"Corcoran’s fantasy debut is equal parts thrilling and ridiculous. [...] Readers will look forward to the sequel."

October 16, 2019

Video Games as Interactive Storytelling


As previously established, video games are a worthwhile form of storytelling, combining the best aspects of books, movies, and comics. They are unique among mediums, however, for being a truly interactive form of media. They are games, after all, and thus incorporate aspects play and choice.


Environment

Because you, the player, control the character, you experience the world as if you were in it, much more than in any other medium. You explore the environment. You fight the boss, and experience the struggle of battle. You help various NPCs, or non-player characters, with tasks. You make friends and allies, and fight alongside them. Although I never like my favorite characters getting hurt in any medium, when people attack my allies in video games, it's personal.

September 20, 2019

Poem: Writer's Block


First of all, let me apologize for not posting on Wednesday, and secondly, for this not being the follow up video game post. I've been swamped with work and other obligations and haven't been able to focus on putting together coherent ideas. Also, there is a current discussion in the gaming community (namely, must games have an easy mode if they are story-focused?) that I think I ought to address in my post. That being said, the poor little post hasn't been written yet. In the meantime, please enjoy this poem I wrote a few months back.


Writer’s Block

September 5, 2019

Video Games as Textual, Audiovisual, Spatial Storytelling


Video games are worth your while and are a unique form of storytelling. Games combine the best aspects of books, movies, and comics, while offering one other element, which we’ll get to later. First, let’s talk about games’ use of textual, audiovisual, and spatial storytelling.


Text and Subtext

Like a book, many games use text to tell their story. Older games rarely had voice acting, instead having each character’s words written or typed out on the screen. Games that now have voice acting still usually reserve it for cutscenes and use text for the majority of encounters in the game. This is somewhat equivalent to a comic’s use of speech balloons.

August 22, 2019

Comics as Visual, Spatial Storytelling


Comics are worth your while, and are a unique form of storytelling. We've already discussed books as verbal storytelling and movies as audiovisual temporal storytelling, so what of comics? Comics—which includes comic books, graphic novels, webcomics, manga, and even comic strips—employ semi-verbal, visual, and spatial storytelling. 


A Way with Words

Like movies and plays, comics don't rely on words to tell their story. In fact, there are graphic novels out there that use no language at all. They are still semi-verbal, however, because the vast majority of them include words in the form of dialogue—usually in white balloons—narration, sound effects, and other uses of text.


August 7, 2019

Movies and Plays as Audiovisual, Temporal Storytelling

Movies and plays are worth your while, and are a unique form of storytelling (Yes, that is almost exactly how I opened my last post; this is a series, after all!). Now, theoretically, I should talk about these two mediums separately, as they have some major differences. I could even do another post about TV shows as a sequential form of movies, but I think "serial storytelling" will have to be a topic for the far future. I believe, however, that these two mediums have much more in common than they have different.

Movies and playsincluding musicals and TV shows as welluse semi-verbal, visual, temporal, and auditory storytelling.

July 24, 2019

Books as Verbal Storytelling



Drink tea, read books, be happy.
Books are worth your while, and are a unique form of storytelling. I probably don't have to convince most of you of that, since you're probably following this blog as someone familiar with The Styx Trilogy or my short stories. Also, I'd wager that most people think that books are important. But what makes them unique? Why read—or write—a book instead of watching a movie or playing a video game?

Lets begin with the basics. Books—and I'm going to include novels, book series, and even short stories under this umbrella—use verbal storytelling. They are the only medium to be completely without a visual component. This means that the author must choose his words carefully in order to convey what the characters, scenes, or actions look like to the audience. At the same time, there is a natural disconnect between what the author sees in his mind's eye and what the reader will imagine. This is a good thing. Each reader will have a somewhat unique experience of the book, while still getting most of what the author intended.

July 10, 2019

Reader Viewer Gamer Spy


Ok, maybe not that last one, but anyway...

If you've hung around this blog long enough, you've likely noticed that I tend to talk about "stories" more often than books, and that I use games, manga, and movies as well as written works to discuss writing concepts. This is because I think all those stories, in whatever medium, have something interesting to say, or something worth examining. Yet there exists no decent word for a person such as myself, a lover of stories, if you will.

June 25, 2019

The Obligatory Strong Female Character Post


What constitutes a "strong female character" (or SFC for short). As a person on the internet, I’m obligated to weigh in on this. Everybody’s doing it! But what do we mean by “strong”? Is a strong person the same as a strong character? And do we need more SFCs in fiction?

June 10, 2019

Libraries Are a Writer's Best Friend


There are a lot of resources out there for writers, from helpful websites to books to workshops, but the oddly overlooked one, in this day and age, is libraries. I'll chock this up to people assuming they can find everything they need on the internet (which, to be fair, is mostly true) or to thinking that libraries and physical books are passé (which is blatantly false). Sadly, many writers—who, if they do well, will have their books in libraries someday—don't understand how much libraries can offer them, for free.

May 28, 2019

MacGuffins Matter


If you know what a MacGuffin is, you're probably thinking that they actually don't matter in the slightest and that I'm full of nonsense. If you don't know what a MacGuffin is, here's a definition from Merriam-Websteran object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance. The most famous example is the Maltese Falcon, in the film of the same name. It sets the plot in motion, in that every character wants the statue for himself, but lacks intrinsic value in that "the Maltese Falcon" could be swapped out for the treasure of your choice: the Abyssinian Monkey, the Peruvian Chinchilla, the MacGuffian Beast.