Saturday, March 13, 2010

Designs on You

This is yet another argument for feeling the chemistry first, rather than sorting out the rationale for a particular story or, for that matter, a design.

A story begins with a prediction of the outcome made by the reader, then implemented by the characters. The reader continues if he or she is interested to the point of caring about the characters. The writer has designed or manipulated this concert of ambiguity with deliberate intent.

The prediction or, if you will, the predictive premise of the story is an impending collision, also anticipated by the reader, abetted by the characters and the writer.

In all these assertions about story, the writer is using similar conceptual tools used by the designer. These two creative endeavors, story and design, bifurcate at the point where the writer picks up the tool of surprise, which is vital to story, and the designer reaches for the tool of utility, which is vital to design. It is not that the writer wishes to be less utile or that the designer foreswears surprise. A writer has no quarrel with his story being useful in demonstrating a social or moral problem or, for that matter, their solution. Nor has the designer any problem with an unanticipated or surprise use being inherent in a design.

Both writer and designer do best when attacking and developing a concept from a powerful energy of caring as opposed to a deliberate, thoughtful deconstruction of the need for the particular design or concept.


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