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Creative Storytelling: Five Ideas

From collaborating with another blogger to crowdsourcing your story, here are five quick ways to create a new kind of post on your blog.

Itching to do something different on your blog? Want to tell a story in a new way? Here are five quick ideas:

Use pages and links in fresh ways.

The bear blogging at Hello, I am a bear shows how you can use the standard features on your blog — posts, pages, links — to experiment with digital stories. Consider “You are a bear,” which uses links and pages in a choose-your-own-adventure tale. In the story, you make decisions from the point of view of a bear. The blogger — er, bear — cleverly creates various paths and different endings depending on your actions.

Combine forces with someone else.

We love the writer-artist collaboration between Virginia-based blogger Shelley Sackier and Sweden-based cartoonist Robin Gott on Shelley’s blog, Peak Perspective.

Illustration by Robin Gott, "Give Me the Straight Dope," Peak Perspective

Illustration by Robin Gott, “Give Me the Straight Dope,” Peak Perspective

Shelley’s humor and strong voice and Robin’s whimsical doodles mix to create a great blogging recipe. Browse the posts on Peak Perspective to see their collaboration in action.

If you’d like to pair up with someone whose skills are complementary to yours, buddy up with likeminded people in Blogging U. courses. Connect with people in the Community Pool. Reach out to a favorite blogger through their blog’s contact form. There are many pathways to connect with others!

Create your own visual motif.

I’ve read Andrea Badgley’s blog, Butterfly Mind, for a long time now, and one thing I noticed early on — besides her well-crafted creative nonfiction and personal essays — were her Venn diagrams:

Coffee + writing = writer's bliss. Venn diagram by Andrea Badgley.

Coffee + writing = writer’s bliss. Venn diagram by Andrea Badgley.

Andrea doesn’t include diagrams in all of her posts — and I wouldn’t expect that as a reader — but when she does, it’s a familiar sight, and a nice visual reminder of where I am on the internet: Andrea’s online home.

Likewise, the signature doodles at Slightly Chilled Porcupine are another example of how to make a statement with unique — yet simple — illustrations.

How can you make your (visual) mark?

Crowdsource your story.

We’ve talked about ways to use polls and contact forms to gather ideas and shape your stories. Insert a poll in a post and ask for feedback for your next short story; or create a tab in your custom menu for a page with a contact form to invite essay ideas from readers. (You can see this in action in The Daily Post menu above — pages with contact forms under the “Postaday” tab to solicit ideas.)

You can interpret the crowdsourcing concept in other ways. Consider how writer and innovative Twitter user Teju Cole put his own spin on distributed storytelling: he “wrote” his short story, “Hafiz,” with the help of 31 people in 31 retweets.

Ultimately, we all tell stories. Get inspired by your readers, use the tools in your dashboard to compile ideas, or use social platforms to create something fun.

Use “found” social materials.

Speaking of social platforms, these other accounts you might have — Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest — are places rich with content. Your own content. I personally forget this, as it often feels like status updates and tweets are throwaway musings, quickly buried in constant streams of information.

But there are gems in our archives worth digging up. Over the summer, I sifted through my tweets from the past six years, compiled my favorites, and published a post on Twitter poetry. Several years ago, I scrolled my Facebook profile for bits I’d written to inform a post on status updates (and things I could have said).

Don’t overlook the short-form content you post on your social accounts: use these fragments and moments — these “found digital materials” — to create new stories.

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  1. i’m currently testing out a “choose your own” tale where reader votes decide the direction of the next post. if anyone’s interested in voting, part 2 is up. it’s flash fiction/suspense/with hints of magical realism.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey fab ideas for a new blogger sharing stories. A lot of my posts I link out to the places I visit, but I also want to know how to find new hidden gems. Crowd source is a great idea! Soon to come!!

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  3. Oh! Not to toot my own horn (and the horns of the bloggers I worked with)* but we did a collaborative choose-your-own-adventure recently, and it was the most fun! A bit of work behind the scenes, but well worth it. I’d recommend the idea to anyone.

    *Actually let’s do that tooting the horn bit – if that’s ok! Story starts here:
    http://journeysofthefabulist.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/the-invitation/

    Liked by 1 person