Story telling is not just limited to books and movies. Stories infiltrate our life is thousands of ways. Often we are either the story teller or the story receiver and we do not realize that we are engaged in the act of storytelling. Kids are expert story tellers when the play pretend games. Grandparents tell stories when they share family history. Gamers tell stories as they play. Even a simple television commercial can be a story in thirty seconds.
We don’t think of ourselves as story tellers, but guess what we are. Have you ever gone to work on a Monday and a coworker asks, “How was your weekend?” Then you tell them about the shopping trip with all the sales you lucked up on or ball game you went too. You are telling a story.
Not all stories are good ones and not all stories are worth telling. This is true. The skill of storytelling is like anything else. Some of us are good and it, some of us are not and some of us can tell average stories. It is the interesting, heart felt, tragic and scary stories that we tend to remember the most. The key is engaging the story receiver’s emotion. It is the listener, viewer, reader who determines if the story is good or not. The story teller may think the story is good and be completely wrong.
As a writer the exchange of story from the teller to the story receiver fascinates me. I want to know what makes the receiver remember the story, why was the story worth the time of telling and why would you want to repeat the story? It is the psychology of the story that is the game changer for me.
I challenge you to be aware of the stories in your life. Notice when you are on the telling end and the receiving end of a good story. What makes you remember a story? What makes you repeat a story? Most importantly what makes you really like story or fall in love with a story?
A few weeks ago I informed you of the new of me species of humans called Gamers. I have since observed them a couple more times. I have learned that they are a loyal bunch. They stick to the schedules set and the progress set forth by the GM (Game Master).They seem to function of sustenance of whatever food the motivated person of the group decided to cook, some junk food, tea, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, various types of adult beverages and Mountain Dew.
This week I was accepted in to the clan. I was asked to create a character and participate in the game. This is an unprecedented occurrence. From what I understand they rarely let insiders in and haven’t allowed a female player (except for a special actress) in a long time, maybe ever. They helped me decided on a couple of characters. One is a fierce Royal Frills dragon. A brutal creature with super magical powers. The second character is a transformer robot who is a super intelligent rouge scholar with an organic presence. When he/she (sex is undetermined at this point) transforms it is a 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500 K. Picture the car below a crisp aqua blue…yeah, nice I know.
The GM eased me in to the game. I think he took it easy on me this first time. I was thankful. The last thing I want to do is look like the armature player I am and embarrass myself. So there they were and away crew investigating an abandoned spaceship and they come across this transformer who they can’t communicate with. It was a challenge to say the least.
On a side note, studies show that keeping your brain active is the key to avoiding memory loss and dementia when you age. Gaming takes an active mind, a strong sense of logic and a passion for adventure. It is a creative orgy of storytelling that is good for your brain. In my exploration of the species I have discovered that this gaming culture is strange to some adults. They see gaming as something that should be left to the young, the geeks, or the nerds. I say screw that. Some of the best people I know are nerds, geeks and gamers, but besides that gaming is fun. If you haven’t tried a role-playing game, I highly recommend it. Plus it could just keep you out of the Alzheimer’s home when you are old.
I will keep you posted with dispatches from the field as I infiltrate the realm of the gamer further in future interactions.
“Reality is subjective if you only have enough belief to change it!”
~ Indomitable by J B Garner
The first book in a series, Indomitable introduces the reader to Irene Roman, an unlikely super hero. She was forced in to survival which in turn forced her to become a hero. This story reminds me of The Rook by Daniel O’Malley in that the female lead is an unlikely hero. She is intuitive, strong and brave. All the best qualities for a female hero.
What I liked about this book is Garner’s use of words in ways that force us to rethink language. For example, in the story the world is now inhabited by people with super powers. These people are called the Pushed. The concept was a little hard to grasp at first but they were pushed in to these powers by a force that caused this altered state. The reader is “pushed” to accept this new use of the term. This concept of manipulating words and their meanings to fit the story is a cleaver talent that Garner uses well.
One thing that was difficult for me was some of the passages that reflect Irene’s thought and some of the lines she speaks do not sound authentically female. I found myself thinking, no woman would say that. It is my biased female point of view. As a writer I get how difficult it is to write in a voice that is not your norm. It is not easy.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes sci-fi, fantasy and super hero genres. It is a climactic combination of all of those and more. Though it took me a bit to get my head around the concepts, it was well worth the time and energy it took to devour it. It caused me to consider that life is not always what you presume it to be. I look forward to reading the rest of the series. Keep writing interesting thought-provoking books Mr. Garner. I am a fan.
I have discovered a new species of human. Well, not new you some of you but new to me. This species is skillful in creating it’s own environments due to its unlimited imaginations. This life form is social in the environments it has created with rules and guidelines. Others join the creator in this world and add their own elements to the creativity. A social creation of life, as it were. This being is also very talented at bantering within the social group. They use various dice, books, and other tools to create the world they operate in with cunning and problem solving. This creature is called a Gamer.
I am like Jane Goodall observing her primates to learn their habits and way of life as I sit and observe my new friends as they play a role playing game that has some thing to do with Star Wars. They create within rules of the game designer, characters that are as well thought out as any character in a novel or movie script. They roll dice to decide different actions. The dice are not normal with dots on each side. They are triangles, diamonds and squares with numbers, symbols and dots.
These gamers are a different breed of storyteller. They spin tales as they maneuver in the environment that they designed. They are in a sense writers. I am amazed at all the aspects of the games that they have to remember. I see some note taking and consulting of manuals, but for the most part they have to keep in their head what is happening on many levels.
I plan to learn more about the strange species of human since I have befriended them and they have accepted me into the group as an observer. I see that this relationship could be a mutual beneficial one. For me, I can collect plenty of writing fodder. For them, I am a willing creator of yummy sustenance and the go getter of beer.
This could be a fun adventure. I will keep you posted with dispatches from the field.