Free Materials

Ryan Gattis
Ryan Gattis

Introduction

In the sections below, you will find a treasure trove of Ryan Gattis’s university-level educational materials on creative writing that are free to download, read, pass on, & otherwise use however you wish—provided said use is non-commercial in nature.

Translation: be a good person; don’t pass the work off as your own, or attempt to make money from it. If you enjoy them, share them. If you decide to add onto them or remix them in your own lecture or classroom, just make sure you credit Ryan Gattis as an author. It’s as easy as that.

Here’s what it is available:

  1. The 5 Essentials of Immersive Storytelling (PDF): This is a longer, richly detailed version of the storytelling principles Ryan laid out in his TEDx Talk: Hooks, The Unexpected, Cause & Effect, HDIF?, and Concrete Specific Detail. Throughout, this lecture includes examples of the techniques. In the past, Ryan gave this lecture in Week 1 as an introduction to all of his Chapman University classes, and has also given it as a guest-lecture to Masters students at The Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver, Canada.
  2. Evaluating Story (PDF): This brief lecture expands on a few narrative cornerstones mentioned in the 5 Essentials: the temporal window, laws, voice, setting & atmosphere, and scene.
  3. The 5-Line Story (PDF): This brief lecture outlines a story development tool that can play like a game in a classroom. It also includes notes on how to use it as an ongoing writing exercise to aid development and awareness of the 5 Essentials.
  4. Writing For Video Games Course Content (PDF): This digital packet includes nearly all the course materials from the English 328 course at Chapman University: syllabus, course schedule, exercises, games: My Life and Subhuman, evaluation materials, and more.
  5. Subhuman Narrative Game (PDF): A narrative game that focuses on building group experience and adaptability with deep character & plot development over time—precisely what you might find in any writers’ room.

These materials, of course, are 100% free, but we do kindly request that you sign up for the Ryan Gattis Newsletter below in order to receive a link to them.

Why? Well, not only would we love to stay in touch with you, but it’s also the easiest way to gauge demand, which helps us decide if more free materials (& what type) should be offered in the future. Of course, the best way to notify you about something wonderful like that would be through the newsletter—so, you see, it just makes good sense.

With that said, please know we take your privacy very seriously. We will never share your email address with anyone, & you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

Note: on occasion, confirmation e-mails end up in the Spam folder of certain providers. Please make sure to check there if you’ve not heard from us.

In Ryan’s own words:

“After years teaching prose writing, I was asked to teach two different courses: Oral Storytelling for the Honors College, and Writing for Video Games for the English Department at Chapman University. As a result, I had to find a way to focus on, and hone, techniques that would work to grab (& keep) audiences—regardless of media format. It’s long (70+ slides), detailed, but it goes by fairly quickly, and it provides extensive examples of the 5 Essentials: Hooks, The Unexpected, Cause & Effect, HDIF?, and Concrete Specific Detail.

Lastly (and legally), this lecture PDF is free-to-use and remix (with attribution) however you choose, as it is licensed to you with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.”

These materials, of course, are 100% free, but we do kindly request that you sign up for the Ryan Gattis Newsletter below in order to receive a link to them.

Why? Well, not only would we love to stay in touch with you, but it’s also the easiest way to gauge demand, which helps us decide if more free materials (& what type) should be offered in the future. Of course, the best way to notify you about something wonderful like that would be through the newsletter—so, you see, it just makes good sense.

With that said, please know we take your privacy very seriously. We will never share your email address with anyone, & you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

Note: on occasion, confirmation e-mails end up in the Spam folder of certain providers. Please make sure to check there if you’ve not heard from us.

In Ryan’s own words:

“This brief lecture provides a few rules* and definitions in order to address some structural building blocks of story: what a temporal window is in a narrative and how to use it, how to set the laws of your story and reinforce them throughout, the importance of voice and conflict as story-drivers, setting & atmosphere in relation to The Unexpected (from the 5 Essentials), and a definition of scene as the organ of Cause & Effect.

Lastly (and legally), this lecture PDF is free-to-use and remix (with attribution) however you choose, as it is licensed to you with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.”

These materials, of course, are 100% free, but we do kindly request that you sign up for the Ryan Gattis Newsletter below in order to receive a link to them.

Why? Well, not only would we love to stay in touch with you, but it’s also the easiest way to gauge demand, which helps us decide if more free materials (& what type) should be offered in the future. Of course, the best way to notify you about something wonderful like that would be through the newsletter—so, you see, it just makes good sense.

With that said, please know we take your privacy very seriously. We will never share your email address with anyone, & you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

Note: on occasion, confirmation e-mails end up in the Spam folder of certain providers. Please make sure to check there if you’ve not heard from us.

In Ryan’s own words:

“The 5-Line Story emerged as a way putting the 5 Essentials of Immersive Storytelling into practice with a writing exercise that still managed to focus on character, plot, and conflict—before the story was even written. The idea, of course, is that this generates focused, higher quality ideas for stories faster, and gives students an energetic push in the right direction. To this day, I still use 5-Line Stories to generate short story ideas quickly.

Lastly (and legally), this exercise PDF is free-to-use and remix (with attribution) however you choose, as it is licensed to you with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.”

These materials, of course, are 100% free, but we do kindly request that you sign up for the Ryan Gattis Newsletter below in order to receive a link to them.

Why? Well, not only would we love to stay in touch with you, but it’s also the easiest way to gauge demand, which helps us decide if more free materials (& what type) should be offered in the future. Of course, the best way to notify you about something wonderful like that would be through the newsletter—so, you see, it just makes good sense.

With that said, please know we take your privacy very seriously. We will never share your email address with anyone, & you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

Note: on occasion, confirmation e-mails end up in the Spam folder of certain providers. Please make sure to check there if you’ve not heard from us.

In Ryan’s own words:

“In 2013, I created Writing for Video Games (ENG 328) at Chapman University after being approached by two students who wished to learn more about how best to utilize their prose skills within the medium.

Their interest was not only practical, but laudable. They wanted to build portfolios in order to apply for jobs within the video game industry. (Spoiler Alert: both went on to jobs at Activision/Blizzard upon graduation.)

It was when challenged with this idea of how narrative would function across various media that I originally created the lecture, The 5 Essentials of Immersive Storytelling.

I taught the course three times, and on each occasion, the demand was overwhelming; each section sported a wait list longer than the available roster. When I left, I passed my syllabus and all my course materials on to a fellow teacher, Morgan Read-Davidson, to carry on the torch. So, why not continue in that tradition and offer it to anyone interested on here as well?

Do keep one thing in mind, though: these materials are offered free to you and in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get state. They are not—I repeat—not up-to-date. I last taught this class in Fall, 2014. Since then, the world of game technology has moved on massively. So, please keep in mind that things will be outdated. Website links will be obsolete, or broken, or pointing at something else entirely. Neither my Chapman e-mail address, nor my office phone number listed in the course materials works. Now then, with all this said, if you still might get some use out of these course materials—whether in enhancing your own writing, or in teaching others—please do be my guest. Lastly (and legally), these course materials are free-to-use and remix (with attribution) however you choose, as they are licensed to you with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.”

These materials, of course, are 100% free, but we do kindly request that you sign up for the Ryan Gattis Newsletter below in order to receive a link to them.

Why? Well, not only would we love to stay in touch with you, but it’s also the easiest way to gauge demand, which helps us decide if more free materials (& what type) should be offered in the future. Of course, the best way to notify you about something wonderful like that would be through the newsletter—so, you see, it just makes good sense.

With that said, please know we take your privacy very seriously. We will never share your email address with anyone, & you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

Note: on occasion, confirmation e-mails end up in the Spam folder of certain providers. Please make sure to check there if you’ve not heard from us.

The Story So Far…

It’s the year 3010, and a group of artificially intelligent androids calling themselves The Advanced has taken over the earth’s surface and driven the humans and a small group of human-robot hybrids underground. At first, humans and hybrids lived separately, but over time, both races grew to appreciate each other’s unique skills and co-exist. Now small, nomadic villages dot the inner surface of the earth’s crust, each one picking up and moving whenever necessary.

When past efforts to exterminate the crust-dwellers proved unsuccessful, The Advanced settled on a permanent version of divide-and-conquer: offering opportunities to do jobs for them in exchange for food, clothing, wealth, a promise of protection which allows the village to settle in one place, and even a chance at seeing the surface. Those that refuse these commissions are the subject of job orders themselves: they are targeted and wiped out by other groups of humans and hybrids hoping to curry favor with their overlords. It is a vicious situation, one designed to strip your humanity from you, and all the time you must grapple with the question of what most makes you human.

In Ryan’s own words:

“I designed this narrative game for Writing for Video Games, a course geared toward finding students jobs in the video game industry. I developed it in 2012, and last taught it in 2014. Subhuman is meant to be played with a group of 3 or more, but 2 will do. Some of my students who played the game every week in a 16-week course went on to work for Activision/Blizzard, Jumpstart Games, SEGA, TellTale Games (RIP), Crystal Dynamics, and more.”

These materials, of course, are 100% free, but we do kindly request that you sign up for the Ryan Gattis Newsletter below in order to receive a link to them.

Why? Well, not only would we love to stay in touch with you, but it’s also the easiest way to gauge demand, which helps us decide if more free materials (& what type) should be offered in the future. Of course, the best way to notify you about something wonderful like that would be through the newsletter—so, you see, it just makes good sense.

With that said, please know we take your privacy very seriously. We will never share your email address with anyone, & you can unsubscribe at any time.


Note
: on occasion, confirmation e-mails end up in the Spam folder of certain providers. Please make sure to check there if you’ve not heard from us.