Unique Ways of Storytelling


#1

I’m a sucker for stories that are told in unique ways. MC being thrust into a situation and having to learn the context in bits and pieces? MC with memory loss having to figure out who they are, who everyone else is, and what the hell is happening? Essentially any way of telling a story that switches between past and present? I love that.

It’s the main reason why I really liked the book 13 reasons why. The story is told through a character listening to the recordings of a girl who committed suicide. It begins with you already knowing how everything will end but not why. Having to think the entire time you’re reading about where everything will end up is what makes that book special IMO.

One of the biggest reasons I love the WIP Icarus Sun is how creative the method of storytelling in it is.

But I find that these unique methods of storytelling aren’t very common. The exception would probably be that memory loss is a somewhat common theme for IF characters for obvious reasons. Outside of IF the most notable examples for me is the aforementioned book, 13 reasons why, and the first season of American Horror Story.

Anyone have any piece of media that utilizes this to recommend?


#2

A movie like Memento is the first, most obvious example that jumps to mind, but that’s an older one you might have watched already.

You might want to play Oxenfree, which is a newer game, if you haven’t already. Although when it first starts out, it may not SEEM like the narrative is that unique at first, it was one of the most refreshingly original stories I have played in a video game for a while. It definitely has you questioning and trying to piece things together, especially if you reach the end and “continue” on to play a new game without restarting the saves.


#3

Does the Rashomon style of storytelling count, when you’re given one event, but then told by various different peoples, each of whoms accounts vary on what actually happened?

The movie Hero does this, (as does Rashomon of course.)…

Memento’s told in a unique way too, in that it’s a nonlinear story. (Ahaha I got ninjaed on Memento.)


#4

/screams into the void/ Baccano!

Also the Girl on the Train.


#5

Yeah, I’ve watched some let’s plays on Oxenfree and I liked it a lot😄


#6

I FORGOT ABOUT Baccano!!! Best anime😩


#7

The light novels go all the way to 2003, last I checked. You should read them, most have been translated by fans. The anime only covers two arcs from the original series.

Also DRRRRR! is set in the same world, but it’s dubbed by a different studio (so Isaac and Miria do show up once, but don’t sound the same).


#8

Yes! Any unique forms of storytelling. This includes events throughout a story not being what they seem but only becoming aware of that fact at the end (ala Fight Club). Not to say that linear stories are missing anything, of course. I’m just so into other kinds of storytelling.


#9

I don’t like amnesia in storytelling. One, its overused as hell and secondly, most authors use it as a way to circumvent the effort of putting an interesting character on paper. If you’re going to make the MC forget everything then at least give us a valid reason as to why it happened and attempt to take advantage of the premise to the fullest. Its absoluty cringe-worthy when the plot is about someone who forgot everything and is suddenly placed in a situation where they must save the world (or similar).

I think most people misunderstand the consequences that severe memory loss has on a person - every day would be a major struggle for them (as well as anyone that deals with them directly). Try dealing with someone who suffers from Alzheimer in its later stages… they can barely take care of themselves let alone help others.


#10

Oh yeah, I agree completely. Writing stories any of these ways isn’t easy and if they aren’t done correctly then they’re just…bad. I know exactly what you’re talking about there.


#11

I really like the way the story is told in Ubume no Natsu a.k.a The Summer of Ubume. It’s a Japanese novel, which also has a manga adaptation. The story is told in first person, through the eyes of one of the character. However, the book also hinted at the fact that a human narrator is inherently unreliable.

Edit: there’s also a movie. Haven’t watch it but I think i heard it’s a fairly good adaptation


#12

That sounds really cool😮

I think there’s a specific name for writing like this like “destroying the narrator” or something.


#13

Yeah, the book also deal with amnesia, though in this case it’s more repressed memory than an actual loss of memory. I’d highly recommend you to read/watch it, I don’t want to say more cause itll become spoiler and that might destroy your enjoyment of the twist. If you don’t have time, I would recommend the manga series (you can find it online pretty easily), if you have about more time then the movie would be good and finally, if you have lots of time then the book can be bought relatively easily.


#14

Not sure if this counts, but through song. I may sound old fashioned but the stories I share when I am at home and have actually managed to tune the guitar/ one of my other instruments and describe the characters before I play and allow their imaginations to take over.


#15

Oooo, and Detention! Unique storytelling + even more supernatural elements. Another game you can get on Steam, but there are let’s plays available to watch, too. TW:suicidal themes.


#16

One of the strangest, and most interesting, forms of storytelling in a book that I’ve ever seen was in number9dream by David Mitchell. It follows a young man named Eiji through Tokyo and is (kind-of?) a coming-of-age story. I picked it up in an airport library and let me tell you this book is wild.

A lot if it follows through Eiji’s imagination, so the forms of storytelling shift from chapter to chapter. At one point the book alternates between a book he reads and his real life, in another one it shifts between all the ways he imagines an event going down (ranging from realistic to absolutely insane) leading up to how it actually happens, and in another chapter it alternates between the contents of a journal from an entirely different character and the present day. (And so on)

The best part is that it never told you how it was going to switch. So when I first started reading it I did kind-of a literary double-take because I was extremely confused, but then the little metaphorical light went on and it became really fun to see what new kind of storytelling was going to be present in the next chapter- or if it would just be “normal” narration. (It’s since become one of my favorite books because of this).


Another fabulous form of storytelling is Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler another crazy adventure of a book. It’s actually told in second person like most CoG and HG games are. The story telling reminded me a bit of number9dream when it was described to me which is why I decided to give it a go and it’s really intriguing.

So the story is about you, yourself, reading the book If on a winter’s night a traveler (funnily enough this book was written in 1979… which is pretty early considering the whole meta-humor didn’t become really popular until, well, fairly recently), except the book isn’t finished.

So the entire story is about you trying to find the rest of the book, and subsequently finding even more books, so the actual book itself alternates between you trying to find the books and the text of the books you find.

It’s extremely fun, beautifully written, and has a bit of humor to it too! I would definitely recommend both number9dream and If on a winter’s night a traveler if you’re into unique storytelling.

Oh! And if you do pick up If on a winter’s night a travelerpay attention to the name of each of the books. They’re all in the table of contents, so you’ll see what I mean.


#17

Not sure if it is exactly in your wheelhouse (they can be a bit… let’s say mature), but I have to toss in the following books:

JG Ballard - ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’ and ‘Running Wild’

William S. Burroughs - Naked Lunch and pretty much everything he’s ever written

Also the movie ‘Pontypool’, which is a lot better than the book it is based on.