This last weekend we held our second pilot test of Cellular Stories; the first test we practiced creating plot points from conversation transcripts, this test we did that and practiced creating characters – since, you know, a story without any characters isn’t much of a story. We learned a lot from this secondary pilot test, especially the need for communication – but more on that in a sec. Read More about how we started Cell Stories and how we went from planning to practicing.
This is how the day went down: first we used speech-to-text software to automate the conversation transcripts (these are used to create plot points and characters). These newly written transcripts were used by two people: Riley (the Ribosome) to make our characters, and CHT (the Microfilaments) to make our plot points. Stinson, playing the role of the Microtubules, organized the plot points into a cohesive story structure. Winston, playing the role of the Endoplasmic Reticulum, took parts of the story skeleton and the character sheets to organize them into a ‘rough draft’ version of the story.
A few problems, however arose with the plot points. Some of the plot points were a little strange, some had a tough time fitting into the rest of the story, but they highlighted an important need for the project’s development: intra-cellular communication is an extremely important item when it comes to the behavior of a cell, and that was what our process was lacking. These portions of the cell – which typically are unable to communicate – must have some indirect form of communicating. While we have a definite method of sharing information (such as plot points and characters), we lacked the necessary elements and thus ability to communicate general themes and continuity of the story between various elements of our ‘cell’.
Just as we added four editing roles, we needed a new set of roles: communicators. Who else would relay the purpose of sharing the needs of the story between the various organelles? While most players would create plot points or character sheets, or pass their data to the mitochondrial elements (Lysosomes and Mitochondrial Ribosomes), the communicator would help the story’s flow.
There are several communicators, including the Nucleus, that communicates with the Transcribers and the Mitochondria, which in turn communicates with the Lysosome along with its own Mitochondrial Ribosome and RNA. Other communicators include the Cell Membrane as well as the Peroxisome. The Nucleus is able to communicate with the Centrosome who controls the Microfilaments and Microtubules as they generate and organize plot points.
This is the (current) architecture of Cell Stories:
- DNA: from conversations.
- Mitochondrial DNA: from louder, more boisterous conversations
- Nutrients: from music lyrics and food/drink descriptions
- RNA Transcriptase: follows general conversations, transcribing them for use by Microfilaments and Ribosomes.
- Mitochondrial RNA Transcriptase: follows conversations as they become more boisterous. Focused on writing prose and filling in between Plot Points (written by Microfilaments) and Character Details (written by Ribosomes).
- Pseudopods: transcribes song lyrics and food for use by Lysosome. We may expand this to include discussions around places with food as well.
- Story Element Writers
- Ribosome: writes character sheets for each character. A character sheet includes the character’s motivations, history, current situation, and potential dialogue.
- Mitochondrial Ribosome: begins transforming the Mitochondrial RNA Transcript into transitions that can be used to fill-out the space between plot points. These transition elements are tied to specific plot points and sent along to the Mitochondria for further processing.
- Microfilaments: goes through and creates a segment of plot points totaling 42 words. Segment can contain multiple plot points and names/pronouns become [N], plural [Ns]. These can then have characters inserted as fitting.
- Lysosome: Destructively cuts and pastes the transcript provided by Pseudopod to create small phrases that can be used by Mitochondria.
- Story Element Organizers
- Mitochondria: fill in gaps from transitions written by Mitochondrial Ribosome with content crafted by Lysosome. Creates mostly-baked content for insertion into story.
- Microtubules: organizes the plot points (written by the Microfilaments) into a complete Story Skeleton, creating the basic outline for our entire story.
- Story Editors
- Peroxisome: deletes content that is unnecessary. Can work on scripts from, Endoplasmic Reticulum, Golgi, Cell Membrane, and others.
- Endoplasmic Reticulum: starts writing Rough Narrative by combining the Story Skeleton and Character Sheets, adding dialogue and character details into the outline.
- Golgi Apparatus: takes in the Rough Narrative and begins inserting transitions (from Mitochondria) to create a Rough Draft of the story.
- Cell Membrane: has access to most items made (i.e. Plot Points, Character Sheet, Rough Draft). Acts as editor-in-chief and focuses on tying the entire story together, using pre-made elements (e.g. Character’s dialogue, potential transitions that Mitochondria didn’t pass on) that have not yet been used in the story.
- Nucleus: has a chat window open for and able to speak to the centrosome as well as the cell membrane individually. The nucleus can also speak to the peroxisomal and mitochondria. The nucleus will be talking with RNA Transcriptase (Transcribers), to control what types of conversations and information is being transcribed for use by other organelles.
- Centrosome: can chat only with Nucleus and able to speak with Microfilaments and Microtubules to ensure that plot points fit with the overall story and meet the needs of other organelles throughout the cell.
- Peroxisome: in a group chat with Nucleus, Mitochondria, and Cell Membrane.
- Cell Membrane: in group chat with Nucleus, Peroxisome, and Mitochondria.
- Mitochondria: in a group chat with Nucleus, Mitochondria, and Cell Membrane.
- Endoplasmic Reticulum: only able to chat with Nucleus, but allows Nucleus to guide initial story development.
With this improved setup, we hope to both simplify and streamline the process. There is still work to be done, of course, but progress is being made. While we’ve been able to identify characters, plot points, and subplot points, putting them together – which requires communication – remains a challenge.