Transmedia Project Design Questions: Stories (Part 3)

Theme, story arc, and plot are essential to the design of effective stories. These questions will help in their development:

  • What is the controlling idea (theme) of the story? (Story Level Design Tasks)
  • Is there a story arc that spans multiple elements of the story? (Story Level Design Tasks)
  • What is the inciting incident? (McKee, 1997, pp. 189-202) (Story Level Design Tasks)
    • How does it radically upset the balance of forces in the protagonist’s live?
    • How does the protagonist react to the inciting incident?
    • When does the inciting incident occur? Within the first 25% of the central plot?
  • Does the plot lend itself to transmedial development? (Story Level Design Tasks)
  • Does the story have one or more sub-plots? (Story Level Design Tasks)
  • Does a sub-plot open the story because the central plot’s inciting incident is delayed? (Story Level Design Tasks)
    • Do the sub-plots support the central plot?
    • Do the sub-plots lead up to the inciting incident?
    • Is the inciting incident introduced at the appropriate time?
  • How does the audience learn of the inciting incident? (Story Level Design Tasks)
  • In a serialized narrative or a transmedia narrative with multiple entry points, is there any easy way for the audience to learn about the inciting incident (i.e. recap of prior narrative events; brief introduction at the beginning of each episode; etc.)
  • Do any of the sub-plots resonate with the controlling idea of the central plot? (Story Level Design Tasks)
  • Does the resonance enrich the story with variations on a theme?
  • Do any of the sub-plots contradict the controlling idea? (Story Level Design Tasks)
  • Do any contradictions enrich the story with irony?
  • Does a sub-plot complicate the central plot? (Story Level Design Tasks)
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