There are five necessary categories that organize every story. The writing of excellent stories
conveys a rich and specific sense of all five.
Storyworld ; Person ; Action ; Storyteller ; Design
These categories are programmed in our DNA: they organize human perception and even have appeals to specific brain areas. Moreover, they represent stages in our experiences as we develop from an in utero being, to being capable of complex associate thought.
Because the organize our minds, they are why we experience life as if it were a story.
But more than that, these categories enable us to seek goals, solve problems, understand other people, oh, and they enable us to invent stories as well.
These five, often represented as “places, persons, plot, point-of-view, and pattersn”; however, these designations, while useful as mnemonic devices, are weaker words that don't suggest the full potential of each category. Writers need to imagine, outside the writing of the story proper, in these specfic ways.
Every human being lives in--- A specific time
A specific place
A specific social context (language(s), protocols, behavior signals, morality, religion, laws,
etc): The Social
Our first experiences of time, place, and social occur in the womb; a place in which everything is location, location, location. Because that's all there is. That changes with birth, at which point we understand there's more than one location and more than just one set of place-specific stimuli.
Our ability to think in terms of Storyworld is always part of our priming our perceptions when we enter a new place: “where am I and what do I want” [Prime/Define] are always answered specifically according to time, place, and social. When writing, we read for a complete, yet novel Storyworld, revealed through perceptions and actions.
Consider: a social idea—you have a pocketful of cash, $20,000— but how different would you behave
1. arriving at Macy's on December 26 at 7AM, 2014
2. or stepping from a wereced airliner in the mountains of New Guinea at midnight in
two months (rainy season)
3. or at a slave auction at high noon in Nero's Rome?
Devise a hybrid Storyworld: use aspects of your current storyworld (it can look almost entirely like exurban Connecticut); however add in some slightly strange---sci-fi, fantasy, magical, psychic--- aspects(s). It can affect only an single person, a group, the entire population, but make it only a ripple of strangeness: magical realism, modest magic, slightly psychic, semi-scientific, relatively religious. Use a list: Don’t both trying to write a story. Begin with place descriptions, names, and specific time (day, season, weather); maybe consider what makes the time/place/Social pleasant/unpleasant?
Devise a weird change in The Social: norms of behavior and status determinants, language (dialects & idions), sociallaws, physical laws, religion, drugs or intoxicants, music & arts, dress codes and other materiallanguages, rites of passage—
Disrupt physics, medicine, value conventions, relationship mechanisms; play around.