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Project Ideas

I’m amazed that we’re already more than halfway through the semester. Looking back, we’ve covered so much ground, and I’ve learned so much in terms of digital creation just in these last couple of months.

Thinking ahead, we’ve got a few weeks in which we’ll be exploring video, remixes/mashups, and a final project.

One idea I had early on in the semester when I was looking through the ds106 Assignment Bank was doing an “Every Hour Vlog” based on the style of Jordan Taylor’s videos. I had seen the “VLOG ONE DAY” assignment, and I thought of the “Every Hour Vlog”s.

When I first watched Jordan’s Every Hour Vlog videos a long time ago, I really liked the idea of vlogging every hour instead of simply a highlight reel of a single day. I felt that it gave me a full picture of Jordan’s day, almost like I was experiencing it along with him. Because of that, I’d like to do something similar.

Another thing I’d love to do sometime in the coming weeks is a project with interactive fiction. Honestly, I was pretty disappointed that we didn’t end up spending a week on web storytelling; I was really hoping to do either the “Create and host an interactive story using Twine” assignment or the Inklewriter Storytelling assignment in the Web Storytelling assignments bank. This is because last semester, in Digital Studies 101, I created an online interactive story using ink (which is very similar to inkle, but it is considered a narrative scripting language instead of a simple online tool). When I first started my project for the class, I realized that I had begun to create a much bigger storyline than I’d intended, and the professor allowed me to submit a short “rough draft” of this online interactive fiction game for the assignment. I was very excited about it, and after the class ended, I fleshed out more of the narrative during winter break. Currently, it’s in a very basic, mostly complete outline form with little story content written. My next steps are to create the mechanics of the game using ink and start really digging into the writing of the story.

I have so much love for my story, and although at this point it’s not really feasible, it was something I was considering asking about creating the next “stage” of/expanding on as an assignment for our Web Storytelling week. (If anyone wants to check it out in its original “rough draft” form, welcome to the first published form of Currency & Captivity 🙂 I also wrote a blog post on it for my class.)

Because of this project I started last semester, I found that I have a real passion for interactive fiction. It made my creative gears turn in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time, and that’s fueled my dedication to my story game. At this point, I would say that Currency & Captivity is a part of *my* personal story. Something I haven’t really talked about on this blog at all is writing when it comes to me personally.

I’ve always loved writing. That is, fictional writing. I’d say I’m good at writing academically, but fiction, and usually fantasy fiction, is where I feel most at home. I’ve made up stories for as long as I can remember; one memory I have is “reading” a book when I was so young I couldn’t actually read yet, and I narrated the adventures of my cats and my grandparents’ cats out loud, as if that was what the book was about. I’ve written fanfictions for fandoms before I even knew what those things were. I have scribbled notes, both on paper and on my phone, of story ideas or snippets I’ve come up with. There are half-finished stories in notebooks in my room and on my computer. A few are very close to my heart, and although they may never be completed, their characters, struggles, victories, and worlds are still living in my mind. Storywriting and creation is in my blood, it is woven into my life, and although that feels very dramatic to say, it’s truly important to me.

This is a bit of a tangent, but writing stories is not something I could take and use as a means of living. That’s one reason I’m not an English major: my dream wasn’t and isn’t to become an author. It would be cool, yes, but I don’t want to spend my life trying to create all these stories just to pay the bills. To me, that would suck much of the meaning out of it. Stories will always be a part of my life, but I don’t want them to become something I monetize because I need it.

Anyway, as I was saying, story creation is something I care about very deeply. I didn’t realize how far that went until I began writing Currency & Captivity, and I found my creative engine starting up in a way it hadn’t in a long time. Of course, I had to work at figuring out a plot, getting to know my characters, and structuring an outline. But all along, it was a labor of love, and it still is. It’s a little weird to say, but I think that it’s the most developed story I’ve worked on thus far. The reason it’s weird is because I’ve had all these other stories in my mind for years, so I’m quite familiar with them hanging out in my mental space. By comparison, Currency & Captivity is quite new.

When trying to imagine what I could do as a final project, the personal canon idea I wrote about in one of my first posts came to mind. And as I said already, I’d love to do something with interactive fiction. I could do something with Twine. I’m wondering if there’s a way to tie those together with a video; my experiences using iMovie and Premiere Pro have sparked my interest in video production, and I’m excited for the weeks ahead where we’ll be exploring that.

2 replies on “Project Ideas”

You can absolutely do web storytelling assignments. You could easily work any of them into a final project or into remix/mashup work. With a little creativity I’m sure you could tie some to video work. There is no one right way to do pretty much anything in ds106, so feel free to bend any assignment to fit whatever creative direction you want to take, or to create new assignments if that makes it easier.

In the same way that we can think broadly about how to complete assignments, we can also think about stories and what we do for a living. Storytelling is part of sales, part of management and leadership, and part of training. Stories are how I’ve gotten hired into almost every job I’ve had. Stories are a very effective way of communicating ideas and messages. Even if you don’t pursue a career as an author, you can make storytelling part of how you make a living.

Thank you for encouraging me to pursue creative liberty! I think I sometimes hesitate to venture past the threshold of assignments’ instructions (probably because I’m used to science classes like chemistry where there isn’t usually more than one ‘right answer’). But I’m very excited about the possibilities of adding web storytelling in to my projects, especially for the final project. That’s certainly not the only thing I’ll do, but I’ve started brainstorming ideas for elements and “mini-projects” to incorporate.

That’s a very good point about integrating storytelling into our careers and professional life. This class has opened my eyes to more paths in life that involve storytelling—reading and watching the assigned sources has been fascinating, and it’s shown me how many options there are in terms of working with storytelling for a living.

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