I had an entry awhile ago about contrived situations writers will often use to create conflict in the story. I only listed four examples, and three were situations, and one was a character type (the drama llama). Inspired by a YouTube video, I got to thinking about other character types who exist only to create some kind of obstacle for the protagonist to overcome and hopefully don’t exist in real life. Unlike a trope, these characters exist solely to move the plot forward. Their motivations don’t make sense, their characterization is flat, and their appearance in the story is either lazy on the part of the writer or contrived, or sometimes both.
or, “Concerning Top Gear/The Grand Tour”
I’ve written before about how I would like to share my joy of certain media to other people even though I realize in general such media is not their taste. I wish to share my otaku, as it were, and even if I can’t get people to share it, I hope to at least get them to understand why I enjoy my otaku so much. And then I thought about whether or not this is feasible. People like what they like, right? So I decided to figure out if I could come up with an example in my own life in which someone else successfully got me to understand their otaku even if I didn’t adopt it. And when the show The Grand Tour debuted, I realized I had my example.
or, “Thoughts on informed attributes and the closely related assumed attributes.”
“Informed attributes” is an example of telling instead of showing. Basically, a character/narrator in a story informs the audience about the attributes of another character. Sometimes this is a necessary evil to avoid paragraphs worth of exposition/description. Sometimes an informed attribute can even be useful. But when a writer does nothing but tell the audience about their characters instead of showing who those characters are through actions, that’s lazy.
Okay, first I think I’m going to have to switch my posting day from Wednesday to Thursday for completely selfish reasons that have to do with my newly scheduled demon-slaying. I’ll still aim for Saturday/Sunday though, with Sunday being more likely. Saturday nights I generally stay up too late pretending I’m a superhero.
Right, to the matter at hand…
A long time ago, I wrote a general description of my criteria for a good story, but framed it in a negative light (that is, stories that don’t meet these criteria are failures). Of course, it is much more fun (and generally entertaining) to criticize the heck out of some piece of media. But I feel I should elaborate further on what makes for a really good story. The main elements are the same in any story, but how those elements are handled is the difference between success and failure.
Oh, no, I’m not done with this thing yet. After 2.5 freakin’ hours of this mess, there’s a lot to untangle. So my third criterion in analyzing a storytelling failure is the setting. I will admit in some movies the setting is largely irrelevant. Clueless was an adaptation of Emma set in 1990’s Los Angeles and that was just fine. However, the comic book mythos the filmmakers were trying (and failing) to capture, the setting is very important.
I’ve obviously been thinking a lot about movie remakes lately. When pondering why movie studios keep doing this, when a remake might not ever be the worst thing in the world, it suddenly struck me how weird and singular movie remakes are in the art/entertainment world (of course, it could be I’ve led a sheltered life). So I got to thinking, what other form of media exploits the past to the point of replicating it?