Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Stories: the treasure hunt model

SQUIRE TRELAWNEY, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17__ and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof.

So begins one of the best known adventure stories in the English language. Awkward language. Strunk and White would see it as a horror story. But notice that opening. The birthmark of the treasure hunt model. The hook is in the first paragraph.

Why do I bring up the treasure hunt model here? (Choose one)
1. It fits well with the vid structure.
2. It works well for adventure, detective, mystery, and sci-fi stories.
3. I plan to work with Zed Drebin on a story that will use it.
4. It presents a model for educational presentations that I may use with Xenon Darrow.
5. All of the above.

Here is a quick summary of the treasure hunt model:
The story opens with something that evokes curiosity and suggests important things to come.
The story continues in short chapters, with each chapter resolving some issue and disclosing more things to be curious about. Except for the last chapter, when everything is resolved.

To work with this model, we need an overall scenario with a treasure, a set of clues that take you to the treasure, and a treasure (resolution) that will be worth the quest. In a detective story, this might be discover the murder or prevent the crime. In an adventure story, this might be to reach the treasure. In an educational context, the best widely available example would be Myth Busters.

And in the context of a blog about story vids, the resolution is set of vids that tell a story. And what does that have to do with education? Maybe that is one of those issues yet to be resolved.

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