Tag Archives: transmedia

Calling All Young Writers – I’m teaching a free, transmedia storytelling workshop this Friday

Book Fan Friday is a workshop for tweens and teens who love to write.

April 12, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd.
Beaverton, OR
503 228 4651

Transmedia storytelling refers to the delivery of story through a variety of media.  These forms can include film, graphic novels, traditional books, flash fiction, gaming, iPhone/iPad delivery of content, and various forms of audio.  Typically, story lines are interwoven and connected but not strictly repetitive.  Often, fan engagement and participation in the creative process are facilitated by social media.

Increasingly, all media forms—books, movies, games and TV shows—are looking for transmedia opportunities.  During this session, Amber will introduce transmedia storytelling and show how the Angel Punk team (www.angelpunk.co) delivers story via novel, feature film, comic books, and an interactive fan site with an emphasis on the creative process.




Graph Your Novel (Seriously!) – Guest Post by Me @wilwrite

I’m excited to be on the faculty at the Willamette Writers Conference  in early August.  I’ll be talking about using critique to enhance your writing life, and I’m bringing my Angel Punk manpack to talk about transmedia.

If you want to join me (which would be amazing and cooler than cupcakes), click here to register.

And you can follow the conference blog to get more from all the faculty in advance.  My guest blog — Graph Your Novel (Seriously!) — appears on here and a teaser below…

If writing a first draft is like trying to out-run an avalanche, revision resembles digging out with a shovel.  Any tool that can cut through the details and provide a panoramic view of the shape of our story is useful.  Try a graph—seriously!

Pick 1-3 things that you want to focus on and that you can rate on a 1-10 scale.  Some examples include voice, pace, likeability of a character, emotional intensity, conflict, fluidity of language, narrative coherency, moving plot forward, or a character’s transition from one state to another.  If a critique partner is doing this for you, asking if s/he’s “lost” will help analyze backstory components.  One of my critique group members analyzed the “turn the page factor” on a scale from 1, completely uninterested, to 10, can’t stop to pee.  Read more…

Love LOST? Adore THE OFFICE? Immerse yourself in THE ART OF IMMERSION by @Frank Rose

I’ve been book-talking this fabulous book by Frank Rose to anyone who will listen.  If you are interested in the psychology of story-telling, the creative genius behind LOST, THE OFFICE, or THE DARK KNIGHT, or the way media is rapidly changing– read this!

A few tidbits:

“People don’t passively ingest a marketing mesage, or any type of message.  They greet it with an emotional response, usually unconscious, that can vary wildly depending on their own experiences and predispositions.  They don’t just imbibe a story; they imbue it with meaning.”

“Dickens fashioned tales with cliff-hanger endings to keep readers coming back. … More significant, however, was the way he improvised in response to readers’ reactions. … On occasions when a story was faltering, he paid much closer attention to what his readers were saying.  … Scholars have come to see such give-and-take as crucial to Dickens’s method. … In Dickens’s own time, serialized novels were hugely controversial. … The format seemed dangerously immersive.”

“In a mid-sixties discussion with Jean-Luc Godard at Cannes, the idiosyncratic director Georges Franju became thoroughly exasperated with [his] unconvential techniques.  ‘But surely, Monsieur Godard,’ he blurted out, ‘you do at least acknowledge the necessity of having a beginning, a middle, and end in your films.’  To which Godard famously replied, ‘Certainly.  But not necessarily in that order.'”

“For a whole generation of Hollywood writers in their thirties and forties, Horowitz [executive producer on LOST] quipped, ‘Star Wars was a gateway drug.'”

“The most dependable way to forge a link, whether to a colleague in a new job or to strangers on Twitter, is by relating information–a process that often involves telling a story. … Storytelling is a simple act of sharing. We share information. We share experience. Sometimes we overshare. But why do we share at all?”

OK – if those snippets, all from the same book, haven’t convinced you to read THE ART OF IMMERSION by Frank Rose, you’re on your own!

Never doubt that your story matters. It maintains the past AND creates the future.

This morning I stumbled from my bed to the coffee maker, turning on NPR along the way.

The first story to penetrate my brain was about President Obama’s upcoming trip to Asia.  The reporter began, “The narrative President Obama is going tell…”  He went on to describe how the future of the US economy lies in Asia rather than Europe.  So our president is going to tell a story that he hopes will create the future for the US that he desires.  You understand me?  Stories can create the future.

The second piece was from Story Corp, a project beloved by me because it collects and values the stories of everyday Americans.  In this segment, Frank Curre, a Pearl Harbor survivor, tells the story of that attack.  He describes helping with the rescue efforts and concludes by saying,

I still have the nightmares, never got over the nightmares. And with God as my witness, I read my paper this morning — and right now, I can’t tell you what I read. I can’t remember.But what happened on that day is tattooed on your soul. There’s no way I can forget that. I wish to God I could.

Frank Curre may wish that he could forget, but I, for one, am glad he can’t because his story maintains the past.

Finally, let me share with you a bit of science.

In THE ART OF IMMERSION (an amazing read), Frank Rose describes the research of Demis Hassabis, a game designer and PhD neuroscientist.  He studied the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in memory.  If memory works by assembling the bits and pieces of the experience during recall (rather like a puzzle than vs. a video tape), then he supposed the processes of memory and imagination should be linked.  He found subjects with damage to the hippocampus and put them through a series of visual suggestions (e.g. imagine yourself on a beach).

The results were amazing.  People who had damage in the memory center of their brain could not dredge up complex imaginings. In other words, the same part of Frank Curre’s brain that remembers the bombing of Pearl Harbor is also capable of creating the future.

We are hard-wired for story.  And it MATTERS!

Report from KidLitCon 2011 – CONNECTION and AUTHENTICITY

KidLitCon 2011 was all about CONNECTION and AUTHENTICITY.  It was invigorating like this killer mural I passed in Seattle.

(Forgive the cross-posting with VivaScriva.com, but I couldn’t decide which blog needed this post more!)

Unlike many writers’ conferences, which are tinged with an air of desperation, the path to publication was NOT the focus.  Instead KidLitCon attendees are primarily bloggers focused on connecting authors and their books to readers.  Not as marketers (though some authors assume that every blog is a lightly veiled form of advertisement) but as matchmakers devoted to getting the right book in the right hands.  Need proof?  Take the passionate conversation with Colleen Mondor about how her review of a book she loved could “best serve the book.”  Inspiring!

It was deeply satisfying for me to meet others (in person, since I had connected with many via Twitter) who are committed to the tripartite nature of story-telling.  There must be a story, a teller, and an audience.  CONNECTION—I love it!

Another key take home for me was that these connections had to be AUTHENTIC.  Truth starts with the story.  The panel on diversity (Lee WindSarah StevensonBrent Hartinger,Sara RyanJustina Chen) reminded us that the heart of the story is inhabited by authentic, non-stereotypical characters whatever their ethnicity and orientation.  Writers (no matter their ethnicity or orientation) must get it right for truth to infuse the story.

Much discussion on authenticity circled around how we review books.  Bloggers make many choices about their own process and the key is transparency.  If you only discuss books you like (book recommendations vs. critical book reviews) then say so on your blog.  If you’re taking on the crucial job of true book reviews, remember that critique is not a litany of failures.

Authenticity was also a theme of Holly and Shiraz Cupala’s presentation on DIY marketing.  They urged authors to focus on giving value to bloggers, potential readers, book store buyers, and librarians.  We shouldn’t be trying to trick people into switching tooth paste brands.  We should be trying to fill a need.  Shiraz shared a quote from Simon Sinek: “People don’t buy what you do.  They buy why you do it.”  Isn’t that another way of saying we all want the heart of the story?

Perhaps the best gift of KidLitCon 2011 was the synergy with Angel Punk.  Devon Lyon, Matthew Wilson, Jake Rossman, and I presented a panel entitled The Future of Transmedia Storytelling: Angel Punk, Pottermore, and Skeleton Creek.  (For those of you who weren’t there, transmedia tells interwoven but non-overlapping story lines through multiple forms of media.  In our case, film, comics, novel, and online.)  Transmedia is about CONNECTION because of fan participation in the story-telling process and because each form of media engages and unites a different set of fans.  It was exciting to see the enthusiasm of other KidLitCon attendees for both our approach to story-telling and the heart of our story itself.  (Thanks, you guys!)

I’m still flying high from KidLitCon 2011.  I left with real, true, new friends—CONNECTION and AUTHENTICITY.

Transmedia, Talk Back, and the Power of Story


So my new project, Angel Punk, is a transmedia project, and I’m going to be on a panel at KidLitCon in a few weeks discussing transmedia.

“What the heck is that?” you ask.

Transmedia means storytelling through multiple forms of media: film, text, images, audio, blogs, tweets… you name it.

“How is that different from Star Trek?” you ask.

Good question.  Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and other astronomically popular franchises started in one form of media,  a TV show, a movie, or a book.  It became popular and the story spread to other media forms.  Transmedia starts out in multiple places.  We recognize that there are multiple points of entry into a story both because some consumers prefer books or gaming or movies and because some facets of the story are more interesting to some readers than others.

One key component  to transmedia projects, however, is consumer (I hate that word but reader/viewer don’t cut it) participation.  More than ever we want to be a part of our favorite stories.  I have a quidditch t-shirt.  I geek out following Neil Gaiman on twitter.  I get sucked into online explorations of the Game of Thrones universe.  Most transmedia projects want talk back.  We want to know what people like and don’t like.  We want to include consumers in the process.  We want some collective consciousness on board for story telling.  If you think about it, it’s like that game where everyone takes turns making up a few lines of a story.  I love it!

See you around the social media fire pit for the next story session!