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The Possibilities of Narrative

The problem of representation has persisted since antiquity. Literature had long opposed the writer’s ability to tell a story on one side, and to represent reality accurately on the other. The twentieth century has shown that both are concurrently achievable and modern literature, in particular the novel, is the product of the confluence of these two ideas.

An essay that explored how narrative has developed the capacity overcome this binary and to both tell a story and represent our experiences of reality would be a poignant contribution.

This is particularly pertinent in a cultural climate that continues to move away from homogenous conceptualisations of existence. In a cultural climate where language continues to lose authority it would be interesting to explore how language can adapt (as it always has) to overcome the severe destabilisation of what is (I use the term hesitantly) a Post-Truth world.

  • There are A LOT of ideas here, this could easily achieve PhD length given the scope! Which isn't a bad thing, I'd read it. To keep this article length though I'd keep the idea of 'The Possibilities of Narrative' as the focus and perhaps go into a couple of current narrative forms that meld your core concepts of literary narrative, on the one hand, and fidelity to representing reality on the other. Mixed-media ARGs (Alternate Reality Games) jump to mind. – JM 8 months ago

What makes a 'good' story?

The art and craft of storytelling isn’t something that is ‘known’ but something a writer becomes to learn, with practice. However, stories (as a whole) can be extremely subjective; not every story/narrative is going to be loved by every reader. So: what makes a story ‘great’? What elements of traditional storytelling constitute a good story? Are authors who attempt to undermine these traditions ‘good’ storytellers?

  • This is a good start! You really ought to find some examples of some 'great' stories and see what threads may exist between them. Likewise, you could also find some bad ones and see what common mistakes they made. – majorlariviere 2 years ago
  • It's all subjective, in the end, I agree. Some 'great' stories may have similar characteristics, or what is generally accepted and praised by the readers. In some cases it may be the name attached to it, making it a 'classic' so, therefore, it's seen as great, but I think what makes a good story is a sense of perspective, environment, description, and a well thought out idea. No matter the genre, the story needs heart. – sarahjae 2 years ago
  • Depending on the genre and demographic you are trying to reach. A "great" story includes a sense of authenticity and complexity within each character. This helps us as readers to understand their motives, relate to their actions and witness growth within the story itself. – Key 1 year ago
  • I think this is a very interesting topic. Writing is definitely subjective can people have different likes and dislikes. One person might love a story while the other is just uninterested. I think what makes a good story is making raw connections within simple things. It's about being able to relate to different topics. A story should have unique characters with quirky traits. It should ahem conflict and challenges. It's not about how intense a story is, it's about the deeper meaning behind simple things. – sarahandrosoff 1 year ago

The self created narrative in video games

When gamers play video games, it is common that they begin creating their own narrative, or story, through the game. For example in Fallout 3 it is common that players will horde certain items, or wear certain armor for their own reasons. I played Fallout 3 as a samurai, only using a sword and wearing samurai armor. I created the narrative that I was a samurai in the world of fallout and played according to that narrative, restricting the use of guns, stimpacks and anything else. I’ve created this note to hear your personal narratives that you’ve created in playing video games. Have you created your own back story to your character in Skyrim, or only drove red cars in G.T.A. Leave me a note!

  • Fascinating topic. I would definitely be intrigued how games that allow more free roaming affect the gaming experience compared to games with less customization and more restrictions on roaming and character design. That comparison would be interesting to break down. For me, I would create certain characters with certain belief systems in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. Same with World of Warcraft--such as creating a character who refused to kill animals. – emilydeibler 6 years ago
  • I'd explore Mount and Blade Warband, which is a game that has basically no plot but lots of organic storytelling that just occurs through playing. – MattHotaling 6 years ago
  • This may also be interesting to consider. Behavioral scientists talk a lot about the role of unscripted play in children's lives. For example, is playing in a sandbox better than playing a video game? Minecraft, of course, throws a wrench into their arguments. But this concept of player-created narratives --- which are often "challenges" for adult players --- poses a new question: can unscripted play be found in a scripted environment? – Kristian Wilson 6 years ago
  • Could be worth correlating this to how all the narratives are in part 'self created' - the audience makes meanings themselves out of words on a page, pictures on a screen or sounds in their ear. This also can echo the current article about choice, or the illusion of it, in games like Bioshock. I would stay away from gimmicks you give to the story and focus on the anatomy of the extent to which you always forge your own path when playing a game, no matter how unscripted it is. Compare one extreme to the other - how does the gamer contribute to an absolutely linear story, and what do they gain (or lose) when things become less scripted. Also, approach the full breadth of gaming. There's a temptation to only discuss roleplaying games, but not too long ago 'gamers' were making narratives out of Space Invaders and Street Fighter, and they still are today. – JekoJeko 6 years ago
  • It would be wonderful if games would take into account "self-created" characters and allow the player more customizing options as well as personal developments for each characters. I am an avid Fallout and Elder Scroll gamer, but most of the time I feel disappointed with the lack of personalization - and I must accept that my character's story only exist in my head. To answer your thread, I never really constructed an identity for my Fallout characters mostly because it seemed like there wasn't a lot of room for backstory. (FO3 you're literally a fetus - I mean adult when you leave the vault and FNV, you're shot in the head) Although, those narratives allowed me to create a character alongside the growing plot. It didn't go much further than I am ALWAYS a lady in Pre-War sundress killing people with a melee weapon. Now, I did create an elaborate backstory for my Skyrim character where she ran away from home because of growing imperial forces, the death of her husband and was caught thieving on the border- but she didn't care because she wanted to go to Skyrim anyways. And Skyrim is the sole example of me creating an entire identity and backstory for my character mostly because I accidentally created a pretty Nord. – spiringempress 5 years ago