Monday, November 24, 2008

On storytelling



Comics doodle, flash and photoshop.

I sat in the park at lunch break and finished Carlos Ruis Zafon's The shadow of the wind. Initially put off by the whiff of queasy gothic romance, I have to admit this book stole me completely.

Set in Barcelona during 30s, it is the story of a kid who finds a book, the last remaining edition by an unknown author. After discovering that someone has been systematically trying to burn every copy of work by this author, the kid is compelled to find out story behind the book. The ensuing web of intrigue and coincidence, evil, misfortune, and love, is exquisite.

I'm in the business of telling stories, and I'm not sure I'm that great, but the one thing I do know is the most valuable asset you possess is the mind of your audience. Depending on your art form, every member of your audience is willing to give you at least a few seconds of their undivided attention- A precious snatch of time with which to hook them- and then release the next hook- and the next- until the end.

That's all storytelling is- the release of information.
Our goal is to know our characters and events so well, that our only priority is how to release the information- how to coerce, to manipulate, frighten, humour, enrage our audience. Leading them to invest themselves in the story.

As I read, I realized Zafon's book is a Masterpiece of this skill. How gently he nudges his audience into his traps, until we realize how each character and plot component suddenly begin to clarify, to fuse together, fuelling an inevitable climax. We realize he is too good at his craft to question it, and just have to buckle in and find out what happens.

Please read :)

4 comments:

Breadwig said...

Wow, I'm sold. Gotta read this puppy.

Black Morgan said...

AHAH questo disegno fa parte della mia collezione ora :) adoro la fantascienza disegnata cosi... maledetto JP :)P

Eric Orchard said...

I'm sold too, just ordered it.

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