Storyness part 1: Stories are actions being told

Storyness part 1: Stories are actions being told

Quick preface: This is my shot at describing what I believe storyness is in media design. Since this blog deals to a great extent with story, it feels kind of reasonable for me to take a stab at the subject and be as specific as I can muster, dealing specifically with the concept of storyness, that is the notion of story in media. So what is story? Over at Anecdote Shawn Callahan lists the following features to look for in order to spot a story: Time marker Place marker Characters Events Time and place marker puts the things told in a time and place. For instance “In 1991…” “On our way to the client…” These are often present, but not obligatory (according to Callahan). Characters can be people or people-like, while this is a somewhat weak definition, it is better defined later in Callahans text as someone/something that “take action”. Action without character is event, but story without character is… something else. In other words, it’s not only events that are essential, but actions. And actions always happen in time and space. Stories are actions… In order to understand the essential core of story we need to understand action. The phenomenon of “action” has been dealt with in excess, not least in the fields of philosophy and psychology. …throwing a ball is an instance of action; it involves an intention, a goal, and a bodily movement guided by the agent. On the other hand, catching a cold is not considered an action because it is something which happens to a person, not something done by one. (Wikipedia: Action Theory)...
The new exposition

The new exposition

Recently William Gibson has made some sound comments about the state of exposition in novels. The core of it is simply that with the world wide web always at hand you don’t really have to explain all that much, everything is within reach through services like Google. Now this goes for novels, but it’s applicable on other media as well. Any print media to day is off course effected, but when they go digital the power or the open footnote, that is the web, will be even more prominent. Click on the word to get to the authors preferred explanation (traditional footnote), go to wikipedia (outsourced footnote) or search for it on your own (footwhat?). You can also easily search a book for any occurrence of a particular word or phrase. In some cases, and this is evolving, you can make notes in a text and share it with others, contributing to the clarity and interpretation of a corpus. On the web you can illustrate a sequence in a book by filming it, you can discuss it with other readers and your conversation can be searchable by yet more readers. For some this new way of reading isn’t an appealing progress at all, but the tools are available, and will just get better. Where all this might be true for traditional print media, cinema goers on the other hand are not really encouraged to sit with their noses in their Smart Phones or lap tops yet, quite the opposite. “Remember to turn off your mobile phone!” But for how long is this going to be true? New libraries try...

The message adapts to the reader

Copytext with variables is something we will see more and more of. You could even argue that the screentext is starting to behave a little like older forms of communication – before the books there were the stage, the telling of stories by a narrator live before an audience. There will take quite some time before all the emotional feedback can be processed and let the story rise, but it is a really interesting development none the less. Watch the movies at:...