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Entertaining Audiences from Cavemen to ComiCon English 6 Ms. Levy.

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Presentation on theme: "Entertaining Audiences from Cavemen to ComiCon English 6 Ms. Levy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Entertaining Audiences from Cavemen to ComiCon English 6 Ms. Levy

2 From Genre (noun): a class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content, technique, or the like: the genre of epic poetry; the genre of symphonic music. From Wikipedia: … the term for any category of Literature … based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time as new genres are invented and the use of old ones are discontinued. Often, works fit into multiple genres by way of borrowing and recombining these conventions. WHAT IS GENRE?

3 Romance Mystery Thrillers Biography Memoir Young Adult Fiction Epic Poetry Literary Fiction Literary Nonfiction Short Stories Etc. SOME EXAMPLES OF GENRE

4 At the genre of dreams & legends A CLOSER LOOK Funny, they made this new genre called Speculative Fiction; I thought all fiction had always been speculative. --Teri Louise Kelly

5 “Speculative Fiction” is an umbrella term, meaning lots of other genres fit under it. It’s been around since the first humans told the first ghost stories around the first campfires. Speculative Fiction mostly does one thing: SPECULATIVE FICTION

6 Yep, that’s mostly all it thinks about. It keeps asking itself that same question over and over and over. Inside that fill-in-the-blank speculation is an entire universe of possibilities, from avatars to zombies. True fact: Shakespeare wrote speculative fiction. (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) IT ASKS … WHAT IF?

7 Worldbuilding: The process of constructing an imaginary world or even an entire universe. It provides the foundation for answering our “what if …” question. A constructed world, or ConWorld, can have its own maps, geography, cultures, languages, etc. Conventions: These are the rules for each genre determined by popular usage over time. Science fiction must use science, for example, while alternate history has to change some important event in our past. Tropes: These are the ingredients to our stories that give fairies their wings and spaceships their warp engines. They’re the clichés of each genre because they are so often overused. HOW TO TALK SPEC FIC

8 Invent a “What if …” question such as these: What if … genetics got so advanced you could grow an extra head? What if … space aliens came to Earth and stole all our chocolate? What if … you could read other people’s minds, but only when they sneezed? What if … you found out your parents are really wizards who lost the only copy of their spellbook? Be prepared to read it in class! FREE WRITE

9 LESSON 2 Fabulist Fiction – Then & Now Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths. -- Joseph Campbell

10 Folklore grows out of the legends, tall tales, fairy tales, rituals and even jokes from a particular culture. It usually begins as oral tradition, or stories passed down by word of mouth. It’s sometimes religious in nature, and scholars can draw a straight line from folklore to myth. Folklore gave us Anansi spider and flying carpets. It gave us Hansel & Gretel and leprechauns and the alligators in New York City sewers. FOLKLORE

11 Folklore conventions can include: Figurative language, especially metaphor and hyperbole; Magic; Suspension of disbelief; Originating through word of mouth; Being shared or performed in small groups; Local traditions and culture; Addressing an apprehension, unspoken fear or wishful thinking. Folklore is changing all the time – maybe you will add to BASIS folklore if you invent an urban legend that catches on. CONVENTIONS

12 Mythology is pretty much folklore dressed up in its best meet-the-relatives clothing. It’s often more formal in its telling and is meant to be shared across an entire society. There are a few more conventions: It nearly always has a religious source, or is deeply tied to spiritual beliefs of the time. It seeks to answer the deeper questions about life; who put us here and why, and our role in nature and in life. By definition, it involves the supernatural. Folklore doesn’t always include a supernatural element. MYTHOLOGY

13 Imagine a bunch of fairy tale characters moved to present- day Phoenix. Which ones might move in next door to you? Which one would coach your soccer team? What kinds of things would they do for a living? How would they dress? Pick just one and describe an encounter between you and this fairy tale character. Where does it happen? What happens and what do you say to each other? Remember to describe the character to us! FREE WRITE

14 LESSON 3 Science Fiction The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom. – Isaac Asimov

15 Just like the name says, there is science in this fiction, first and foremost. SF (never call it SciFi) begins with the rational. The worldbuilding must be plausible within the context of the story and sparked by something – anything -- in the laws of nature. There must be some sort of scientific postulate backing it up, even if it’s as simple as “faster than light travel will happen in our lifetimes.” SCIENCE FICTION

16 Nearly always takes place in the future; Contains no magic! Everything must have a (mostly) plausible explanation; Is obsessed with how technology affects us, particularly our sense of humanity; Technology often fails, doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to work, has unintended consequences or is used for evil ends; Mostly concerns humans. Even if there are aliens, they’re not the ones reading it. CONVENTIONS Science Fiction:

17 Hard Science Fiction is based on “hard” sciences such as chemistry, physics, and astronomy. It looks at very complex technology such as faster-than-light travel. Soft Science Fiction uses “soft” sciences such as psychology or anthropology. It looks at the ethics of how we use technology. HARD VS. SOFT True fact: Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is considered the first science fiction novel.

18 Dystopic SF: Imagines a really dreadful future when something has gone wrong with government or throughout society and people live in constant fear and hardship. Alternate History: Imagines what it would be like today if some event in the past had come out differently. What if the South had won the Civil War? What if someone assassinated Hitler in 1938? Steampunk: A form of alternate history that combines both past and future technology. It usually takes place during the Victorian era of the 19 th and early 20 th century, when most machines were steam-powered. Cyberpunk: Combines high tech with low-life characters who live at the fringe of society. MORE SUB-GENRES

19 Here’s your big chance at an invention to change the world. Answer these four questions in your composition notebook: 1. What is it? 2.What would it do? 3.How would it help people? 4.What might go wrong with it? FREE WRITE

20 LESSON 4 Fantasy Reality is the part that refuses to go away when I stop believing in it. – Phillip K. Dick

21 All the piles of fantasy novels on your bedroom floor or stuffed onto groaning library shelves owe their existence to one person: JRR Tolkien As author of Lord of the Rings, he invented this genre in his cramped office at Oxford University in England. He started with myths, folklore and storytelling conventions from Norse, Northern European and ancient British traditions. He was especially inspired by Beowulf, but his Dark Lord owes more to Hitler than Grendel. FANTASY

22 ANCIENT Creatures, monsters or characters inspired by mythology & folklore Supernatural elements Heroes and Hero’s Journey Outer vs. Inner conflict Big stakes! MODERN Has Internal Consistency, meaning: Worldbuilding is thorough, logical and transparent Magic follows laws & rules Magic has limits, flaws or consequences CONVENTIONS

23 High or epic fantasy: Also called Sword & Sorcery, this is the main type of fantasy. It deals with larger-than-life heroes in richly imagined ConWorlds. The stakes are immensely high and the story’s sweep is epic. Urban fantasy: Set in modern times, especially in cities and to young people in their teens and 20s. Paranormal romance: Combines the tropes from the romance and horror genres, but the vampires and werewolves and other creatures have been metaphorically defanged to become love interests. FANTASY SUB-GENRES

24 This genre began in the mid-20 th Century with the writings of Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Columbia but has since spread all over the world. College professors who sneer at fantasy love magical realism and consider it a very high form of literature. But it still uses magic and folklore and sticks it into our modern, confusing, everyday world. There’s no internal consistency as there is with fantasy, however. The magic in magical realism is random, chaotic and unpredictable. It pops in and out, seemingly at the author’s whim. MAGICAL REALISM

25 Uses magic only as it shines a light on characters, showing us what’s inside them. Focuses on people’s hardest struggles in the real world. Comes from countries where violence and famine are often so horrifyingly real that the imagined chaos and insanity of the story makes as much sense as anything else. Local reality is more insane than the magic. MAGICAL REALISM

26 A wizard grants you three wishes. There’s just one catch: for every wish that comes true, you have to lose a finger. Nope, you don’t get to choose which finger. And you can’t wish for more wishes or more fingers or more wizards. What three wishes would you want? FREE WRITE

27 LESSON 5 Horror We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones. –Stephen King

28 Unlike our other genres, Horror is defined pretty much solely by the raw emotion it evokes. Readers and movie audiences should feel a raw, primal dread. It doesn’t matter if that’s achieved through magic or murder or both. Horror may borrow bits and pieces from fantasy & science fiction, and also from mystery and thrillers. It sneaks around stealing what it needs from other genres. HORROR

29 Horror is deeply personal – not all of us are terrified of the same things. Even so, it uses some common conventions: It deals with the morbid and the macabre It’s often grotesque, surreal or super- suspenseful; Horror often injects some disturbing supernatural element into everyday life; Death or the threat of death looms everywhere; Our Hero is never safe. CONVENTIONS

30 Nightmare time! Describe the worst nightmare you ever dreamed. If you can’t remember one, make one up. Be prepared to share. If you need a teddy bear, I’ll bring one in for you to hold. FREE WRITE

31 LESSON 6 Please get out your composition notebooks

32 "Fairy tales are more than true. Not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be defeated." — G.K. Chesterton FINAL THOUGHT

33 Pick any of the writing assignments from this packet and craft a short story around it. First, do this pre- writing: 1.Craft a new “what if” statement 2.Worldbuild – describe what would happen in your world if your “what if” statement came true 3. Invent a protagonist and an antagonist and their conflict. 4.Use a bubble map or an outline to sketch out a simple plot 5.On a new page, begin your story (To be continued in tomorrow’s class) FINAL WRITING ASSIGNMENT

34 Final writing assignment. SKIP LINES. All categories worth 6 points apiece: ___/ Thorough worldbuilding, including limits on the fantasy or tech (ideas) ___/ Clear conflict, expertly & fluidly presented (organization) ___/ Clear plot structure with an identifiable climax (organization) ___/ Word Choice, Sentence Fluency & Voice ___/ English Conventions GRADING GUIDE

35 Wikipedia’s Speculative Fiction Portal NY Folklore Society Encyclopedia Mythica Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America Myth in Human History, Great Courses Ultimate Science Fiction Web Guide Alternate Reality Web Zine Horror Writers Association Orson Scott Card, How to Write Fantasy & Science Fiction Jon Evans at, “Magic Realism, Not Fantasy. Sorry” SOURCE NOTES

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