There are lots of ways to tell stories. I know this, you know this. And yet, when we talk about stories, we're usually talking about words.
I'm going to hit the pause button right here, and ask you to play a short little flash game that I discovered through Extra Credits, a YouTube channel with some truly amazing content. The link for the game is below, and it'll only take you 2-3 minutes to play from beginning to end.
Here's the game.
And don't worry, I'll link to Extra Credits down at the end, I promise. ;)
Now, I want to ask you - when the words at the very end of the game came up on the screen, what was your reaction? Were you impressed by how well the game informed you without using any words before that? Or were you irritated, because an interesting game was suddenly moralized? Did you look at the title of the game before you played?
When I first came across the episode that talked about this game, I was honestly impressed by the fact that a game with little black squares, some simplistic piano background music and very minimal background art could tell a story that I intrinsically understood. The game's creator drew on the natural human inclination to assign human characteristics to things that aren't human (personification).
You've experienced this if you've ever looked at the car in front of you on the highway and decided that those tail lights looked angry. Or if you told someone that the latch on this suitcase was "just being stubborn." Neither the tail lights nor the latch are capable of being either angry or stubborn, but we imagine that they can and do.
I'm no psychologist, and I'm only a very amateur philosopher, if I can claim the title at all. But it's my theory that we do this because we fear loneliness on a level that none of us have any control over.
Now, I've veered off the course I had planned for this post, but this is something I'd like you to think about the next time you hear an instrumental song, or see a painting, or watch your cat chase a fly. There are no words, in any of these, but they all tell a story. What story is it, and does it tell the story well?
If I want to tell stories, I should educate myself on the ways in which stories can be told, even if they're not the mediums I will use. It's easy to forget that there are other storytelling styles out there, and I don't hold the monopoly on "good storytelling styles." Storytelling through music, through words, through aesthetics; these are all awesome ways to communicate, and I think if I could master 2 or more ways to tell stories, it would make me a better storyteller.
If you have any suggestions, questions, or requests, please let me know. I love to hear from you guys. Until next time, stay awesome, readers.