Just a quick note on this post, I typed much of it before anyone had replied to my first post, when I wasn’t sure anyone else would even pay any attention to it. But we’ve already covered some of it, so apologies if it addresses something as though we haven’t already covered it, but it was easier not to rewrite it, so…
I think direction In its own right carries some importance in the story. A lot like the example of a slap followed by a scream meaning something different than a scream followed by a slap, me slapping you is a different path and has a different meaning than you slapping me. The direction that a slap moves can change the story. So as we move into Methodology, I think we need look at how direction plays a part.
Concern Set A
Understanding-understanding the riddle
Learning-learning about a map
Obtaining-obtaining the key to the chest
Doing-following the clues
Concern Set B
Understanding-understanding why the pirates picked their village
Learning-learning what the pirates are after
Obtaining-kidnapping the cabin boy
Doing-attacking the ship
Which set of the above Concerns goes with the Purpose of pirates finding the treasure, and which goes with villagers stopping the pirates from hurting others?
It’s a trick question. Either set can go with either purpose. Having a Purpose of the pirates finding the treasure doesn’t force the Methodology to be specifically about methods related to treasure hunting and doesn’t prevent the Methodology from being related to villagers who are trying to stop them.
And having a purpose of stopping the pirates doesn’t force one or prevent the other. You can have a purpose of the pirates finding the treasure and dealing with the villagers attempts to stop them rather than the actual treasure hunt. Or you could have a purpose of stopping the pirates from destroying the town by methods dealing directly with their treasure hunt.
When you carry your Purpose down to Methodology, you are not limited in what storytelling you use. But I think what does happen is that you carry that direction that the purpose gives you down into the Methodology. Keeping this same direction within your Methodology keeps the story feeling nice and consistent.
For instance, I think, as expressed through the question presented above, that it’s easy to have a Class gist of “hunting for treasure” and assume that the Concern and Sign Posts need to all be about different parts of treasure hunting. And if we use gists that sound like other people than the pirates doing something other than hunting for treasure, the story will feel off or weird, like two different stories.
But if we already know that the Purpose of the story is for the pirates to find the treasure, then we know that having a Methodology that looks like villagers fighting against the pirates means that the actual hunt for treasure won’t feel like the focus of the story and the story will instead focus on the pirates fight against villagers during their hunt for treasure. Or conversely, we could have a purpose of villagers stopping the pirates hunt for treasure by focusing Methodology not on fighting back against the pirates, but on the pirates hunt for the treasure. It’s all about making sure the Methodology, however seemingly unrelated the storytelling is to the Purpose’s storytelling, still points directly at the Purpose.
If we mix and match, then, we have 4 possible stories so far.
- Purpose 1-pirates hunt for treasure and Concern Set A-dealing with the hunt. This story focuses on the pirates as they try to get to the treasure through methods relating to treasure hunting.
- Purpose 1-pirates hunt for treasure and Concern Set B-the villagers try to fight against the pirates. This story focuses on the pirates as they try to get to the treasure through methods of cutting through a village that’s fighting back.
- Purpose 2- stopping the pirates and Concern Set A-dealing with the hunt. This story focuses on the villagers and how they try to stop the pirates by methods of messing with the pirates hunt for treasure (maybe they try to keep the pirates from understanding the riddle or feeding them false information about a map).
- Purpose 2- stopping the pirates and Concern Set B-the villagers try to fight against the pirates. This story focuses on the villagers as they try to stop the pirates by methods of fighting back against the pirates that are cutting through their town.
So 2 purposes and 2 sets of Concerns and we have 4 different paths the story might take. Some stories focus on the pirates and direct the pirates toward either treasure hunting or dealing with the village. The other stories focus on the villagers and direct them toward either their own efforts to stop the pirates or on their efforts to address the pirate hunt.
And of course those four stories could still be told in countless ways. But that’s not the point. The point is that by setting the Purpose, we free ourselves up to explore Methodology in limitless ways and still know exactly how to use them to tell a story that makes sense because it has direction and to have the confidence that the direction we choose for our stories will be able to carry through even the wackiest of illustration combos.
So if Purpose gives us a direction, then I guess Methodology gives us a path. Deciding where we’re going (Purpose) doesn’t mean we’ve decided how to get there. If you want to get from New York to Los Angeles, sure you could hop a plane and fly west for 4000 miles. But you could also fly East for 21000 miles. Or drive, or hitchhike, or dig.
So how does that help us to either analyze or write a story? Let’s say you have a scene you think is maybe about Obtaining. Ask yourself if this example of Obtaining points toward the stories Physics Purpose or not. Of course there’s room for error here depending on how the story is told, but I think there’s a really good chance that in most cases, if you can’t see how Obtaining points to Purpose, then one of them isn’t right.
So does that still track?