Armchair Linguist: The Gamble

Okay, so now that we’ve defined a few types of story information, what happens when we start putting it together and presenting it to an audience?

As somebody who does a fair bit of writing on his own, questions about structure and content are often on my mind (what? published? pfft, I’m self-published and you’re facilitating it, chumps!) Of course, there are the structural tropes. “There are only X basic plots” (where X ranges from 1 to 36 depending on who you ask), three-act structure, Freytag’s 5-part dramatic progression, etc. Showing versus telling. First-person perspective, third-person omniscience, maybe even second person? And how about an unreliable narrator? Hiding beneath them all, though is a more fundamental question: what makes an effective story? Continue reading


Armchair Linguist: A Matter of Fact

Since time immemorial, humans have been a race of storytellers.  Cave paintings, oral histories, epic poems, fairy tales, fables, parables; mankind’s history, culture, legacy and philosophy is built with stories.  Religions disseminate their mythologies and doctrines through stories.  Politicians use anecdotes to strengthen their positions and illustrate their beliefs.  People are educated, informed, persuaded and entertained with stories everywhere and every day.  Why is a story so much more effective than just a statement?  Why do we enjoy the escape, the inhabiting of a world which is different than our own, yet often so fundamentally similar?  Are we really the only species that has stories?  I daren’t posit that I can answer all these questions yet, but they are endlessly fascinating to me. Continue reading

Confessions of an Armchair Linguist

Words!  They’s neat.  You can do all sorts of things with them.  I’m doing things with them right now, and you’re participating!  I’m putting them out, you’re taking them in.  That’s interesting.  It’s useful that people have a way of transmitting ideas to each other that usually works.  Sure, there are hundreds of different languages out there, but if you find somebody else who uses the same one as you, it’s a breeze. Continue reading