Vehicles vary from bicycles to cruise ships…in space…going to Saturn. Crazy. With that vision, there are keys to making the method of movement work in a story. For example, the larger the vessel, the more unified the storyline. If you are creating a spaceship, then you are creating an arena where you can take your opponents along for the ride. Hi, enemy, come on in and have a seat at the table. Convenient and close. What does this look like?
- Titanic, Ship of Fools (ship)
- Murder on the Orient Express (train)
- Almost Famous (bus)
Hello all you amazing people. How are you this spectacular day? Spectacular? Yes, it is. I woke up. The coffee was ready. I got to see the sun come up. I saw the Hubs off to work and so on. It’s the small, perfect things we must find each day to see how spectacular each day is. Let’s share a moment. Come on! It is time to fill that cuppa and grab a nibble. Dig out your copy of The Anatomy of Story by John Truby and meet me out on the reading rug. We are taking the journey through story vehicles. Turn to page 169, buckle your seat belt, and let’s go for a ride.
Yes, a city can be a vehicle in a story. We, as writers, can shrink down the vastness of a city into a smaller window. We condense it down to a city block, a building, and institution. We can show the entire culture, within the city, inside the walls of one building. Example: the ground floor of a massive building is for the lowest of people and the top is for the best of the best.
Combining the Natural with the City
This is where fantasy writers can have a blast. This is where they can rebuild the city in a different way. It can be structured as a jungle, or a mountain, or an ocean. It is seeing the ‘city’ as a singular unit.
City as a Mountain
As I said earlier, the highest buildings can also be seen as mountains. The based of the mountain, or building, is for the earth dwellers. The lowest of the cast. As you climb the mountain, or corporate ladder, you find the middle, and the top.
City as an Ocean
This is about movement. This starts at the rooftops where you can see the roofs at different levels. As you look out, it appears as waves of the ocean. That is when the story begins to drift below the roof line, and a wave carries them in and out of various windows allowing your reader to meet multiple characters. See, fantasy writers can work this- you can make the actual characters float or fly.
Perfect example: Mary Poppins – don’t believe me? Read on.
- Mary floats down from the sky. The next-door neighbor was a ship’s captain. The first mate sat by his side. As the story moves, you learn you can float if you love to laugh. Then there is the scene where the chimney sweeps dance on the rooftops that they call the sea of enchantment. – See? Perfect example.
City as a Jungle
This is the darker vision of the city. Where enemies lurk around every corner and ever shadow. Everything feels darker, compact, dirty, and wet. Characters are portrayed as animals: the snake, shark, and mad dog. Cop shows are heavy with this concept and unfortunately turned it into a cliché.
City as a Forest
This is a prettier version of the jungle. It feels utopian in its vision. The characters in the story enjoy the life within this environment. This is the cozy tree house tucked securely in the story. Want a cool example? Ghostbusters!
- Adventure story set in NYC. This is a three musketeers’ kind of story. Starts off in a warm university setting where the characters get paid to perform kooky experiments. Once they are let go and figure out what they want to do their outlook changes. They get to wear cool uniforms, and drive a souped-up ambulance, and let’s not forget the firehouse they live in. They get to slide down the firefighter’s pole. Almost feels like a cool treehouse. Doesn’t it? Fun-fun.
There are more to come! I was shocked by the multitude of ways vehicles are represented in this section. Most don’t even have wheels. We will look into sections like Miniatures, Big to Small and Small to Big, and Passageways along the way.
Please remember that I am not trying to write this book for you word for word. I am skipping a lot of detail. I highly suggest you purchase the book and read between the lines.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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