Archive for the ‘Storytelling’ Tag

Writing for Play Time

Meant to share this a long time ago but I foolishly moved flat and left my internet behind.

I’ve been writing for a microsite all day and trying to get system language out of my head. Because it’s not how people speak, and it can take the fun out of playing with a website.

This is a slideshow by Erika Hall, co-founder of Mule Design Studio (via PSFK).

I think she hits several nails on their different shaped heads. Think of the websites you enjoy visiting most. You don’t even notice the interface language – it’s all part of the place’s personality. You’re playing, and you’re in conversation.

When it feels like a machine’s barking at you, you know you’re in the wrong place. And chances are you’ll leave pretty quickly. So the writer’s challenge? Help people play better.

¡Land of the Lucha Libre!

Luchadors. Mexican wrestlers. They’ve all got a story – and a logo. Their mask.

Where does the mask come from?

Aztecs, if you’re being dreamy and distant. The need for self-promotion, if you’re being 20th century and consumerist.

But hold that disbelief for one second. There are stories behind those masks. There’s honour and history behind the luchadors, even when they’re fighting werewolves in comic books.

Can the same be said of the WWF (WWE?) loudmouth? The hard-selling capitalist breed of this noble and ridiculous warrior, changing identity and allegiance as the money takes him?

I’m not sure. But I know I prefer the underdog’s story. And it takes good storytelling to get millions transfixed by a single TV second, over and over.

Take it away, Santo…

Related: Brazilian logo mashing.

Event: Lucha Libre in London this July.

Remember: This is just cultural mash-up. But feel free to start a serious discussion if you want one…

Mystery on Isle of Dogs

There were suspiciously few dogs on the so-called “Isle of Dogs” last weekend. And I only hope to dear God my camera read this wrong.

Must have blinked and missed a word. Either way, there are absent pieces in this sordid puzzle.

Meanwhile downtown, a White Horse has gone missing. He left this eloquent note to explain his absence:

Phew. No need to fear animal disposal this time. “Kick up the arse” sounds horsey enough to me, too. It can’t be some shadow-written sham.

Two valuable lessons in animal conversation.

1. You’ve got to watch which words you miss out. Or you’ll be misread between the lines.

2. It’s best to be clear and direct. Especially if you’ve got nothing to hide and something relevant to say.

Previously: talking to chihuahuas. Seriously: Chris Wilson’s Human Talk. Sincerely: responses to bad, automated humanspeak.

Words in put order your own

Saturday’s a good day to read a comic strip. If you still buy newspapers you’ll find some comic strips in the Saturday edition. And you’ve got the internet, right?


Two good legs? A pad and a pen? A wall you can cover in crayon?

Whatever your means, you could spend a Saturday afternoon at the London Cartoon Museum and draw a lot from it.

I came away with punitis, a copy of a graphic novel by Joe Matt (featured above) and the first scribbles of an idea.

A great comic strip, or graphic novel, engages a reader across two media. And with that effort of interaction, in joining the co-ordinates to “get it”, the reader becomes more involved.

When readers became gamers the interaction got steroid-pumped. Now you are the character. The story is a game and you play out the next move. The new GTA features Ricky Gervais. When you’re interacting with a celebrity fat man in a story of your own making, you know you’re having fun.

This puts completely new demands on classic storytelling, and I’m very impressed with work going on at Penguin right now. The idea comes from nonlinearity and uses the language of digital technology.

We Tell Stories (found at Boing Boing) is a project that embraces interaction. I would explain more, but you could go there and turn it into a better story yourself.

You can’t leave storytelling alone. I know I can’t leave storytelling alone. I’m already itching at the prospect of working with London Poetry Systems on an interactive poetry night next month. (Don’t worry – the words will be a lot better than these. I’m just playing around with videos on a wall).

But remember this: no one ever stopped you interacting with the humble comic strip. You can still have a good play with it. You just need to find new ways.