Thursday, 31 March 2011

An Introduction to Myself and Storytelling

My first entry!

This blog will be filled with my thoughts about books, writing and the publishing industry. I am already feeling inspired and motivated, having just opened the blog, and hopefully that will continue throughout my blogging journey.

A brief history of me: I was always behind in reading when I was a child. Mum even had me doing kinesiology. Then I discovered the Goosebumps series and haven’t put books down since. I got a hand-me-down computer when I was around 8 and remember writing a story about a fish fighting a shark. I went on a John Marsden writing camp when I was 13 and have been writing avidly since then. My first published piece was just before I started Uni; I met the editors of an Indian magazine when I was in Goa, and they asked me to write a piece about my Indian holiday. I did a BA majoring in creative writing that involved many writer friends, a writer boyfriend, competitions, awards, a publishing internship, attempting a poetry reading and building a large collection of books. 

Which brings me to now: working on a few different writing projects, studying publishing and editing at RMIT and looking for a full time job in the industry.
Until I get one, I have lots of time to read, write and blog.

Anyway, moving on.
I just started reading ‘The Seven Basic Plots’, by Christopher Booker, who, by the way, has the best surname ever. The book is enormous (took him 34 years to write) so I probably won’t read it all at once, but will come back to it in-between books. Anyway, the first part breaks down stories to a very basic level.
-We meet the hero/heroine.
-Are put into their time and place.
-And then something happens.
Stories either end with tragedy (a catastrophe that cannot be resolved) or comedy (the unknotting of events that results in a happy ending). I like this premise for basic story telling, but modernity has seen the introduction of what I’m going to call ‘radical’ or ‘experimental’ fiction (which is almost so common now that its title has lost all meaning). This refers to fiction that sets up its own rules, and challenges traditional conventions; fiction that is daring and possibly controversial. These days, stories start with their endings - some don’t have endings at all – they have fragmented sentences and some specifically leave out certain letters (refer to Gadsby).

So I am setting myself a writing challenge for this week, and for anyone else who would like to join me (which seems unlikely since I don’t have any followers yet)
Answer these …
We meet ______________
Who is _____________
And then/suddenly ____________

Flesh them out and make a short story. Print them out, one question per page, and then rearrange them. Challenge the basic story telling foundation, and see what works best for your story. Be radical. I dare you.