This year for ZIP my inquiry question is ‘What components make up an effective text-based story’, and the reason I chose this as my question is because recently I saw these ads for these really interesting text-based stories. Upon doing some further investigating and even looking at some of these stories I thought that the concept was really intriguing. It was an entirely new form of storytelling altogether- one directed at the modern era where texting is a part of most people’s lives. I wanted to explore this idea further, because in the future it might become a really popular form of storytelling, in which case it’s useful if I am already skilled with the technique. Overtime, my inquiry question stayed the same but I did break it down into two more parts, which are perspectives and dialogue. Because text stories are new and fresh into the world there isn’t much information about them, so I figured out the main elements that create a text story- which are perspectives and dialogue- and I did research on that. All in all though, my inquiry question has stayed the same because I was able to find information about it, albeit not directly.
During this inquiry process some skills I expanded on are problem solving and researching, because as I mentioned above I had trouble finding information on directly what makes an effective text story, so I developed methods to persevere and find what I’m looking for. Another skill I expanded on is creativity, because being creative is an essential piece to writing an effective story. If your story is lacking creativity, then it will just seem plain out bland to the reader. Additionally, I vastly improved my synthesizing skills because I took aspects from different stories I read before to recombine into another cohesive whole. Most of the inspiration I used is from real stories and myths, because I found some of the content really intriguing, and I still wonder what really happened in those stories. A prime example is the ‘Dyatlov Pass’ incident in Russia, where nine ski hikers didn’t return home, and the police found a really “odd” scene when they went searching for these hikers. You can read about that on your own though. Another example of inspiration I used is the myth about random staircases found in the middle of nowhere, and everyone who’s gone near them has only ever experienced negative things, whether they be physical experiences, emotions, etc. You can read about that yourself as well. These skills will come in useful to me later on whenever I am working on most blog posts, because for example if we are working on an analysis of a written piece, like we have done this year, then I can use my synthesizing skills to take pieces and bits of information from different sources and formulate it into a cohesive argument or analysis. I can use my creative skills to spice up my work, and to add some more originality to my work by coming up with unique ideas of my own.
In the end, I come to the epiphany that there isn’t just one factor that makes up an effective text story. Rather, there are multiple different components you must consider when writing these types of stories. One of the most important factors is to get straight into the action. The last thing you want to do is bore your reader, because then they will likely just put your story away for another one. You want to dive right into the conflict of your story, so you can hook the reader in. Another aspect you want to focus on is to let the reader make inferences. It is tempting at times to add in unnecessary messages just to clear the plot with the reader, but it’s actually better if they make inferences. This way you can show not tell, and you can also keep the reader on their toes thinking about what is happening. Keep in mind though you don’t want to make the story so unclear that no one has any idea what’s happening, because that just makes them not want to read anymore. You want to be careful how you use grammar. When you text someone, you aren’t going to use perfect grammar for every message, so why do that in a chat story? The texts should be natural, as if it is a real conversation going on between two people.
Furthermore, an essential component that you want to use well is perspectives. When writing a text story you are speaking from the heads of multiple people, and you must be able to authentically represent these people. This means you have to differentiate your voice for it to sound authentic. Otherwise it will seem like the same person’s voice coming from both characters, and it’s more like a puppet show. Which is not what you want.
My final learning artefact is actually a text story that I wrote myself, using all the skills I learned during my inquiry. My story demonstrates all of my learning because I took all my research and applied it into a final written piece. I think that this is the best way to show my learning, because what’s better than actually writing what you spent a month researching about? This directly connects to one of my chosen competencies, which is ‘Transform ideas and information to create original texts’, because I am using all of the information that I gathered and I am creating an original text, which is my story. Another one of my competencies is ‘Explain how literary elements, techniques, and devices enhance and shape meaning’, and this connects to my work because this is what I did earlier in this blog post. I explained what makes up an effective text story, and how it does so. My artefact shows this competency because I used these different literary elements that I discussed, and then I created a story with them. In addition, my last competency is ‘Synthesize ideas from a variety of sources to build understanding’, and I did a lot of this in my research, which ultimately leads to my story. As aforementioned, I broke down my inquiry question to find more information on it, so I had to synthesize the information I found, and I had to reinterpret what it meant in my scenario. What I mean by this is that most websites that talked about writing from different perspectives, or writing effective dialogue were meant for novel-type stories, so I had to re-apply the information in my situation and see what still makes sense. I also looked at information from a variety of websites, so I picked what came up repeatedly in them, and what also worked for text stories, and I synthesized that information into my notes. These notes were then used to create my final artefact, which is how the story connects to the competency. I’m not going to post any pictures from my story because of spoilers, and you will have a chance to read it on Monday when I present.
One resource I found particularly helpful is this website: https://www.wired.com/story/text-message-based-horror-stories/
This helped me out quite a bit at the start of my inquiry, because it provided overall information about text stories and the history of them, to help kickstart my inquiry.
Another website I found helpful is this one: https://nybookeditors.com/2017/05/your-guide-to-writing-better-dialogue/
This website gave me lots of useful information for writing dialogue between characters, and although it is meant for actual book-style story writing I found that I could re-apply lots of what is said into text stories.
This website gave me some information about writing from multiple different perspectives, and how I can pull that off effectively. Again, it’s meant for book style stories but it can be easily re-applied into chat fiction.
Yet another website that helped me: https://www.standoutbooks.com/6-insanely-good-dialogue-tips-from-your-future-literary-agent/
This website also gave me tips on writing dialogue, and although some of the tips on this website are meant for regular style stories, some other tips came in really useful to me while writing my chat-fiction story.
An additional website: https://www.nownovel.com/blog/writing-dialogue-multiple-characters/
This website gave me information for writing dialogue from multiple different characters, so it’s like a bonus of both perspectives and dialogue that helped me find more about my question.
A new question I have that’s branched off of my current inquiry is what kind of other styles of story writing will emerge in the future. Ten years ago when texting was just becoming a thing, nobody ever suspected that chat-fiction would actually become a form of storytelling. Now look at where we are. I find it amazing that we have invented such unique methods to tell stories, and I am curious as to where we will head next. This excites me because I am looking forwards to seeing new methods of telling stories, methods that I am never going to expect.