Good storytelling, a gateway to critical thinking

A good story can broaden our imaginations, our sense of wonder, and excitement. Storytelling is an excellent way to teach truths and encourage critical thinking and analysis that will remain with individuals far longer than what they learn in some classrooms.

Storytelling is a bridge between education and entertainment.

If I handed you a college textbook about military leadership and strategy, chances are you wouldn’t be too excited about it.

On the other hand if I gave you Ender’s Game, a marvelous Sci-Fi novel, filled with page-turning battles, compelling characters, and a message of tolerance, love, and understanding, you may be inclined to read. Then you may be surprised to know Ender’s Game is recommended reading for members of the U.S. Marine Corps precisely for the military leadership and strategy contained in its pages.

Good storytelling lets you take something from “boring” to “compelling.” Continue reading

Character Development : Original Thoughts

Let’s start with a thought experiment: Tony and Katie are having a conversation about politics and Tony says something about how to run a government. Katie responds negatively, “That’s pretty dumb” and attempts to break down what Tony said.

Tony tries to backtrack and says, “Yeah, I don’t really agree with it either. So-and-so said it.” Tony hasn’t demonstrated his own voice.

Often people will share an idea (that someone else said) and they think is good, only to quickly detach from it when others dislike it. What does that say about the individual? Continue reading

Believability and Consistency

One of the most basic things you’ll learn in philosophy/logic will be something called conditionals. There are three different kinds of conditionals but for the sake of this post I will only address one: the strict conditional.

A strict conditional means it must be true in every possible world, it necessarily must be, or is always the case. Continue reading

The Perfect Hero

I wanted to address this in my “How to Create a Character” post, but it really deserved its own article.

Everyone and their mother, me included, will tell you to put flaws into your characters, especially your protagonists. Why is that? Is there any good reason other than making them relatable? Do we just assume that’s the only way to make them relatable? I think so, yes. I think most people don’t know how to write the perfect hero while keeping them interesting. We back down and go with what we know because it’s safe. Boring! Continue reading

Maintaining and Understanding Relationships

This post is a bit different than the others I’ve done so far, because this is applicable to everyone and not just writers and storytellers. I’ll show at the end how a writer can integrate this into their creations.

As this is a broad subject, my focus is romantic relationships and how they can affect relationships with others.

Many will say a romantic relationship should be 50/50. Let me explain how this fails before we get to the meat of the post. Continue reading

Creating a three dimensional character

Nearly every character has a piece of the writer in them. Creating characters with differing vocabulary, values, beliefs, and attitudes can be a hard thing for a writer. For some it comes naturally, for others they struggle to create someone unique. Many people can create characters with different skills or abilities but when it comes to a belief system they get trapped. They’re too similar. They’re too much of the person creating them or in such stark contrast from each other it comes off fake. Unfortunately many think the differing of thoughts is solely between a protagonist and an antagonist. If that was the case with Frodo and the rest of the Fellowship then they’d all be pretty boring. Different opinions shouldn’t just be between the good guys and the bad guys, but all the characters. So how do you make everyone have depth? Continue reading