Random Elements of Storytellinglostnbronx leads us on an investigation of the fundamentals of story telling.
Some stories, that are otherwise cookie-cutter in form, possessing familiar situations and clichéd characters, seem to nonetheless stand out. Other tales that might have great ideas, intriguing plots, and vivid characters, seem to hit the ground with a thud. The determining value here may lie with the pacing of the story.
How does pacing (that is, timing) affect your story? Why does it matter? Can you make improvements in the pace by moving things around? What’s the best approach for creating it to begin with?
Lostnbronx meanders for a while, often losing his way, and rarely making a coherent point regarding this complicated topic.
What makes for strong subplots? Why can some subplots be chopped out of a tale without harming it? Why can some be chopped out, and it actually makes the tale stronger? Is this modular approach the best way to bring in subplots, or is there another method that might be better?
Story construction is a complicated topic; Lostnbronx tries (and largely fails) to make sense of this small part of it.
How does setting interact with plot or character? Why would you choose one type of setting over another? And how do certain specific settings become intrinsic aspects of the story itself?
Lostnbronx takes a breezy, mostly incoherent stab at this rather complicated topic.
In some stories, the narrator or dominating character can’t be trusted by the audience, creating opportunities for various storytelling effects. What makes for an unreliable narrator? What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of this technique? How can the underlying structure of a tale be similar to an unreliable narrator, even if the story doesn’t actually have one? Lostnbronx takes a rambling, off-the-cuff look at this interesting literary tool
Some characters are simple, some are complex, and some are entirely unknowable. What sorts of characters work best for grand, sweeping good vs. evil tales? Which types work best for simple character dramas? And how do characters interact with the setting and story? Lostnbronx offers some off-the-cuff observations.
Characters are intrinsic to stories of all types, and they often have journeys, referred to as arcs. What, exactly is the character arc? Does everybody in a tale have one? Do they even need one? How do arcs affect the plot, and vice-versa? Lostnbronx shares some off-the-cuff thoughts about this often misunderstood aspect of storytelling.
Lostnbronx takes a quick look at how story endings need to be structured in order to be satisfying. Lots of endings are possible, but they don’t all require the same treatment. Some can be abrupt, some can be sad, but all of them need to meet certain emotional expectations.
Plot twists come in several varieties, and can produce different effects in stories. They can be powerful tools, done correctly, but quickly become trite and predictable if over-used, or used poorly. What's the best way to include them? And when might it be a mistake to even try?
Lostnbronx contrasts what he calls "static action" with "story action", and looks at the functions of these techniques for storytelling in various media.
A car chase is action-filled, but so might be a quiet Victorian drawing room, where, at least on the surface of it, nothing is happening.
What actually constitutes action? What purpose does it serve? And how much of it do you really need?
Lostnbronx goes over the narrative technique of using one main character to tell a story, as opposed to using multiple characters. What advantage, if any, does so-called "head-hopping" have, over focusing on a single character at a time? Why is it sometimes better to do the opposite? And how can these different construction elements impact the story as a whole?
Lostnbronx takes a breezy look at narrative points-of-view, as well as temporal tenses in storytelling. What are they, how do they differ, and why might one be better than another in a particular situation?
Lostnbronx talks about plot and story, as well as characters and backgrounds, in storytelling of all types. These things are closely tied together, and a problem with one can easily be a problem with all.
Lostnbronx takes a quick look at what it is that constitutes "reviews" of stories (be they books, films, TV shows, audio dramas, whatever) as opposed to "critiques" of them.
How do these two things differ, and what are their purposes? Is one more important than the other? Why does it even matter?
Lostnbronx looks at flashbacks, flashforwards, plays-within-plays, and dream sequences as techniques of both good and bad storytelling.
Lostnbronx looks at the concept of the "big idea" in storytelling and various genres, arguing that such a creative tool may not actually be all that necessary to tell a compelling tale.
Lostnbronx rambles on about the structure of stories, and how their internal logic can make or break them.
Star Trek's warp drive, as described on the Memory Alpha wiki:
My own use of the starjump concept is probably best heard in Stardrifter Book 03: "Risk Analysis"