Making Sense With What You Got

Making Sense With What You Got

Last Tuesday I asked readers to suggest 10 ideas to incorporate into a single story for Tuesday, which happens to be Story Day on a friend’s website. I’m always ready to steal a good idea when I see one (credit due, of course), and I thought it would be an interesting design challenge.

Here’s what 9 individuals contributed as elements to be incorporated into the story (read the original comments for the full treatments):

  1. A bee facing management challenges.
  2. Bee dancing and finding new pollen sources in the face of two suns, which makes the dancing pretty difficult (there’s BEE SCIENCE behind this one!)
  3. Einstein & Relativity.
  4. An overachieving college student with height issues.
  5. A Hamster seeking Lettuce and Bee Companionship.
  6. Gojira on the loose.
  7. Some kind of “meta-pun”
  8. A flower in a field of flower. The coastline of an ocean. Both or either.
  9. The French.

At first glance the list seems pretty daunting…how the hell am I going to integrate all these elements into a single cohesive story? On the other hand, this is exactly what I love about design: the challenge of finding the underlying themes that make the ideas cohere together. It’s not unlike dealing with regular clients; if it’s challenge you want, lead a client meeting with the heads of engineering, sales, and marketing at the same table. The contradictions in need of resolution are awe-inspiring in their scope. You’ll need to go through the same process of identifying underlying common themes and principles, so that the overall strategy makes sense to everyone; I can see the relationship between creating a story from semi-disparate elements and what I wrote about story-based design.

Sometime late Tuesday I’ll post the story, written quickly in first-draft form. No promises whether it will be good. I’ve been reading some children’s books lately for fun, so doubtless whatever I come up with will have a similar vibe. We’ll see what happens… I’m a little bit nervous, but also excited by the challenge.


Part I of the story is posted!

1 Comment

  1. lee 18 years ago

    In one of my writing classes, we were given the exercise of coming up with ten great first lines.

    None of mine were memorable, but a classmate got the best (IMHO) with “For as long as I can remember, we kept Aunt Maud in the basement.” The next exercise was picking your favorite first line – even if it was someone else’s and writing a story around that.

    It was a wonderful exercise. Sort of a cool structured writing jam.