Friday, July 16, 2004

Systematic Fiction Project: Introduction

The fiction project started in the year 2000 with a simple question:

I don't have obvious talent as a fiction writer, but I'd like to write interesting stories. How can I use existing creativity techniques and develop new ones that can be used to create strong stories?

I started by examining existing films and stories and asking "How were the interesting concepts, strong dialogue and plot developments created, and how can techniques be created to devise more of these?" I studied films such as The Green Mile and Pulp Fiction, and used the Tintin stories of Herge, as I thought that some of Herge's plots and ideas were capable of being used for adults (just!) and that the stories were often full of interesting twists. I could also open the Tintin books at any page and be able to instantly see the stage of the story's development.

I made good progress (and developed some techniques that can also be used for "real world" creativity) but with hindsight I have been able to see a key mistake I was making: I knew the films and stories so well that I was inadvertently studying each story and treating the story's developments as though they were the right answer and most important, the only right answer, as though the story couldn't have developed in any other way. So I decided to drop the analysis of existing stories and "go live": that is, use the existing techniques developed to create new stories from scratch.

At the time of writing (July 2007) I can say that my project hasn't finished yet and that I haven't yet achieved what I set out to do, but I do have an array of tools that I believe has the potential to act as a creative toolbox for writing stories. Eventually I am hoping that I will be able to establish an "entry point" for writing stories: a simple model that acts as a "pivot" when writing and developing a story.

Readers are invited to offer any feedback and contributions. An idea that appeals to me is that the pool of techniques could -- at some time in the future -- be used to create collaborative stories, where anyone can participate in the creation and development of a story.


Idea Hooks
Example Idea Hooks
The Gods of the Story and supertools


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