, Little Red Cap(Little Red Riding Hood), Little Briar-Rose (Sleeping Beauty), Snow white and Rose Red and The Girl Without Hands.

Sharon recommended that I may watch a few Disney movies, as well as Shrek to see how adult themes and humour can be worked into these classic fairytales. Sharon also stressed that I should read (or listen to) Angela Carter’s Puss in boots Radio play.

I was also recommended to read some of the Arabian Knights stories. These stories have episodic narrative and a “Frame story,” where a story is told within a story. These two narrative structures would be interesting in a game. For example, each level could tell a different short story (or fairy tale). I am also interested in how these stories use satire and parody.

Next, I will read a few short stories from The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio. Many of these stories are about love and tragedy, so they might inspire good ideas for developing a narrative that appeals to women. Like the Arabian Knights stories, The Decameron is structured in a frame narrative. Sharon advised me to play particular attention to the character Fiametta and reading the stories based around her, as I may want to base my main character around her. It will also be useful to read some stories of The Decameron because of its use of themes – a new theme is in each story. When I first spoke to Sharon about a story that I want to create, she stressed the importance of themes. These stories also use multiple viewpoints, which maybe an interesting narrative device to use in my game. For example, seeing everything that is happening in the protagonist’s world, even if they cannot see it themselves. Sharon also advised me to read or watch “To Kill a Mocking Bird” and pay particular attention to its storytelling.

Lastly, I will look at the short stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez which have elements of magical realism. From what I understand, magic realism is a literary movement where magical elements are blended into a realistic atmosphere or environment, almost like an altered reality.

Reading List:

  • Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales with female protagonists
  • Angela Carter’s Puss in boots radio play
  • Short Stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Arabian Knights stories
  • Stories from “The Decameron” by Giovanni Boccaccio
  • To Kill a Mocking Bird (Or watch the movie by Gregory Peck)

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