CONTACT KNOWHOW Storytelling Inspiration

Contact KnowHow continues as KnowHow editor, Eleanor Pender takes a closer look at perspectives in storytelling and other art forms to look to for inspiration.

There are many ways to tell a story. From narrative perspective to setting, changing a single detail can have a ripple effect throughout the novel. Contact KnowHow started out a series looking at venues and spaces around the country that could help writers find places and locations to aid their writing and getting into the mind of your reader. Here, we look at ways to shift your perspective from another angle and artform.

I was introduced to gaming only a few years ago, and I find the storytelling fascinating. It’s not about the overall narrative or even a mystery that needs to be discovered. It can encompass a whole number of things. Take the principle as a starting point. You start with a character and that character has a goal, a task to accomplish and they need to interact with other characters and go on a journey to complete that task. How different is this from your own story?

I’m talking about games with storytelling woven into their very fabric. Think more Narnia than Animal Crossing. Let me give you some examples.

Life is Strange
17+ rating; deals with themes of violence and use of drugs.

Released in 2015, Life is Strange is an episodic adventure game which follows the story of high school senior, Max Caulfield when she discovers she can rewind time. Her misadventures lead her to uncover a dark side to life in her sleepy town of Arcadia Bay. The player can rewind time as Max and affect the past, present and future, choosing where the story leads. What I loved about this game was the way it tackled strong themes while exploring Max’s journey into who she was. A coming-of-age story with a difference, so to speak. I recommend watching the trailer to get a feel for the game, which went onto win numerous awards and led to two more Life is Strange games. 

What Remains of Edith Finch
16+ rating; deals with themes of violence, alcohol and grief.

What Remains of Edith Finch was one of the first games I ever played. Made by Giant Sparrow, this game is a masterclass in storytelling and characterisation. You play the game as Edith, the last remaining member of the cursed Finch family, who have all died in strange circumstances, some of them at a young age. She is returning to the family home to find out what happened to them all. The game centres on the Finch family home as you explore each room left by each family member and learn their story. The magic is in how their stories are told, there is a touch of magical realism, and certainly, influence from weird fiction. They are also relatable. As you learn what happened to each family member, one story may feel painfully familiar. I read somewhere that if Wes Anderson made a game, it would be like this, though possibly with more pastel shades. I think that sums it up nicely.

Both of these games are for the older side of young audiences, but it is their storytelling techniques that I hope you find the most fascinating. Their perspectives offer insight into character-driven stories, the worlds they create for themselves and the worlds they live in.

Main Photo by Mike Erskine


Based in Bristol, Eleanor lectures in digital communications and chairs YA and middle-grade events at festivals including Bath Children's Literature Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, and YALC. She is currently working on a young adult fantasy novel. Find her on Twitter @eleanor_pender.


Do you have any suggestions for KnowHow? If there's something you'd like to know how to do or know more about, tell us. Email KnowHow editor, Eleanor at

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