Probably the best description of that particular aspect of depression that I’ve ever read. At least, that’s how it is for me.(via kiriamaya) (via alexseanchai)
The other day I had a really good idea for a story:
A high school Shakespeare club angrily splits into two groups when they can’t agree on the correct interpretation of Romeo and Juliet. One group thinks it’s a cautionary tale about the stupidity of youth and shallow lust; the other group think it’s a beautiful tragedy about poisonous hatred conquered by love. Reconciliation seems impossible-
-then a person from one group falls in love with a person from the other
#it would be better if somehow EVERY OTHER SHAKESPEARE WAS HAPPENING AT ONCE#like you got a benedict and beatice b-story#and then somebody see’s their dad’s ghost#and there’s cross-dressing#and three upperclassmen tell macbeth he will be drama club president
it got better
Sounds better than Glee
….have any of you seen slings & arrows?
hey friendly slash tip courtesy of juls’s roommate
don’t stick self-warming lube up your butt, apparently it’s more like burning lube in the anal area?
The worst thing is realizing that if I had this stuff on hand I would have immediately tested this.
tags: public service announcement I’m so sorry I have so many questions was this done as a research move? is it safe on other mucosal membranes? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I BLAME SCIENCE AND FANFIC Seriously what is wrong with me I have class in 3 hours and haven’t slept go to bed star
roommate was not intentionally researching, it was more of an oops?
and uh, capsaicin? so draw your own conclusions
So I was recently reminded of a bit of television writing wisdom that I wanted to expound upon. And I’m not necessarily saying the following really has anything to do with anything, just that sometimes my brain makes strange leaps and I thought, what the hell, let’s make a post.
Okay, so when I was in college during one of my script workshops, Drew Goddard came in to work with us for a couple hours. He had a ton of interesting, useful shit to say, as you can imagine, and I’m totally gonna butcher the paraphrasing of this, but essentially at one point he started talking about a certain way of looking at the difference between JJ Abrams’ and Joss Whedon’s approaches to writing for television. He’d worked with both of them extensively (on Alias and Lost, and BtVS and Angel respectively), and his perspective on the both of them was really fascinating.
And basically what he said was that you can almost look at storytelling on TV, especially when it comes to genre shows with long, drawn-out story arcs, as a series of questions, both overt and subtextual. Discovering the answers to these questions is a driving force behind getting the viewer to come back each week. (Who is the Kanima? Who’s controlling the Kanima? Will Scott and Allison get back together? etc etc. And then the less obvious as well, that people often don’t even realize they’re looking for answers to, questions that have to do with themes and symbolism and homoerotic eye-fucking and all that good stuff that die-hard fans write meta about.)
The difference, he said, between the two methods (and, again, paraphrasing horribly here but whatever), was that JJ would answer a question with a question, and Joss would answer a question with an actual answer that would then evolve into or beget new questions.
Though both those approaches get the job done, the latter is ultimately the more satisfying. But it’s extremely common for TV writers to fall into the trap of the JJ method, because it’s a hell of a lot easier all around. It simply takes a lot less effort, and it always seems like a good idea at the time because it feels like the obvious way of really hooking viewers. Never give them what they want, right? Always leave them wanting more. Never give a straight answer. Blah blah blah. It’s a cheap way of drawing out a mystery, but it often doesn’t look cheap to the casual viewer if you’re performing just enough slight-of-hand in the meantime. Give ‘em some lens flare and no one will notice.
The trouble with this is that, even when you’re able to get away with it for an extended period of time, eventually your audience gets frustrated, or bored, or both.
The idea is similar to the overuse of the myth of the Moonlighting Curse. The Moonlight Curse is not actually a real thing. It’s a big fat urban legend. But it persists because it’s a convenient excuse for the laziness of dragging out a will-they-or-won’t-they romance well past when it should have ended. Showrunners claim the audience doesn’t really want to see their OTP end up together, but this is just a cop out to avoid trying to entertain that audience in new ways. The thing is, the will-they-or-won’t-they dynamic creates automatic tension, and it’s a lot easier to forever rely on that same tension for several seasons of a show, rather than to do the work it would take to create different kinds of tension for the relationship in question.
So… I don’t know. This post really isn’t meant to have a point beyond me rambling about TV. But I have over the years often come back to that idea that Drew imparted. How Abrams answers a question with a question. And Whedon answers a question with an answer that leads to more questions. And whenever I come into a new show, whether as a fan or as a writer, one of the first things I ask myself is what school of writing the people behind it all would be more inclined to subscribe to.
YES TO ALL OF THIS HALLELUJAH.
I’m not saying it’s universal, but I haaaaate the “add more questions when a question should be answered” approach because more often than not, the new questions are redirects, masking the fact that the people writing have no idea what the answers to the original questions are. Or the questions just don’t get answered because answering them would kill the story’s tension - which means there’s a problem with the story, because answering them should give the story more tension.
You see this all the time. Are characters talking off screen where you can’t hear? The writers probably have very little idea what they’re saying. A character discovers a mysterious secret and you only see his/her reaction but not what the secret is? Same. Basically any time someone gasps and it’s supposed to be a Big Dramatic Moment, if you don’t have a clear idea of what they’re reacting to and why it’s a game changer, it’s a redirect.
The problem with this is that if the writers don’t have a clear idea of what they’re doing, there’s basically no way to bring it to a satisfying conclusion. (Some people can pull it off and get lucky, but if you end up scratching your head, going, “…but what about… that didn’t quite… huh?” then probably the writers were winging it and crossing their fingers.) Good conclusion draw on puzzle pieces that were planted earlier, bringing them together to show you the whole, finished picture they made up.
This is why, campy and ridiculous though it is, season one of Teen Wolf is by far its strongest season, story-wise. It’s not airtight by any means, but all of the pieces fit together. When it comes to the season finale, it’s clear that Kate and Peter, the season’s biggest bads, are linked to each other, and because of how things unfolded, now Scott and Allison are tied up in at all, too. Kate gets taken down by Peter, deservedly; and then Peter gets taken down by the scoobie gang, also deservedly. BOOM, the arch is wrapped up in a way that was satisfying and made sense!
(This is why Peter SHOULD NOT HAVE COME BACK FROM THE DEAD. Well, one of many reasons. But that’s a different rant.)
Compare and contrast to season two: Matt and Gerard are our two biggest bads, but 1) we give no fucks about Matt (we kind of do about Gerard because at least he has ties to Allison, but Matt has ties to no one), and 2) they have nothing to do with each other. Matt is essentially a red herring to keep the Gerard storyline from wrapping up too soon — the big question here is “Who is the kanima’s master?” But it doesn’t work because so much of the season’s attention is wasted on that question, when the only point of Matt is to keep the kanima out of Gerard’s hands for awhile so the story doesn’t end too quickly. Ep 2x10 felt like a season finale because it dealt with the season’s primary villain to that point, which made the actual finale feel like an afterthought, and also meant that all the story they tried to squish into it didn’t really work.
Meanwhile the other question of the season that got thrown in there a lot was “What’s going on with Lydia?” — and yeah, the writers knew the answer to this, but Peter reappearing in season two did nothing and changed nothing. He didn’t help them (or betray them) in the end. He was literally just … also there, and has been some variation of “also there” ever since. So yeah, it’s another ~question~ but it is useless. (He didn’t contribute anything necessary in 3A, either, or thus far in 3B. RE-KILL PETER, HE IS UNNECESSARY AND ALSO TERRIBLE.)
Now imagine if, say, some of those questions had been actually tied to the story instead of space fillers. What if Gerard hadn’t been there and Matt was the big bad, and had more focus and development as a character in the beginning? That sure would make his ultimate demise a lot more satisfying and also make that the finale, thus making the finale more satisfying. Alternately, someone else is the kanimaster, and that someone is tied to Gerard, doesn’t get offed beforehand, and it comes together at the finale. Again: it ties things together! And makes the finale more interesting! Or hey, WHAT IF IT WAS PETER? WHAT IF PETER HAD BEEN CONTROLLING LYDIA AND THE KANIMA THROUGH HER, AND WAS SEEKING REVENGE ON THE ARGENTS? Then him coming back from the dead serves a purpose (even if it would be pretty dumb to have the SAME big bad two seasons in a row, but w/ev), ties pieces together, AND MAKES THE FINALE MORE SATISFYING.
You can imagine how I feel about 3A. Like. I can’t even analyze it because at some point I just start yelling “YOU CAN’T HAVE A PACK OF ALPHAS THAT IS NOT WHAT ‘PACK’ MEANS OH MY GOD WHY ARE THERE DRUIDS OH MY GOD DID YOU TRY TO TIE THIS ALL TOGETHER BY MAKING DEREK MURDER HIS FIRST GIRLFRIEND OH MY GOD WHY IS THIS HAPPENING IT MAKES NO SENSE ;LKJASDFL;JKASDFLJKAFL;KAJSDFJKL” and then I need to drink a glass of wine and cuddle my cat for awhile.
(But like, why introduce so many characters and have the backstory rest only on people we don’t care about and have them only linked to each other, with barely a token attempt to tie it all back to one of the primary characters? THAT IS NOT GOOD WRITING.)
(3B has been a bit better. Still messy and full of holes, but at least Kira has a distinct personality and is interesting, and the badguys tie directly to both her and Stiles, thus giving us reason to care about what’s happening. We’ll see how it finishes out, though.)
ANYWAY. I had a point somewhere up there, going back to season two, and it’s this. Season two never felt like it was building as efficiently as season one did, but the moment I was sure it was going to be an utter disaster with no possible chance at pulling it together was Raving. That’s where they tease we’re getting an answer to a big question - Who Is The Kanima’s Master? - which turned out to be a red herring question anyway BUT it was still important in the story as it unfolded (badly) - but THEY DIDN’T ANSWER THE QUESTION. That pinged me SO HARD as a tell that they didn’t know how the story was unfolding. Maybe they knew it was Matt; I dunno. But if your story is solid and cohesive then when you tease a big answer like that, YOU CAN ANSWER IT, because that ANSWER is going to ratchet up the tension, make the stakes higher, and make people go “zomg!!” Asking more questions, or not answering the questions you’ve asked, is a cheap cover for not being able to do that.
reblogging again for all of the teen wolf centric critiques, because man oh man are they valid :)
if anything specific examples are always great for helping lessons sink in :)
LA - PS, i will be there 3/7-3/16 including my bday
I will be in the area next week, Tuesday March 11th through Sunday March 16th! If you would like to hang out, let me know! (askbox, DW comment, twitter, email, DW private message, wevs)
tagged: #leaving on a jet ground vehicle
the best part is that that tag already existed on my DW
Oh nooo I’m just missing you. I’m heading down to the LA area the week after.
so i had this notion that since we would be there a week? we miiiiight venture parts north? if people wanted to see us?