This post delves briefly into the nitty-gritty of writing transmedia stories that use a ‘tent-pole’ narrative like a film or a book as their Main Linear Story (MLS) around which the transmedia elements are weaved.
The following tips are based on my own practical experiences of writing for interactive media and transmedia over a 15 year period.
1. Look Beyond the Linear Narrative
By this I mean use story assets (characters, locations) in scenarios that happen outside the scope of the Main Linear Story (MLS). For example, a minor character’s role ends on page 23 of a 100 page screenplay, or in episode 2 of a 6 part TV series. Consider this character’s life beyond his MLS purpose; what happens to him? Where does he go after leaving the MLS? Who does he hang out with? What else can he bring to the storyworld you have created?
Thinking this way will generate tangential stories and digressions that can be used as Granular Content.
2. Try Using Game Design Methods
By this I mean look at how sandbox games are created and how storyworlds exist around the sandbox game experience. Write numerous walkthroughs and user experiences (UX) to get a feel of whether the positioning of your Granular Content (GC) works in relation to your MLS. Get a Viewser’s perspective of the experience.
Think of it as similar to game testing, or script workshop read-throughs.
3. Map Out The Story Delivery Schedule
This will enable you to ‘see’ how your transmedia story sits on the multiplatform matrix. It will give a clear picture of the relationship between the MLS and the Granular Content created to feed into it. Map out the transmedia story over the time allotted to deliver it and try and get a feeling of pace; if it feels to slow and separate it may need more GC to bond it together.
And here is a BONUS tip, the most important tip of all;