Proppian Fairy Tale Generator

Propp’s elements of fairy tales are an essential tool for any storyteller. If you haven’t heard of Propp and his ideas on the structure of fairy tales, do yourself a favour and read this.

Next, try this Proppian Fairy Tale Generator out. It creates some unbelievable combinations of story for you to play with. I’m a fan.

The ideas that the generator comes up with are excellent when you’re looking for some inspiration to play with a story’s structure. Don’t go too crazy, though. You may hurt yourself.


The 12 Common Archetypes

I found this page by Carl Golden on Jung’s archetypes quite helpful in my writings. Golden says,

The psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, used the concept of archetype in his theory of the human psyche. He believed that universal, mythic characters—archetypes—reside within the collective unconscious of people the world over. Archetypes represent fundamental human motifs of our experience as we evolved; consequentially, they evoke deep emotions.

I think I may be a combination of The Explorer and The Sage:

The Explorer
Motto: Don’t fence me in
Core desire: the freedom to find out who you are through exploring the world
Goal: to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life
Biggest fear: getting trapped, conformity, and inner emptiness
Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiencing new things, escape from boredom
Weakness: aimless wandering, becoming a misfit
Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to one’s soul
The explorer is also known as: The seeker, iconoclast, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim.

The Sage
Motto: The truth will set you free
Core desire: to find the truth.
Goal: to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world.
Biggest fear: being duped, misled—or ignorance.
Strategy: seeking out information and knowledge; self-reflection and understanding thought processes.
Weakness: can study details forever and never act.
Talent: wisdom, intelligence.
The Sage is also known as: The expert, scholar, detective, advisor, thinker, philosopher, academic, researcher, thinker, planner, professional, mentor, teacher, contemplative.

I think having a grasp on what archetypes might reside in yourself will help in understanding certain aspects of your own creativity.

Here’s the rest of it.


Thoughts on a mind’s hunger: the drive of Writing

My mind tingled recently, telling me to pick an idea from the ether and bleed.

Though, bleeding is all I’ve been doing into my journal, I reckon this tingling wants me to start colouring in the blank page on FinalDraft instead. My predilection for the dark atmospheres of fantasy and science fictions has been substituted for writing about how my own life has been surprising me lately.

Though, if my regular thoughts are not preoccupied with storytelling then what’s the hunger driving me to write stories?

What’s my mind hungry for in order to keep on living? 

Hunger’s a survival function. A pain-alarm reminding one to ingest what’s necessary for living. ‘A running thread’ through things that a writer writes, can be defined by a writer’s hunger. Rod Serling, one of the greats of storytelling, says on his ‘hunger to be young again’,

Part of creativity, of course, is being able to have the capacity to convey that kind of hunger, that kind of nostalgia, that kind of bittersweet feeling – to those who have never had it.

If you think about all the stories he wrote for The Twilight Zone, I guess most of them have characters that are young at heart and the trouble that comes with it. I haven’t seen all of them.

In the same interview, he mentions how plot points are ‘concerns’ – could be considered concerns – which I find interesting when thinking about writing a story. It strips away another section of structure’s surface to highlight a character’s journey. That’s important when you’re thinking about story: don’t get caught up in terminology but emotion.

Maybe I’m hungry for feeling something new to my current state of being? Sounds like baloney.

I’m hungry to write without fatigue.

Maybe I just need to shut the fuck up and write whatever. I got a story for you. It’s about a boy on strings of glass. He’s head’s made of pine cones and his feet two bits of brass. Music chimes when he steps and birds peck at his neck. He rises early, as you could tell, so he’s the one waking neighbours as they scream, ‘Bloody Hell!’ There’s never a night he ponders his dilemma that he’s stuck here looking up at forever. So, he takes a hammer and smashes them strings and with a whistle, he’s back out there, free of all those nasty little things. He soars away on a glass board full of hope, to a better place without dreams, walls, colours and dope.


Thoughts on Story Origins

The writing process itself can reveal to you the elements of a story.

In a  pretty self-aware dream I recently had, I was navigating a stark, empty place where I knew that if I imagined hard enough then something would appear for me. It took the shape of a man but not. I couldn’t stay long enough to find out what it would be, but if I could’ve stayed and talked to it a while, I would’ve gone away to tell his story or use his feelings to imagine a story of my own.

The old timers say that the Dreamtime is where we were imagined from — fictions come real for the sake of experiencing life. I feel like writing something that feels so real, someone actually believes it like a psychotic fan believes his favourite soap opera starlets are real — Creepy!

Maybe when you immerse yourself in nothing but the art of life, the elements of a story comes real.


Thoughts on Thoughts

Thinking about your writing helps you to discern mistakes, while writing about writing, say in a journal, allows the process to reveal things to you. There’s actually something to be gained with these exercises, even though they’re a little odd.

That said, the girl I’m dating read through one of my notebooks today, it left her in a mood that I discerned quite quickly was to do with me. Then again, she did look like she had a sore gut, but instincts prevailed.

I coaxed out of her that she read a love letter I wrote to someone – after a sesh – and, well, she got funny about it. Who wouldn’t?!

I explained the notes I take are me practicing to get inside the head of someone else: a character following a certain line of emotion.  They stem from my real life so that the things that are real to me breathe life into my words for a better emotional response when read.

I read the letter out loud and thought that most of it was good except for the last dip before the climax. I learned that it’s good to bounce your writing off someone close to you, and it’s even better when they think it’s real… Well, maybe it was.

Thoughts on Getting it Done

I handed in a short film script about four Londoners arguing around a dinner table by competition deadline, yesterday. I rewrote the thing like nine times and changed the ending and theme twice. I received feedback from a friend just once. I’ve thought about going back to it a hundred times. I feel good I finished it.

‘Getting it done’ is the most important thing one can do to grow as a writer. It’s like finishing off a whole chook from the supermarket for a bodybuiler. Each whole consumption adds to your growth.  Each time I finish a piece of writing I get a little smarter, a little faster, and little more insight. Clarity is the ultimate perfection we all strive for.