A Story

PK’s old schoolmates started school today. I’ve promised PK that we won’t “start” until September, but I’ve also been casually introducing some ideas to him. Today I showed him the pinboard where I’ve been collecting stuff that looks interesting and he clicked over to the Pixar Story Rules link (ah, the power of legos), which led to a long discussion about the importance of the rule not to use coincidence to solve problems, whether or not a super hero whose super power was extreme good luck would be interesting, and how irritating it is to him that Superman always has an out. He went and pulled out his Superman collection to find a couple of examples of what he considered especially egregious storytelling.

Later I “innocently” asked him a question about what it is about video games that’s interesting, given that you’re basically always just pushing buttons, which led him to explain that it’s a combination of an engaging narrative, graphics, and most importantly the fact that the thing that you’re doing creates a new result every time. “It’s kind of like writing, Mama; all you’re doing is just pushing the buttons on the keyboard, but you’re making something new, right? Or reading. You’re just turning pages and reading a story that’s often pretty formulaic, but if it’s a good story it’s either totally new or varies the formula in interesting ways. It’s not that you’re just enjoying turning pages, but turning pages is part of what it is you’re enjoying.”

So: literary analysis, use of supporting evidence, constructing complicated arguments, introduction to formalism. I have to figure out how to get him to write some of this stuff down, but basically, the language arts part of stuff, I’ve got covered.

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