I, Pencil: The Movie – The Interconnected World, and Writing

What Is “I, Pencil?”

Simply put, “I, Pencil” is a fantastic little movie, that shows just how interconnected the world is.

This short video looks at one item, writers, students, architects, doctors, and almost everyone I know, would be familiar with – the humble pencil. That’s right, that wooden thing with a pointy end that makes marks on paper, and a bouncy end that tries to erase those marks, and almost always fails.

This short video came to my attention earlier, while I was searching for something completely unrelated. But the title grabbed my attention, and the content was fascinating. I’ve used pencils for years, and never thought about what goes on behind the scenes.

Take a look at the video, and be prepared to reconsider the simple pencil:

So What Has This To Do With Writing?

#Writing&DrinkingWell, this video actually goes a long way to showing what kind of thought some writers put into creating believable worlds. It shows, in a very interesting way, just how even the smallest of things can have an impact that far outweighs the value of the item. And, how the actions of one thing can have repercussions far exceeding the initial actions.

When I start creating a story, I have to keep in mind all the events that are going on in the story, as well as how they affect the characters. Usually, I try to keep the events happening to those relevant to the story itself, and I’m beginning to wonder if that might be a mistake.

Here’s how my normal chain of thought might go like this:

  • Action A is performed by Character B
  • Action A affects Character C in a positive way
  • Action A affects Character D in a negative way
  • Character C is a friend of Character D, and gets upset by the negative affect of Action A, even though it was a positive outcome for them

Now, here’s where the video got me thinking. Characters B,C and D are all characters in my story. But what if Character E is negatively affected, is normally outside the story, but somehow related to any of those in the story. What repercussions would come out of such a relationship?

But Then I Realized Something…

#OrganizingCharacter E now has become relevant to the plot. So, instead of restricting the number of characters I am writing about, I have opened the door to a potentially endless number of characters. And that’s where the scope of a story comes into play.

Sooner, or later, a writer has to decide at what point they must stop adding new characters, and just how many the actions of one person should be seen to affect.

“The Lupine’s Call” was one good example of this in action. I knew that I wanted the events of this story to have a big impact on the overall story being told through the “Shadows Over Seattle” series. However, I also couldn’t allow certain characters to interfere with events, even though they were capable of doing so, because I wanted to hold back some secrets for other stories.

In terms of the story behind “I, Pencil”, I had to limit the scope of my story to the factory that made the pencil.

So, one short video got me thinking. My thinking led to this blog post. You read this blog post… And hopefully, you shared this blog post, and affected someone else in turn…

If you’re interested in learning more about “The Lupine’s Call”:



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