Writing 101 - The Good and the Bad

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Aunecah_Skywalker, Feb 18, 2004.

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  1. Aunecah_Skywalker Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2002
    star 5
    This thread is not about PT bashing. I don't want to see any posts about users - I don't want to know anything about George Lucas. As far as this thread is concerned, George Lucas doesn't even exist.

    Anyway, during recent weeks, I realized that SW can teach us a lot about writing, filmmaking, and storytelling in general. It tells us both the good parts and the bad parts. I'm interested in seeing what you think are the strengths of SW and what are the weaknesses - especially as concerning plot, characters, pacing, tension - aka, writing and storytelling.

    Please say something more than "Jar Jar Binks is bad" or "Jar Jar Binks is good." I'm more interested I knowing why you think that Jar Jar Binks is good or bad. :) You obviously can talk about the whole SW saga, or else I wouldn't have posted this here. 8-}

    I'll hold off giving any personal opinions until tomorrow, when I'll be more awake and can string words together more coherently.

    -Aunecah
  2. soitscometothis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2003
    star 5
    Show, don't tell.

    Classic screen-writing advice I think ( I'm not a writer), but kind of lacking in the PT. Rather than showing how characters feel by their actions, GL tends to have them just state the matter, eg. "Obi-Wan is like a father to me" says Anakin. He needs to say it, because we don't see it. A more subtle film-maker would handle this better IMO.



  3. Little_Younglin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2002
    star 1
    soitscometothis

    Show, don't tell.

    Roger Ebert on 'All about Eve'

    When Eve understudies for Margo and gets great reviews, Mankiewicz wisely never shows us her performance; better to imagine it, and focus on the girl whose look is a little too intense, whose eyes a little too focused, whose modesty is somehow suspect.

    "Obi-Wan is like a father to me" says Anakin. He needs to say it, because we don't see it.

    Maybe he says how he thinks he feels, and we are shown how he really feels...

    EDIT: Markup codes.

  4. Scott3eyez Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 2001
    star 4
    >>>>Maybe he says how he thinks he feels, and we are shown how he really feels...

    Interesting point. I think there's a few examples in the prequels of Lucas not showing but telling, where it's done that way for a reason. Bear in mind that Lucas has always called himself a visual filmmaker, and said that the story isn't in the dialogue but in the images.

    For example, we are "told" about the deaths on Naboo, but not shown them- some have said this was a bad move, as we don't relate to the suffering of the Naboo people. However, on inspection, it turns out that the "deaths" were simply a ruse to try to get the Queen to return to the planet. We are "told" about the deaths, but only by a hologram message which we're immediately told (by Obi Wan) is a trap.

    The Tusken slaughter is another that springs to mind- this time, I think we're not shown it for a couple of reasons; firstly, because if something like this is left to the imagination, it actually seems worse (especially in a PG film!) Secondly, because this is Anakin acting in the heat of the moment- this isn't Anakin but the dark side coming through, and somethinng which Anakin later regrets. At this stage of the story, this isn't something the audience is supposed to be connecting with Anakin, and cutting away creates a distance, both between the audience and Anakin (because we don't see it happen), and between Anakin and his actions (because we're told about it in his confession, where he is full of pain and remorse.)

    I'm certain that in Episode III we'll see Anakin in a similar scene (ie. angry killing spree), except this time it will be something deliberate, premeditated, and that he feels no remorse for, and this time it will be something that the audience is shown.
  5. zacparis VIP

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2003
    star 7
    I noticed that the word "nevertheless" appears at the end of both TPM and AOTC. I've always hated that word and it always reminds me of a highschool paper when I hear that word in SW.

    It's as if Lucas has pulled out a "Words to use in a conclusion" list. :p
  6. First_Stage_Lensman Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2003
    star 2
    I am a writer and I think that the structure of the PT - and ESB before IK & the cast got into it - is riddled with major problems - not only from a Writing 101 POV but from an objective standard.

    However, this is what makes SW unique. It is the personal expression of an individual, one of great talent in other areas of the cinematic medium.

    With PT especially GL chose to take an 'historical' POV, less focused on individuals than the OT. I like this aspect of the PT even though it hinders personal involvement on the part of the audience. He also chose to film the story largely in wide, group shots and tablaux, allowing the viewer to select which story arc interests them most. This is very daring, and while I love it, has failed completely with audiences, who feel alienated by the objectivity of the camera.

    Writing 101 is just that - square one, the basics. Once you have found your footing in your chosen medium (theater, tv, novels, cinema...) you can and should experiment. Writers who remain in writing 'homeroom', always playing it safe, have short careers. You see this all the time in Hollywood - the 'hot' writer whose hit script hits all the right beats & wins all the big awards, he then gets all the big assignments - and disappears once audiences get tired of his 'formula'. Writers who are always trying something new find a way to reinvent themselves and get their (everchanging) voices heard.

    Once the PT has wrapped up people will be able to look back and say, 'It might not have worked but GL took alot of chances and tried to keep it interesting'. That's a better reward than a certificate of soundness from Writing 101.
  7. Aunecah_Skywalker Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2002
    star 5
    Storytelling rules are like grammar rules: they are there for a reason. They aren't commandments that must be followed, but if you're going to break them, you need to have a good reason for doing it. For example, in one of the stories that I'm writing currently, I have a character who's slowly turning insane. That book is full of run-on sentences - the character starts thinking about subject X, gets to the middle (pivot point), and goes off on a totally unrelated subject Y. The most clause X and clause Y share is one or two words. The further you get into the book, the more run-on sentences you'll see and the longer the run-on sentences get.

    Run-on sentences are definite no-nos in classrooms, but they're very effective means of showing the character's slow descent into madness. The psychological illness the character is suffering from underlines the main plot, which is about how she loses her focus and makes her life a jumble of unconnected events that simply have no value for her.

    On the other hand, run-on sentences are also very tricky and you need to be very careful when you're using them, because you don't want to confuse the reader into putting the book down. My run-on sentences are fairly direct in the beginning half of the book and they're longer and jumbled in the second half but still easy enough to understand. You in effect have phrases or clauses that aren't connected to each other strung together in a sentence without punctuation.

    I agonized over four months about whether or not to use this style. In the end, I decided that my plot was strong enough and my characters interesting enough for people to read my book despite the perhaps-confusing style.

    Now let's look at PT. One of the basic rules is "show, don't tell." Doesn't mean that you must always show, because some things are best left to be told - transitions most of the time, but sometimes dramatic scenes as well - rather than showed. However, like for any rule, you need to have a good reason to break it. Even if you do have a good reason to break it, you have to be extremely careful so as to not make the story turn into a sloppy mess.

    In PT we have a lot of telling and not enough showing. For example, the Jedi are very worried about the Sith threat; the Council's responses when Qui-Gon proclaims his suspicions is enough to see that. But where is the worry in AOTC? Ten years passed since TPM to AOTC. What did the Jedi do in that time? What did they do to get to the bottom of the Sith mystery? When Mace speaks about the Sith, he's so emotionally cold that you'd think they were talking about the weather. What's the reason for this?

    What did GL achieve by telling us that Sith are bad, bad people and a grave threat to the Jedi and the Republic instead of showing it? It would have taken thirty extra seconds in AOTC to show a funeral scene in which a Jedi died trying to find the Sith. Little hints here and there make a lot of difference.

    Let's also look at the "Obi-Wan's like a father to me" talk that was brought up. Anakin and Obi-Wan's relationship in AOTC is anything but father-son relationship. Most of the movie, Obi-Wan and Anakin weren't even together, and when they are together, they're usually throwing diatribes at each other. The only scenes where we see some modicum of friendship is 1) the elevator scene where Obi-Wan senses that Anakin is anxious and springs an ill-humored joke that does end up doing what it's supposed to, 2) when Obi-Wan tells Anakin that Amidala was pleased to see them, and 3) on Geonosis, when Obi-Wan and Anakin share some more humor. But all we ever see is Obi-Wan giving, giving, and giving. That might show why Obi-Wan thinks Anakin as a son, but it doesn't address the point of why Anakin thinks Obi-Wan is like a father to him. Most of the time, Obi-Wan and Anakin are fighting any way. This practically gives no weight to Anakin's comments OR Obi-Wan's comments in ANH ("[Anakin] was a good friend"). More telling and no showing.

    Let's look at another "tell, no show" example: Anakin and his Forc
  8. Little_Younglin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2002
    star 1
    Aunecah_Skywalker

    >> ...but it doesn't address the point of why Anakin thinks Obi-Wan is like a father to him.

    How does a child of a single mother know what a father is? How does an single child know what a brother is?

    In TPM we see that Anakin is transferred from his mother to Qui-Gonn, who could be seen as a father figure by young Anakin. But Qui-Gonn will be dead soon, and his deathbed wish is to get ObiWan to take his place as a teacher to Anakin. So Anakin's mind would transfer his father figure from Qui-Gonn to ObiWan. That's why Anakin thinks of Obi Wan as a father. (Wow, psychology 101 and writing 101 all at once! :eek: :p ) But in AotC we don't see a father-son relationship between Obi Wan and Anakin. I have read somewhere that Lucas said their relationship is more that of two partners who spend too much time working together (I'm sorry, I don't have the link at hand...). Some describe their relationship as an old brother - young brother, where the old brother had to take the place of the parents.

    >> This practically gives no weight to Anakin's comments OR Obi-Wan's comments in ANH ("[Anakin] was a good friend"). More telling and no showing.

    I think I covered the issue of Anakin comments in my previous paragraph. On the Obiwan's comments in ANH, I just think that they don't contradict what we see in AotC.

    >> Why is he the most powerful Jedi, or even a powerful Jedi?

    Where in the movie are we told that Anakin is a powerful Jedi? I only can remember Palpatine telling something like that to Anakin, and I think we can agree that Palpatine has a hidden agenda when he is telling that.

    >> The only thing that we were shown is that Anakin is very lucky...

    [ObiWan]Ther is no such thing as luck.[/ObiWan] :p

    >> In the end, showing is better than telling.

    I think that in the PT, we are told what Lucas thinks we need to be told, and we are shown what Lucas thinks we need to be shown. Sometimes we are told something and we are shown something else. There are two ways out of this contradiction:

    i. Plot hole, bad storytelling.
    ii. The character who is telling us either is lying or is mistaken.

    I think we can take option 2 in all the cases of the PT. :)
  9. Aunecah_Skywalker Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2002
    star 5
    In TPM we see that Anakin is transferred from his mother to Qui-Gonn, who could be seen as a father figure by young Anakin. But Qui-Gonn will be dead soon, and his deathbed wish is to get ObiWan to take his place as a teacher to Anakin. So Anakin's mind would transfer his father figure from Qui-Gonn to ObiWan. That's why Anakin thinks of Obi Wan as a father. (Wow, psychology 101 and writing 101 all at once!) But in AotC we don't see a father-son relationship between Obi Wan and Anakin. I have read somewhere that Lucas said their relationship is more that of two partners who spend too much time working together (I'm sorry, I don't have the link at hand...). Some describe their relationship as an old brother - young brother, where the old brother had to take the place of the parents.

    Heh, that?s where the problem comes in. Changing father figures is not as easy as that. (And you can?t talk about writing and not bring in psychology. ;)) There is a reason Qui-Gon became a fatherhead to Anakin: Qui-Gon frees him, takes him to Coruscant, openly defies everyone including Obi-Wan to train him, acts and talks like he really cares about Anakin. Obi-Wan on the other hand maybe exchanged two dialogues with Anakin in TPM in total. Obi-Wan in fact didn?t like Anakin at all, and considering that Qui-Gon openly forsaked him for the sake of the kid, I wouldn?t put it past him to immense dislike him, either. (But then he?s a Jedi, so maybe he?s different.) And Anakin heard him (on Coruscant) talking about not dissing the Council again, about how dangerous Anakin is, etc. The only reason that Obi-Wan is even training Anakin is because that was Qui-Gon?s dying wish. By the end of TPM, there is absolutely no relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin other than the one forced upon them by Qui-Gon. While I know that both Obi-Wan and Anakin are capable of putting their differences beside them and becoming friends, the process would have been slow and gradual. You simply don?t develop friendly/fatherly/brotherly feelings toward someone because you are forced to be in that position.

    I?m not saying that it?s necessary for GL to show us the developing relationship. He could have pulled it off if he had spent more time actualizing Obi-Wan and Anakin?s relationship in AOTC. Their relationship is a fary cry from what we were expected to believe from OT (Ben says in ANH that Anakin was a good friend, and he even looks sad that he lost Anakin ? ???). Like I said, all we have is pointless bickering 99% of the time, and Obi-Wan trying to make Anakin feel better the rest of the time. Anakin sure has pent up feelings in his mind about Obi-Wan. He thinks that Obi-Wan?s a great Jedi, but he disses him in front of Padmé. Well, that doesn?t make it look like they?re sharing a very healthy relationship, either.

    Where in the movie are we told that Anakin is a powerful Jedi? I only can remember Palpatine telling something like that to Anakin, and I think we can agree that Palpatine has a hidden agenda when he is telling that.

    I was pretty sure there was something along those lines somewhere (and I think I said this in my post :confused:), but I?ll try to look it up for you.

    I think that in the PT, we are told what Lucas thinks we need to be told, and we are shown what Lucas thinks we need to be shown. Sometimes we are told something and we are shown something else. There are two ways out of this contradiction:

    i. Plot hole, bad storytelling.
    ii. The character who is telling us either is lying or is mistaken.

    I think we can take option 2 in all the cases of the PT.


    We can, but I?m just responding to the comments in front of me. Just wanted to clear up the whole ?cardinal rules and breaking them? issue. :)

    -Aunecah
  10. First_Stage_Lensman Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2003
    star 2
    Aunecah -

    There are no Rules.

    I think you've read too many books and taken too many classes and workshops on this subject. This is classic Teacher-talk: 'Let's open up a dialogue so I can propound my theories!' This negates the whole reason for opening a dialogue!

    Instead of agonizing for months over a stylistic issue you should have written two drafts of the story in two different styles. If you weren't happy with either, start again. Don't waste time on "rules" or wondering what the audience will make of it. The audience will take what they want from it, regardless of what you think they need or don't need.

    In the end it's better to suggest than to define. That's my only 'rule of thumb'.

    Also, the 'rules' of grammar of very complex and are not constant, there are many gray areas. That's another realm where personal expression overrides the 'rules' in creative writing. William Blake, the Beats & James Joyce are great examples of that.
  11. Aunecah_Skywalker Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2002
    star 5
    Instead of agonizing for months over a stylistic issue you should have written two drafts of the story in two different styles. If you weren't happy with either, start again. Don't waste time on "rules" or wondering what the audience will make of it. The audience will take what they want from it, regardless of what you think they need or don't need.

    Let's see now. The reason I agonized over the stylistic issue for months is NOT because I was breaking a rule but rather because I didn't want to confuse my readers into putting my book down. I think many people forget the purpose behind the rules - guidelines, if you would rather call them - in the first place. They haven't been pulled out of the blue. They are in place because they are known to work.

    forexampleconsideriwritemyentirechapteronelikethistoshowsomepointoranothermaybemypointisimportantmaybeitsnotbutthepointthatillhavetolookintowhenimwritinglikethisiswhetherthetreaderswillbotherdecipheringthisstufftoactuallyreadtherestofthestory.

    Like I already said, there are rules. You can follow them, you can break them, it's completely up to you. But when breaking them, you at least have to ask yourself why you're breaking them, if there's a good reason for breaking them.

    Instead of agonizing for months over a stylistic issue you should have written two drafts of the story in two different styles. If you weren't happy with either, start again. Don't waste time on "rules" or wondering what the audience will make of it. The audience will take what they want from it, regardless of what you think they need or don't need.

    I don't seem to have gotten my point across, so let's try again. I didn't waste time on "rules," I spent all that many months debating whether the readers were strong enough to take bad grammar from the POV character for the sake of the story.

    Also, the 'rules' of grammar of very complex and are not constant, there are many gray areas. That's another realm where personal expression overrides the 'rules' in creative writing. William Blake, the Beats & James Joyce are great examples of that.

    I'm confused. I feel like you're insinuating I said rules shouldn't be broken. I never said that. All I'm saying is to stick by the line unless you know what you're doing. It's the same with vocabulary, too. Don't use "floccinaucinihilipilification" when you can use "estimating something as worthless" unless you think the f-word will somehow help your character or your story.

    Just throwing big words into a book/movie is not good. In a similar manner, writing entire books and movies in run-on sentences is something you should NOT be doing without a purpose.

    -Aunecah
  12. Little_Younglin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2002
    star 1
    Aunecah

    >> Heh, that?s where the problem comes in. Changing father figures is not as easy as that.

    The way I see it is: Anakin thinks of ObiWan as a father, but he doesn't feel it. So he tells Padme "It's like a father to me!", because he believes it, but he is wrong. ObiWan is really like an old brother to Anakin, but when Anakin tries to express it, he believes his feelings are what he should have feel for a father he never had.

    >> Their relationship is a fary cry from what we were expected to believe from OT (Ben says in ANH that Anakin was a good friend, and he even looks sad that he lost Anakin ? ???).

    I agree, but the question is not if what we see agrees with what we were expected to believe from OT. The question is: Does what we see agree with what we are told in ANH? I think so.
  13. anidanami124 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2002
    star 6
    Why is he the most powerful Jedi, or even a powerful Jedi?

    I would just like to know where in AOTC or even TPM the Jedi say he the must powerful Jedi. Here's a good rule to go by. When you take a writing class take the book and toss it out the window. The only book you should have is the papers you write. That is your writing book. That is your english book.

  14. First_Stage_Lensman Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2003
    star 2
    Aunecah -

    What I'm saying is > There Are No Rules. If you choose to set up hurdles for yourself, well then that's your business. I choose not to see any barriers to my creativity. If I create something that doesn't work - oh well, on to the next.

    I agree with Ani.
  15. That_Wascally_Droid Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2001
    star 6
    I don't think I've heard anyone who's seen my best friend and I together have ever said that Anakin and Obi-Wan aren't friends ;) They act just like us sometimes it's scary.

    But onto more relatable things. I think a lot of the time Lucas does show us ideas, but they're not blatantly there.
    We see Anakin cares about Obi-Wan.
    He confides to Obi-Wan a bit about his feelings for Padme and his dreams.
    He discusses his feelings for his other friends with him. (Not a huge hint, but I doubt Anakin would heartily chat with Ki-Adi Mundi about Palpatine)
    He rushes out to save him him during Coruscant.
    He defies the council to rush off to Geonosis to save him again.
    They wind up on the same gunship. (Not heavily identifiable, but it shows Anakin went with his close friend as opposed to the other masters)
    Although in an understandably heated debate, he does eventually listen to Obi-Wan on the gunship.
    Although just zapped by lightning, he still mustered what power he could to once again save Obi-Wan.
    There are plenty of cues. From chats we're given the clear idea that they've been through a lot together and have had some wild times.
    It's not all doom gloom and bicker with them.
    Lucas has shown some cues very subtly. They're hard to find, but sometimes they just hit you. Or sometimes you're so expecting them to be these great legendary friends that when he does toss a clue, they're not big enough for you so you by-pass them.

    As for his powers, you looked at everything he did from a horrendously glass is half empty point of view if I dare say ;)
    Anakin is still a student afterall.
    What was being taught in TPM (and which many fans seemed to have missed) is his actions on the control ship weren't an accident. It was 'instinctive' Force use if you will. Obi-Wan said there wasn't luck, and though it sounds of an excuse, it's not a throw away funny line as far as TPM is concerned.
    In TPM, we are shown ( ;) ) that Anakin is in fact, a huge Force protege. Why then, are we to believe that the control ship was pure luck? From an 'oops'? To him, it probably felt like an 'oops'. If Luke said 'oops' after destroying the Death Star (or another phrase to indicate the character felt he messed up 'oh blast' for instance) would we think it was an accident?
    He already knew how to feel and not think and probably took those lessons with him in his flight.
    Keeping in mind that he's only nine and would have no knowledge of his control over the Force.
    What was taken as an accident as many because of a word, was clearly shown and set up to this point by Lucas to be the reflexive act of a young Jedi adept with remarkable skills and initiative. Remember, he's had no training by this point besides 'pep talk'.
    In AotC he freefell hundreds of stories and caught onto a zooming speeder. We may have set up in our minds that Jedi are supermen and acts like that are everyday things (especially if you buy into the EU where Jedi toss Star Destroyers around like beach balls), but I would think Lucas meant us to be wowed by it ;)
    Luke was having trouble with rocks and sabers in ESB. Anakin juggled spheres and fruit out of boredome, 'showing' (there's that word again ;) ) that these powers are so common to him (also that he doesn't fully respect them yet, but that's another point altogether).
    As a Jedi padawan learner, he managed to survive the arena battle when hundreds of other Jedi (including Masters) were dying.
    You fault him for not beating Dooku. Yet Yoda didn't best him either ;)
    In fact, a Padawan held his own against what we could assume from the film with an ex Jedi Master longer than Obi-Wan did!
    That has to take some power.
    Plus, remember he's still a padawan. I'd imagine in Ep III he'll be even more powerful.

    Lucas does show plenty. Sometimes it just takes looking at things that you might take for granted. :)
  16. MatthewZ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2003
    star 4
    Anakin Skywalker:

    The only human who can race pods.....Jedi or not.
    Pilots a sucessful raid against a Trade Federation ship.
    Saves Obi-Wan from a nest of Gundarks.
    Senses a problem in Padme's room before Obi-Wan.
    Chases down down Zam in a speeder capped off by jumping out and down about 100 stories.
    Survives the area battle.
    Holds his own against Dooku.
    Has "exceptional skills".

    Not bad for a Padawan learner.
  17. Aunecah_Skywalker Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2002
    star 5
    Well, now, this is interesting. Regardless of whether or not you follow them consciously or subconsciously, there are always going to be rules. You don't write the English language backwards. Why not? Most of your characters - human characters, especially - don't talk like Yoda. Why not? Because that's not the way our society works today. There might be people who talk like Yoda and write backward English, but most people don't. It's a rule to write English the way we do. Do you have to follow it? Obviously not. But there has to be a good reason for not following it. Backward talking puts Yoda apart from the rest.

    You also don't tell a mystery story's ending on the first page. Does that mean that authors can't ever do that? Of course not. If your story is such that telling person X killed person Y will enhance the mystery or whatever, then by all means go and tell the readers. But generally speaking, mystery stories don't get solved on page one or on page ten.

    If you don't agree with me, then I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree anidan and First, because I sincerely do believe that there are rules governing the English language as well as storytelling, however implicit they might be.

    -Aunecah
  18. First_Stage_Lensman Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2003
    star 2
    Inversions: there's actually *nothing* grammatically wrong with inversions, which is putting the subject early on in a sentence. This is actually *closer* to pure, or early English, than our modern way of speaking. Either way there are no Rules prohibiting moving the subject of a sentence to the front.

    If you never give the answer to a mystery story at the beginning of the story perhaps you cann explain why Citizen Kane & Pulp Fiction are considered landmarks of cinema and why the Columbo tv series has been so popular for thirty years.
  19. Aunecah_Skywalker Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2002
    star 5
    First_Stage_Lensman: Do you even read my posts before responding, or d'you simply scan for the first thing to complain about? [face_plain]

    If you never give the answer to a mystery story at the beginning of the story perhaps you cann explain why Citizen Kane & Pulp Fiction are considered landmarks of cinema and why the Columbo tv series has been so popular for thirty years.

    (emphasis mine)

    Where did I ever say that you should never solve the mystery story in the beginning. I said that the general rule is that you solve the mystery at the end, but if you feel like your story will work better if you solved it on page one, then you can do it.

    Rules are NOT commandments. They can be broken, but think for a second before breaking them. Ask yourself how the story would be better for it.

    When I first started writing, I wrote a fantasy story in which magic was unlimited and had no costs whatsoever - simply because I wanted to write a story so totally unique from everybody else's. My plotting was excellent and my characters were excellent, but because I didn't limit my magic in any way, it gave way to a lot of loop holes. Changed the magic, gave it some limits, and the story's much, much better now.

    General rule of thumb: don't make your magic unlimited in scope.

    Can you break it? Yes! If you can find a way to break that rule and still write a brilliant story, then do it. But simply writing a story that breaks that rule for no reason whatsoever other than that you feel like being contrary - like I did - does NOT help your story.

    -Aunecah
  20. anidanami124 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2002
    star 6
    If you don't agree with me, then I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree anidan and First, because I sincerely do believe that there are rules governing the English language as well as storytelling, however implicit they might be.

    There are rules. But there not in the book. You see the problem I have had with english books is that they were having corrtect(sp) things from people who are very good writers. Writers that I will never write like. Not know not ever. I then got a teacher who said the only book I well ever need is the papers write. The reason is because if I can't corrtect(sp) what is on my papers then how could I corrtect what is in some english book.

    Sure the books give you some good things. But the mistakes you make in writing are not always going to be the mistakes you find in books. ;) It's like that for every one who writes. You and me will have different ways of writing and make different mistakes.

    The problem is by using the book we are not really ever corrtecting(sp) are own mistakes. ;)

    There are set of rules that we do have fallow. Such as grammer, and spelling. But after that those set rules are different for every one. No two people will ever write the same. ;) So they need to use different things when writing.

    Either way there are no Rules prohibiting moving the subject of a sentence to the front.

    Well let's take it in a better why then this. You go to write about why let's say the PSone is better then I don't know the Sega CD. With in the first one or two sentences you should have something about what your subject is so that people know what you are talking about. The ending and first part of what you are writing are going to be what many of us remember more about. ;)

    Can you break it? Yes! If you can find a way to break that rule and still write a brilliant story, then do it. But simply writing a story that breaks that rule for no reason whatsoever other than that you feel like being contrary - like I did - does NOT help your story.

    Which also brings up that there are different rules for different ways for writing. If you are going to give a report. The subjcet matter must be with in the first part of your paper. Because people need to know what you are going to be talking about. The first is also where you give just enough info about the subjcet as well.

    The end also has be a very good summery because again people are going to remember those the end and the start of the paper more then they will the middle.
  21. DrEvazan Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2002
    star 4
    l;asejfnairevbapiev ae asodflllll. alsfknapserncas sld slsldkfjdk kdf dso ksd. dsfnbnnb ertgaeorg zdsngfkj skdfs dkfsd. jadsfksandf ppweoowmncks kksdf sk kdkfj skdowopepppl.

    get my point?
  22. soitscometothis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2003
    star 5
    The trouble with this subject is that there are no absolute right or wrongs, it's all about personal perception. Little_Younglin gave a well thought out answer to my point about "show, don't tell", in that perhaps Anakin only gives lip service to his affection for Obi-Wan, suggesting that the writing is more layered than I gave it credit for. Now personaly, I think that is a load of old dingo's kindneys, but unless GL says otherwise it is a perfectly valid argument.

    The only thing we can really say about the writing is whether it works for us.

    I'll just give an example of a scene I liked from AOTC:

    Obi-Wan's conversation with Jango on Kamino; some nice dialogue, very civil on the surface, a lot of tension underneath. I thought that was good writing.
  23. Darth Geist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    Knowledge of the rules, whether or not you agree with the rules, can help you avoid a number of pitfalls.

    Of course, personal perception plays a part in how much you enjoy a story. Keep in mind, though, the difference between appreciating a story's quality and enjoying it yourself. Plenty of perfectly well-written books don't do much for me personally, since there are certain genres that don't spark my interest, but they do what they do very well, whether or not what they do is something I happen to enjoy.

    However, personal perception only goes so far; especially in prose, some flaws are always flaws whether or not you want them to be. There are some plot holes that can't be rationalized, continuity errors that can't be explained, words that just don't mean what the author thinks they mean, and so on.

    Personally, my favorite example is The Eye of Argon. Not only is the story riddled with hundreds of typos, but the author makes nearly every other conceivable blunder. The prose switches between past and present tense mid-sentence. A character gets kicked "between his testicles"?then spends an entire page reacting to it. A character hides a weapon in the "folds of his G-string." A character gets disemboweled on page eight, then appears again, hale and hearty, ten pages later. The author apparently had some sort of stigma against using the same noun twice; thus, a character's "eyes" become his "orbs," which later become?I kid you not?his "organs of sight." And, according to the author, emeralds are red.

    Read it for yourself, and then I challenge anyone here to defend it. :)

    Oh, and here's a fun fact: Sci-fi conventions often hold competetive readings of The Eye of Argon, where contestants try to read it aloud for as long as they can without cracking up.
  24. anidanami124 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2002
    star 6
    Knowledge of the rules, whether or not you agree with the rules, can help you avoid a number of pitfalls.

    Yet there are different rules for ever kind of writing. So in other words there is not set in stone rules. Other then make sure the spelling and grammer are right. Other then that...
  25. Darth Geist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    Yet there are different rules for ever kind of writing.

    The rules vary, but they do still exist.

    Some genres, on account of their settings, have special rules that apply only to them. Writers of hard sci-fi are expected to stick as close to the laws of real science as possible, or give the readers good reasons as to why such laws don't apply. Fantasy writers are encouraged to keep their rules of magic consistent; if magic can do anything, then anything can happen, and if anything can happen, then ultimately nothing matters.

    Keep in mind that genres often blur together; if you're writing a murder mystery set in a fantasy world, then consider the rules and conventions of both. If it's a Christie-style mystery, where you challenge the reader to solve it before the detective does, don't spell out the answer in Chapter 1. If your hero is a wizard, you'll likely want to regulate his magic so that he can't conjure up the answer with a wave of his hand; that would kill the story as a mystery and as a heroic adventure (after all, how exciting is the story of a "hero" who swats down every challenge he comes across without any kind of a struggle?).

    So in summary, a story from one genre may not have the same rules as one from another, but it will have rules nonetheless. What you do with those rules is up to you, but keep in mind the reasons why the exist in the first place.
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