Reading 1: Chapters 1-3


Provide examples from your findings or past of the dramatic storytelling, non-dramatic storytelling and interactive storytelling.  When telling a story what part do you prefer to play?  The messenger, the supplier or the client?

An example that comes to mind when it comes to dramatic storytelling includes Stephen King.  Specifically, King likes to tell many of his stories on the melodramatic side.

Let’s take a classic Stephen King novel I read recently, Carrie, and compare it with the guidelines of what a drama is composed of.

The Set-up.  At the beginning of the story, we are set up with getting to know this girl in high school, who is a bit of a naive, innocent, outcast and we find her mother, who is unbearably strict.  Many girls in her school bully her and it is no better when she comes home to a mother who is convinced her child is a walking sin.

The Presentation and Exposition.  Along with the set-up, we begin to see what kind of relationships are involved in the characters in the story.  To name a couple of the most important:  Carrie’s and her mother’s mostly consisted of her mother forcing Christian-extremism on her, and punishing her often for things that she considered to be “sinful,” which pretty much was everything she did.  Carrie’s and her peers mostly consisted of her being bullied by the “popular” girls in school, as well as many others who thought of her as strange.

The Rising Conflict.  When prom came around, a genuinely nice boy, Tommy, at Carrie’s school asked her to go with him, and with much hesitancy, (considering she assumed it was another prank), Carrie eventually accepted the offer.  Upon preparation, her mother yelled and screamed and tried to lock her in a room which she used when Carrie was little to force her to pray for her sins.  However, Carrie has had enough and reveals to her mother this secret power she has had since she was a young girl-she could move things with her mind-and she does so to scare her mother.

All the while, a different group of students at Carrie’s school are planning a conniving prank to humiliate her in front of the entire school at prom.

The Conflict Resolution.  The conflict resolution is that “moment the audience has been waiting for.”  Tommy and Carrie go to prom and they have a great time.  Of course, Carrie is elected prom queen and invited on stage to accept her crown, when bam, the bullies above dump a bucket of pig’s blood onto poor Carrie White.  Thus, after overcoming for a moment the shock and heartbreak of betrayal, Carrie proceeds to go forward with revenge, terrorizing the entire school with her powers, destroying anything in her way, proceeding through town and back home to finish with her mother.

The Fade Out.  In the novel, the last few scenes mostly consist of Sue, Tommy’s boyfriend, going back to the school to find Tommy (she was not at the prom), and discovering a weakened Carrie.  The end of the book also includes “articles” about what exactly happened that night at prom.

An example of non-dramatic storytelling that I can think of, and will name because it is probably one of the silliest, least dramatic films I have ever seen, is Napoleon Dynamite.  It is kind of one of those Independent films with a low budget that turned out to have made more profit than anyone ever would have expected, I think, because of its simplicity.  When it came down to it, it was just a story about a very awkward high school nerd who developed friendships with two other equally awkward students, but who also learned how to dance very well, which backhandedly helped one of his friends become class president.  Although it wasn’t dramatic, and only focused on a small part of these characters’ lives, the story was still there.

A great example of interactive storytelling that comes to mind for me is in a video game I have been playing with friends.  You may have heard of the hit TV Series The Walking Dead, essentially an apocalyptic world filled with monsters, the monsters being the obvious, disease-stricken, bloodthirsty zombies referred to as walkers, as well as the ones that are very much human and can appear to be friendly but turn out to be traitorous, unjust, and crazier than a bag of cats.  Well, there is a video game series out there with the same title, but based more on the comic series than the television series.

One would think that a video game that includes zombies would be a shoot-em-up, see-all-the-gore-and-guts kind of game.  However, the way the story is written and the game-play is created, it is easily one of the most emotional games I have ever played, and arguably more emotional than a lot of films I have seen.  The game has interactive storytelling because as you play through this apocalyptic world, you have to make life-changing decisions and actions that will, in fact, change how you play the rest of the game, your character’s relationship with other characters, and essentially, your fate.

When telling a story, I prefer to play the supplier.  In writing, photography, or other forms of illustration, I prefer to be a part of the production process opposed to being a client, looking to sell the product, or the messenger, translating or transporting a product.
Screenshot was obtained through the following link:
King, Stephen. Carrie; a Novel of a Girl with a Frightening Power. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1974. Print.
Napoleon Dynamite. Dir. Jared Hess. Perf. Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino. 20th Century Fox, 2004. Film.

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