“Is this a Nanoswarm I See Before Me?” Nanotechnology and the Universal Story
What’s in store tonight…. Part One: Literature “The Song Remains the Same” – the story of stories. Prey. Part Two: Creative Writing Your turn!
Part One: Literature Why science fiction isn’t about the science.
Reading Journal Writing as discovery: The Response Journal Literature Circles
Archetypes – the Universal Story Although the word’s an old one, Carl Jung played a key role in introducing the idea of “archetypes” – universal images, types of people, objects. Jung thought these were part of our “collective unconscious.” In other words, we’re hard wired for them. Some Jungian Archetypes: Jungian CharactersJungian Characters
Some Archetypal Characters (in Plain English) Hero Mother figure (Earth Mother, Fairy Godmother, Stepmother) The great teacher/mentor (Wise Old Man/Woman) The innocent (a child or inexperienced adult) Underdog Split personality—the other side of an individual Scapegoat/Sacrificial Victim Enchantress/Temptress The Giant/Monster/Ogre Trickster Evil figure
The Hero’s Journey The long version. The basics (from Wikipedia):Wikipedia (1) a call to adventure, which the hero has to accept or decline (2) a road of trials, regarding which the hero succeeds or fails, (3) achieving the goal or "boon," which often results in important self-knowledge, (4) a return to the ordinary world, again as to which the hero can succeed or fail, and finally, (5) application of the boon in which what the hero has gained can be used to improve the world.
The Shape of Stories According to Algis Budrys: A character In a situation With a problem Who tries repeatedly to solve his problem, but repeatedly fails, (usually making the problem worse), then, at the climax of the story, makes a final attempt (which might either succeed or fail, depending on the kind of story it is), after which the result is “validated” in a way that makes it clear that what we saw was, in fact, the final result.
Or, Boiled Down: Character(s) -- status quo Conflict Complications/Failures Crisis Falling action Resolution These archetypes were originally discovered not only in literature, but in folk stories – so it’s no surprise we see them in:
Cinderella At the beginning of the story, Cinderella and her Dad are rolling merrily along in life – then: Conflict! Dad marries Evil Stepmom and forms Brady Family of Darkness Then goes the way of all mortal flesh
Cinderella settles into life of song- filled drudgery. Until…. Cinderella receives an invitation to a Royal Ball! Complication!
Now things get messy! Cinderella can’t go to the ball! This is a grimace, not a smile. Fairy Godmother to the Rescue! A real Cinderella story!
But…. Prince Sap…er, Charming…falls in love Cinderella loses it all if she doesn’t leave by midnight. Then the clock strikes 12:00!
Luckily… Cinderella’s glass slipper survives the stroke of midnight – and can prove her identity. But when the Prince comes knocking, evil Mrs. Brady won’t let her try on the slipper!
Crisis!!!! Will Cinderella never escape the drudgery of cleaning up after the steps? Will the Prince lose his one chance at true love? After all, who will marry him if Cinderella doesn’t? Will this mean a Disney movie with a sad ending? Will Ingmar Bergman direct?
If the slipper fits, you must acquit (yourself well as the future Princess Charming). Success!
Falling action…. Cinderella and the Prince get hitched… Cinderella moves to her new digs and….
Until, of course…. The Venutian forces invade earth…. Giant space robots to the rescue!
(OK, maybe some of this can wait for the sequel…)
In your literature circle: How does Prey follow this structure? Identify: The moment when Conflict first strikes A few of the Complications/Failures The Crisis Falling action Resolution What archetypal characters can you find in the novel? Where else could nanotech be used in an archetypal story?
Part Two: Creative Writing Putting Nanotech to work for you (without destroying the world).
Genres Fiction can be divided into many “genres” – “types” or “classes” of story. Wikipedia actually does a fair job of defining this term and identifying important genres.Wikipedia They include:
Fantasy Fantasy fictionFantasy fiction features stories set in fanciful, invented worlds or in a legendary, mythic past. The stories themselves are often epics or quests, frequently involving magic. The enormous popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy and J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels demonstrates the wide appeal of this genre.quests magicJ.R.R. TolkienLord of the RingsJ.K. RowlingHarry Potter Horror Horror fictionHorror fiction aims to evoke some combination of fear, fascination, and revulsion in its readers. This genre, like others, continues to evolve, recently moving away from stories with a religious or supernatural basis to ones making use of medical or psychological ideas. Mystery Mystery fictionMystery fiction, technically involving stories in which characters try to not discover a vital piece of information which is kept hidden till the climax, is now considered by many people almost a synonym for detective fiction. The standard novel stocked in the mystery section of bookstores is a whodunit.whodunit
Romance Romance is currently the largest and best-selling fiction genre in North America. It has produced a wide array of subgenres, the majority of which feature the mutual attraction and love of a man and a woman as the main plot, and have a happy ending.happy ending Science fiction Science fiction is defined more by setting than by other story elements. With a few exceptions, stories off of Earth or in the future qualify as science fiction. Within these settings, the conventions of almost any other genre may be used. A sub-genre of science fiction is alternate history where, for some specific reason, the history of the novel deviates from the history of our world.Earthalternate history Thriller A thriller is a story intended to evoke strong feelings of suspense and danger, usually involving a high-stakes hunt, chase, or a race against time. Thrillers often involve espionage, crime, medicine, or technology.thriller Western Western fictionWestern fiction is defined primarily by being set in the American West in the second half of the 19th century, and secondarily by featuring heroes who are rugged, individualistic horsemen (cowboys). Other genres, such as romance, have subgenres that make use of the Western setting.American West19th centurycowboys
Your turn! In your group: Choose a genre. Prey is a thriller – so that’s out. Sci Fi is too easy – so forget about it. Pick from: Fantasy Horror Mystery Romance Western And a bonus: Children’s story Come up with a story outline Write the crisis scene for us. Be ready to share!
Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight? or art thou but A dagger of the mind, a false creation, Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? I see thee yet, in form as palpable As this which now I draw. (Macbeth (II, i, 33)