on Creative Writing, World-Building, and the Languages of Nature and Culture
The author welcomes comments from all readers
"Enlightening... The degree of research that this book represents is staggering, yet the information as written is so accessible that the book reads like a fascinating novel. This is a must own for students of film, teachers of film, and all students (and recipients) of culture studies. Highly recommended."
Grady Harp, Book Review, Literary Aficionado
“The pen really can be mightier than the sword.”
“The self-organizing system has truly challenged my understanding of the world. I have always thought of the universe as a cosmic coincidence, and that everything is random. The idea that there could be a pattern to all existence really challenged my understanding of the natural word. The self-organizing system also includes the anticipatory reflection, which really threw me for a loop. If the universe is random, how can the future be predicted, let alone anticipated? The idea that science fiction as a whole comes from this reflection is extremely interesting, because it would mean that Sci-Fi is a template of a possible future, meaning that some of the greatest Sci-Fi stories ever could one day become reality!”
“No more feeling guilty for taking classes to talk about stories and movies!”
“[Biosemiotics and signal exchange] Makes me wonder if dolphins pass knowledge that we have yet to discover, then maybe we can change society for the better.”
I just received the book, and went straight to the sections on the stories about Joan of Arc. Fascinating stuff!
Maria R., California
"It would be interesting to re-read the work done on reception theory (audiences, narratees, implied readers, etc.) from the perspective of this community-building. Because any storytelling also involves a creation and management of communities in the communicative process."
Jose Angel, Spain
"The book's most intriguing part is about the failed journeys: the hero refusing to return home, the wonderworld arresting the hero, and the hero going back and forth."
"I was most taken with the breakdown of narrative catalysts... and the way of taking into account what the limitations and boundaries the protagonists are seeking to overcome."
"I learned that mystery as a form of narrative is a tragedy that has already happened, and now we must understand why it happened... Nothing matters more to us in the suspense of mystery than what lies at the end of it all."
"Toying around with physical realities and mental capacities allows the writer to expand on the possible journeys that the hero will encounter. Not only does it allow the writer to teach the reader many lessons, but to hide those lessons behind the compilation of parallel worlds, fantastic beings and riddles."
"Science Fiction, in keeping with its oracle system, works to demonstrate future extensions of current trends (ala the butterfly effect), alternative realities, or realities that couldn't possibly exist/don't exist. These settings are used as a way to teach, warn, or study possible versions of society."
"The narrative techniques of "deviation from the optimal path" is to take the reader on a whirlwind of things spiraling out of control to teach the readers of what not to do, and demonstrate what some of the consequences of action are."
"Symbolic community allows for assimilation narratives of liminal personae. In fact, this is probably the most common storytelling trope."
"Why do we keep telling stories of how we should treat our elders, or of corrupt officials being brought down by their hubris? Because we want to realize these visions in our everyday lives, and the only way to do so is to remind ourselves, again and again, that these are the values that are important to us. We want to live in a world where we can expect to be treated well when we grow old. We want to live in a world where those who are in charge of our laws are just and good, and those who aren’t are quickly exposed and shamed. If we keep reminding ourselves and others of this, we can all continue working towards that goal, inching ever closer, even if the horizon seems to be as distant as ever."
"Light Bulb... The masterplot of the heroic journey was like seeing literature and life explained in a math equation that made sense. It not only spelled out how you needed to put together an engaging story, but it also spelled out why it works. As an artist, it is the closest I think I have come to someone handling me a blueprint to success."