The Kalidah is the most ferocious and feared predator in the Land of Oz. We first read about Kalidahs in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz novel. The Kalidah has the head of a tiger, the front paws and body of a bear, and the rear legs of a tiger. But what would a Kalidah look like in real life? How would the features of these two fearsome predators look? Read the rest of this page »
This question drives my writing and my explorations into character.
I am flawed. I struggle. I move forward a little bit, and then I fall. I get tired. It’s hard to get up and continue. What do I need to go on? Pretty much, I just need a hero to look to. Read the rest of this page »
A hero is someone that inspires hope. A hero stands in contrast to a villain, who inspires hopelessness. Villains are explored in a previous post.
Based on this simple definition, the hero type can be broken down into several categories. This post contains short videos that I believe demonstrate the aspects of heroism that I look for in my characters.
There are many real-life examples of heroes. This post is limited to fictional heroes and heroic qualities that I find inspiring.
These everyday heroes may not change the world, but they can change your world.
Consider Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie (1978). Read the rest of this page »
A good villain is the embodiment of that which makes you feel helpless.
With that in mind, three types of villains emerge:
Inhuman forces of nature
Shadows and hordes
Inhuman forces of nature that run rampant are always scary. A few examples include: Read the rest of this page »
Can you tell a story in six words? This super-short storytelling has a history dating back to Ernest Hemmingway when he shared the following with a friend:
For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.
iO9 has a couple of super-short science fiction writing contests here, and here. This got me thinking about how to tell a story in six words. You see it many times in newspaper and magazine headlines. The story needs to pull you in so that you buy their product – their product being both a magazine and a message. If you buy their message, you will most likely come back. You become their audience.
So how do you build an audience in six words? You find common beliefs that allow you to use shorthand to tell your story. You find double-meanings in words that give you more mileage. And you find a way to look at events or attitudes that allow people to think they know what is happening, and then surprise them.
The power of each word is multiplied when you can only use six of them. Here are three of my favorites from my six-word sci-fi brainstorming session:
- Substitute time traveler wanted. Provide references.
- Successfully removed cancerous microchip. Now lonely.
- Vegetable uprising. Time travel. Primordial soup.
I thought even further – could this work for Oz stories?
Given only the limit of six words to tell an Oz story, can you do it? Can you rely on your audience’s understanding of Oz to share an entire story in scarcely a handful of words? I’m going to give it a try.
- Silver slippers returned to the dust.
- Giant robot destroys tribe. Survivor cowardly.
- Powder of life activates Tiktok’s heart.
- Teenage Glinda battles two Wicked Witches.
- Lonely Wizard dreams monsters for Witch.
- Yellow Brick Road guided hopeful slaves.
- Young Locasta hides from apprenticeship. Found.
Some of these may be actual story ideas for The Hidden History of Oz series. Time will tell. Distilling the essence of a story down to six words is quite an interesting exercise.
Why don’t you give it a try? In the comments below, leave your six-word Oz story.
While reviewing some of my past creative work today, I came across a game design document I wrote in 2009.
I was still a student, and the contest was a limited-time entry only. With just a few days before the deadline, I brainstormed what I thought would be a fascinating game and digital world. A large part of this document relies on technology that isn’t quite there yet. (Think back to how much less-there the technology was four years ago!)
In designing Paper Planes, a Massive Online Community of digital origami, I combined three things: digital technology just beyond our reach, the infinite creativity of the human mind, and origami, which fascinated me as a child. Consider the artistic landscape – if there were no limitations to digital folding or paper craftsmanship, what could you create? Read the rest of this page »