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Short Tour—Meta-adaptation

by | Jan 5, 2013

This article presents a brief summary of the ideas and principles presented in Discovering the Soul of Your Story, Part Three—Meta-adaption. 

The Big Picture

The principles of the grok approach are linked to those of thematic imprinting by a critical element that lies at the heart of each—that is, the intent of the main character. This element allows them to be used in tandem to discover and express the soul of any story and to develop new stories from scratch. The practice of doing so may be referred to as "meta-adaptation," which works by providing the storyteller with an orderly course of questioning that allows her to analyze the hidden aspects of her story and develop it along its most organic path.

General Method

The practice of meta-adaptation may be approached in terms of a general method and set of basic starting points. The general method includes aspects drawn from both the grok approach and thematic imprinting, including (for the grok approach):

  • Identifying the main character
  • Identifying the intent and treasure
  • Examining the treasure
  • Identifying the core ensemble
  • Exploring the inciting incident

and (for thematic imprinting):

  • Identifying the issue
  • Constructing the proposition
  • Specifying the outcome and reaction
  • Considering consolations and collateral damages

Starting Points

Each starting point may be thought of as a gateway through which meta-adaptation can be used to develop new stories. A basic (and non-exhaustive) set of such starting points includes:

  • Existing story
  • Main character
  • Issue
  • Inciting incident
  • Upshot
  • Item of information
  • Matter of debate

The sequence in which the principles of the grok approach and thematic imprinting are applied in each case varies according to starting point. For some starting points, the main character and his intent and treasure are identified early on in the process. For others, the intent and treasure derive from an exploration of the issue or inciting incident.

Regardless of the order or manner in which the principles are applied, however, meta-adaptation allows them to be used in a coordinated method to generate new stories from scratch.

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