“We don”™t need mediums to conceive of stories, we need mediums to express and communicate stories. This means that choosing the right medium is, in the end, simply another aspect of craft “” albeit one that has unparalleled importance.”

Ditchwalk: Storytelling for the Digital Age is a blog that does exactly what it says it does, muses about how to best tell stories in an age where everything is changeable, movable and abstract. Where we may experience stories by reading a book, an ebook, a movie, a play or even a YouTube video of animated spaghetti noodles (it was kinda like claymation, and more than a little disturbing).

So, when we have so many options about how to tell our story, we sometimes forget that the most important part is the story itself. Once you have the story down, you can really start to understand how that story deserves to be told.

Here’s another quote from DitchWalk’s post:

“At some point, if you keep pushing against your limitations [of creativity], you will realize that stories exist apart from the specific mediums that allow us to document and relate fiction to others.”

That is what this whole “mixed-media” revolution is about! How can we work together to tell the best stories in the best possible way. I can’t draw — like even a little. So, if I’m telling a story that has a scene that is so much more powerful when seen, a story that is begging me to be visual, why not connect with another artist who can bring that to life?

Anyway, the blog post from DitchWalk is in a series and its a pretty good one. It talks about rules of mediums and when to break them, how to make everything center around a story, and some other fun stuff like the NFL and NBA. Definately check it out:


It makes me wonder what some artists who work in different mediums have to say about this. Give me a shout! Comments always welcome below.

Here’s a little more from the blog, just to make your creative stomach rumble a bit 🙂

Compared to painting, storytelling as a medium “” even in the rarefied air of experimental literature “” is and will always remain constrained by complex rules. Some of these rules are a result of the way human brains take in and process narrative information. Some are cultural rules that define the meaning of objects and people and places before they are redefined or repurposed by authors. Some are logical rules having to do with time and place and order, which can only be broken when some plausible new rule (time travel, say) replaces the assumed rules so the reader does not become lost. And there are of course rules defined by language.

No matter how you find your way to storytelling, your own individual authorial journey begins with the stories you have been exposed to over the course of your life. This exposure inevitably affects and informs your initial efforts as you necessarily substitute mimicry for what will later become mastery. As you grow and develop as an author, and as your skills and interests broaden, you will leave these initial anchors and points of reference behind in order to explore new narrative territory. As you become more comfortable with different aspects of craft you may even probe the complex dynamics inherent in the interplay of art, craft and commerce. You may also decide to branch out and work in different storytelling mediums such as poetry, short fiction, long fiction, screenplays, stage plays and even interactive fiction.

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Chris Michaels

Storyteller. Researcher. Coder. Innovator. I seek to push the boundaries of storytelling and education.
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