Assignment: Write a travel guide piece that takes place in the world that you’ve imagined in the previous work thus far. The piece should be roughly 500 words. Due via CritViz before class on Wednesday.
Travel guide tips: Readers need to know where the story is based, who it concerns, how action unfolded, etc. The Travel Guide piece is meant to be yet another window on the world you’re imagining, but told from a point of view that is different from that of your first story. The stakes and location may be the same, but both the objectives of the piece and the perspective are different.
Imagine that you’re writing about your techno-world for a travel magazine – among the elements to be included:
- The Lead—snappy opening to attract reader interest
- Where—the place, grounding the reader in geography
- When—the season, grounding the reader in time, climate
- Who—introduce the writer, to identify with the reader (this can be you or a fictional authorial persona)
- Why—reason for the trip, the motive, draws the reader into the story
- How—the process of travel unfolds
- What—the story details, quotes from people in the place, anecdotes and facts
- The Conclusion—wraps up the article, perhaps linking ending to lead
While the Lead and the Conclusion should come in their relative spots, you need not write the piece in this order. It’s more a checklist of elements to include.
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On Wednesday you’ll be working with a partner to figure out how to best ensure that your “SciFi Objects” help to tell your story about an imagined technology or techno-world. Imagine that what you’re doing is starting to build out an entire transmedia world in which your technology is featured. Think hard about why/what you include in that world. In all good world building lots of things are left out in order to focus on what best advances the stories.
Here are a couple of examples of transmedia stories to help you as you’re working on your revisions and workshopping (yes, you should be working on this over the next several days)
The Roswell Experience (this, GoT, and Breakdowns are promotional for Conductrr platform, but they also give you a good overview of how and why things work)
Game of Thrones In Place (Spanish)
Be ready not only to workshop your ideas in class on Wednesday with your partner, but also to be randomly called up to talk us through your idea in a live speed crit.
For many of you this is a first class in your college career and for many this class has felt, shall we say a little “loosey-goosey”. You’ve been evaluated based on doing things, but not necessarily on the quality of the work. Part of this has been to create room inside of the class structure for exploration and creativity. Part of this has also been to train you all in how to help evaluate and support one another (the critiques etc). And part of it has been about getting CritViz up and going.
I want to point out, however, that with each culminating assignment in a unit (for example, the transmedia story that is due on 9/16) you’ll be evaluated on the quality of your work by me, Abby, and Josh. So, if you haven’t figured out how to relate media nodes across a narrative, if you don’t yet have a compelling story with a clear sense of place, of character, of conflict – well, that’s going to be reflected in your grade.
So – please be aware that we’ve created and will continue to create space for you to work/workshop/explore and ask questions. As a consequence, we expect that you’ll have amazing transmedia stories by the end of next week that help us see how you’re hard at work prototyping some kind of dream.
Part of what we’re doing in this class is not only thinking through transmedia narratives, but also becoming comfortable with the idea that low-fidelity prototyping is a useful creative and research tool.
Good reasons to do it
- full on prototyping takes time, skills, and $$
- you can simulate your later prototype and evaluate and imaginatively deploy
- it’s an entry point for you and for collaborators who don’t know (yet) how to code/build/design etc.
- don’t think too long – build it and see
- build it in a couple of different ways
- be open to possibilities that you didn’t envision initially
Note that while we are looking at Lo-Fi here, that doesn’t mean this should be easy.
Some additional definitions and resources re: Transmedia Storytelling from Giovagnoli, Transmedia Storytelling
You may also want to draw from this site The Complete Guide to Transmedia Storytelling, which uses Henry Jenkins’ definition (which I gave in class) quite extensively.
a definition: “narrative forms that share the same elements (plots, characters, atmospheres… ) but that change depending on the publishing platform through which they are released (for instance, the same short film might be developed as a series or as a movie for the theater; its protagonist for a comic book series, etc… ).”
Telling stories which are distributed on multiple media is like creating a new geography of the tale and it requires the author and the audience to agree on some fixed and safe spaces for sharing, even if they can be altered to different combinations. Hence, before going on, it is important to clarify in this short introduction what the publishing and technological restrictions are, that are shared by all the different tales explained in these pages. The four cardinal points of “doing transmedia” are:
- Doing transmedia means to involve multiple media in a publishing project, keeping the features and the language of each one, even if they are part of a single system of integrated communication;
- Doing transmedia means to make the project’s contents available on different technological platforms, without causing any overlaps or interferences, while managing the story experienced by different audiences;
- Doing transmedia means to allow the multiple media to tell different stories but all exploring a common theme, even if it is experienced through multiple narrative perspectives;
- Doing transmedia means to agree to give a part of the authorship and responsibility of the tale to the audience and other storytellers in order to create a participatory and synergistic story in the experiences of the different audiences of the tale.
Thus, exploring the narrative universe of a story by using transmedia is even more like a question of experience than use, and it makes compromises and challenges necessary for both the authors and the audiences. It is the proper founding act for the tale, and an excellent opportunity to influence the homo ludens of today who are longing for new and more active roles in the process of fantasy and imagery-making. (Prof note: this is a critical step in the prototyping process – how can you imagine your new world/new tech/new usage of existing tech).
Still can’t get my emails to Vincent (despite the fact that he can email me). So, if anyone sees him – grab him and show him this. I need a different way to contact him.
Pericoli: “extract and then physically build the literary architecture of a text”
Nota bene (NB): Not “build a thing from the text” but “represent the logic, space, argument, story, etc…” of a text.
Rachel Belgum’s prototype