18 September 2010

Proportion in Narrative Design - by Altug Isigan

      Posted 09/15/10 09:21:00 am   The distribution of scenes among acts is an important issue in the structuring of stories. There needs to be a sense of proportion in order to keep the experience balanced for the reader/player. In this article I first have a look at how it is usually done in feature films. I present some bad examples to make it clear what disproportion takes away from the audience. Later on I have a look at how games use scene proportion and what can be done to improve game designs by making use of this concept.

 

Three Acts, Four Quarters

Structuring a story is not only a matter of creating plot and characters, or writing dialogue, but also a matter of proportion. Traditional writing asks us to keep a balance between the amount of time (or scenes) we alot to the beginning, middle and end of a story. Typically, the distribution would look like this:

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