Rhea Myers

Computational Narratology

When I was at Kingston Polytechnic in 1991/92, I stumbled across Propp’s “Morphology Of The Folktale” in the library whilst looking for books on shapeshifter mythology, which started my interest in narrative representation systems and generative narrative. By 1995/96 I’d come up with a proposal for a complete system for distributed representation of narrative and the rendering of scene descriptions in 3D. The stories were even skinnable so you could be in a 1920s detective story and the other readers/players could be in a mediaeval fantasy. But I’ve never done anything with it, and whilst I keep scouring the net I don’t think anyone else has done anything similar. I pitched the layout manager idea from the rendering system to one company but I just got blank looks. Which part of “allow your users to create their own environments with just a few commands, a few stock items and a few stock textures” didn’t they get?

Enter Computational Narratology:


a project to “theory and tools for new generation interactive media, to enable plots, metaphors, images, and so on to be generated on the fly, in response to user input”.

It’s vital that we move away from the monolithic games, stories and narrative media (TV & Movies) and towards a Free cultural repository of elements and arcs, and the systems to assemble them. Away from blockbuster economics and aesthetics to a genuinely popular/mass production of narrative.

This looks like a good step in that direction.