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Works In Progress: A publication of StorySwap and MAST edited by Alan Irvine.
[Originally a Semiannual periodical begun in 1995. Now available as an on-line journal: http://www.alanirvine.com/wip/misc/aboutwip.htm.]
The lead article caught my eye: "Why I Hate Lady Ragnell" by Alan Irvine. How can you resist a title like that? By the time I finished the article knew I was in for a treat. Here, in newsletter format, was a publication which offered the reader not only reviews and helpful hints, quotes concerning storytelling, and profiles of storytellers, but also articles long enough to get your teeth into, and pithy enough to evoke a response. I was hooked, and sent off my subscription before I even looked at the other issue I had been sent to review. Imagine my delight, then, when the second issue led with a rebuttal to Alan's article by Annie Hawkins and Marie Winger, and a
response from Alan. All right! This is the most life I have seen in any storytelling periodical for a long time. There is a real sense of dialogue, of freedom to test the limits, of involvement.
Each issue has a number of contributors, and it is made clear that unsolicited material is welcome. Robert Rodriguez is one of the frequent contributors, offering both reviews and short articles. His discussion of pourquoi stories is replete with examples from the world's folklore. Some of them are familiar, others enticingly uncommon. In another article which looks at journeys and travellers he again exhibits his extensive knowledge of folklore.
Those articles which deal with "how I do it good" go way beyond mere reporting of techniques and ideas to draw readers into the experience and encourage them not only to experiment, but to share ideas and results.
Dave Russell's The Story Trunk, and Kevin Cordi's Voices of Illusion are two examples, Russell's article deals with his use of a box full of items which can be used to prompt stories. Cordi's is about starting a troupe of storytellers in a high school.
The two issues I received were the second and third issues which have been produced. There are some problems with typos which I'm sure will be sorted out in time, and the typos were not so numerous nor intrusive as to take away from the overall product.
I am looking forward to supporting WIP as it matures. I hope it keeps its spark.
If you want to read the Lady Ragnall articles they are in the on-line version
Second Story Review, Vol 2, No 1 - Mar 1997