What is “Narrative 1?”
The Narrative 1 unit answered:
“How well can you visually tell a structured story?”
In this unit, we used descriptive storytelling to understand the importance of visuals in a film, book, or animation. Through this, we learned how to create simple yet interesting stories through a character and an object without the use of dialogue.
I found this unit particularly challenging because it forced me to create a short story where I would be using the ideas we had learned from the conceptual unit to escalate the events rather than using dialogue or just telling the story. It was difficult to make the metaphors and to add meaning to the objects that I chose to include, but it was also fun to work on and see what my imagination is able to create.
In our first narrative unit, we were challenged with the task to write a flash fiction. The catch, however, was to tell the story without using dialogue. A pure visual narrative. I am somewhat proud of my story. I know that I definitely could have incorporated more visuals and a better resolution and plot line, but the no dialogue rule really stumped me. It was my first time writing a flash fiction, so I overall really enjoyed it. Here is my story:
The muffled ratatatat of the machine guns surround her in the pitch black darkness. Her crying is barely audible through the sounds of the battle above her. The rumbling of a plane is heard with the whistle of gravity as an explosion blows and the room shakes like a house after thunder. Dirt falls from the ceiling, a whimper is heard, and more tears hit the ground. Then… silence. Seconds. Minutes. Hours. Days pass. Finally out of tears, she shakily stands. She stumbles to the door with one hand holding a ragged rabbit and the other clutched around the rosary which hangs around her neck. She steps out from where their winter coats used to hang. The house where she once lived, now nothing but broken glass and rubble, like ancient ruins. Taking in the sight she sees, her knees collapse letting her rabbit fall to the ground. Her pallid skin turns grey and her tangled, long, black hair makes her blend into the gloomy skies above the desolate neighborhood that once teemed with people. She clutches the rosary tighter, her nails digging into the palm of her hand. She does not know the true meaning of the necklace. To her it is just a small dark brown rope with a bunch of knots and a cross attached at the end. Despite this, she clutches onto it like her lifeline. The tears manage to come back again and the few memories she carries replay in her mind. Ji. That is the name she was given 5 years ago. Her parents must have been preparing her for this moment where she stands alone in the middle of what was once a house full of cherishable memories now nothing but glass and stone.
The rattling of a soldier’s equipment could be heard as well as the roaring of planes approaching. Shocked and afraid, Ji wipes her tears and runs away, leaving behind her rabbit in the ruins. The planes soar past her as she runs into the woods. She continues running, with one hand still clutching the rosary to protect her. Her little legs carry her as fast as she can in her flustered state until her foot catches a branch. Her breath escapes her and her protection breaks. She lays flat, letting the pain sink in. Her harsh breaths rough like rapids trying to regain her senses. She looks at her hand holding the snapped necklace given to her by her mother. Discouraged, she stays sitting, staring at the broken string.
Ji sits dormant, unsure of what to do and where to go. Waiting for someone to tell her the next step. She allows the broken necklace to fall from her hand and become part of the earth. Ji stands, numb and emotionless. The pain from the fall still stings but does not compare to that of the pain from her broken necklace. She begins walking straight like a robot with no commands, but to go forward. The trees surrounding her look like nothing more but branches that have been stripped from life. There are no birds, no squirrels, no swarming bugs. Just despair.
Ji’s heavy footsteps among the dirt are now the only sound. She continues walking, hugging herself to protect her from the cold as the night approaches. As she looks at the ground, she spots something that stands out from the barren woods: a yellow dandelion, by its lonesome. A small smile appears on her emotionless face as she bends down and picks it up. She holds it to her heart to warm her up and continues walking. The sound of her footsteps slowly become accompanied by the whistling of birds and the rustling of the trees as squirrels chase each other, causing the leaves to fall. Then, looking forward, she sees a clearing. Intrigued, she runs to the middle and looks around. She stands in a small field of grass surrounded by the trees. The sun has begun to set making the sky above appear like a giant rainbow. A rustling breaks her from the trance she was put in. She looks forward and sees a boy around her age. His dark hair messy, his clothes dirtied and tears streak his face. He holds a stuffed bear with his name, Jia, embroidered on its stomach.
They stare at each other while the birds chirp around them and the wind blows the grass. For once, tears of joy begin collecting in their eyes. A small smile appears on both of their faces. Finally, they are not alone.
For design, we were told to take our flash fiction character and think about the character traits. We were then told to brainstorm animals which represented those traits and then combine those animals to create a creature that would represent our character. We had to incorporate linear perspective into our backgrounds which were supposed to match the theme/ mood of the story. I quite like what I was able to create with my illustration. Although my background does not show much linear perspective, I believe that I did well in creating a mood which matches my narratives and portraying my protagonist as animals.
This project gave me practice in Illustrator, a program which I very much enjoy now and I feel like it really helped me to develop my artistic vision and attention to details and the unique characteristics behind everything.
Here is my animated flash fiction. Some things I know I could improve on would be to make it flow more and the proportions of the character. The plot line is also a bit dry as there is no real resolution because I had to cut it out for the sake of time. I am proud of the backgrounds and the little action that was occurring. I tried to portray the emotions of the character using colors and action, and hope that I was able to help visualize my flash fiction as it is lacking much description.