Telling A Story About A Person: The Basics

Drooly Dog is about telling stories. Weird ones, tiny ones, all kinds. Above all, stories about people.

Here are some basics we will be using to make our stories. A place to leap off from. Start at the upper left:

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  1. Describe your subject. Give your reader the basics. Distinguish your subject from the rest of humanity. Your reader will visualize your subject all the way through.
  2. Set the scene. Where is your subject in space and time? This is like the establishing shot in a movie, a sense of place. What does it sound like? Smell like?
  3. Details. Details. Details. These bring your subject alive. Don’t just say they drink coffee. What kind? How?
  4. Beginning, middle, end. Pay attention to pacing. Don’t bore your reader. Keep it short and simple.
  5. Words will take many forms: Dialog, narration, sound effects, asides. Consider all of these. Will your subject narrate their own story? Or will you do that in a box? Try it different ways and see what is most effective.
  6. Space: Again, where are we? Are things close together or far apart? Will your subject be going somewhere?
  7. Time: How long is this story? Do years go by? Is it a few seconds? We will use words and visuals to convey passing of time.
  8. Details details details! Again, don’t just have your subject walk. Describe or show how. Details make it real. And weirdly, the more specific you are, the more other people relate. Humans are funky that way.

There’s a quick rundown on the basics of a good solid story about a person. Maybe it’s the first day of school. Or their wedding. Or the day they got a flat tire in the rain. But always, keep these elements in mind. And, DETAILS!

More to come…

The Drooly Dog project is about enabling people everywhere to tell one another’s stories, in order to bring us into the same world in all our weird wonderfulness.