Making the Rules Part 3: To Thine Own Characters Be True

There are a lot of different elements that make up a story, and if you ask a hundred different literary scholars, you’ll hear all of them, I’m sure. Setting, theme, atmosphere, plot, metaphor—there are essays on it, each written by a person, who according to themselves and possibly the person who taught their lit class, is totally correct and who has worked very, very hard to assure themselves is not a matter of opinion.   Me? Well my favorite part of storytelling is building the world and if I looked hard enough, I could give you a lot of reasons why it’s the most important part too. In fact, the place I read instead of literary essays,, just recently ran an article making just that claim.   And I totally disagree.   While it’s my favorite thing to do and will always be the big draw, especially in movies, I don’t think setting is the end all and be all of a story. No matter how many interesting concepts I introduce, no matter what kind of society I draw, or set-pieces I describe, they won’t mean anything without someone to move around in them, experience them, and … Continue reading

Making the Rules Part 2: A Little Bit of Magic

Believe it or not, you and I, gentle reader, have an agreement.

Oh, you may not remember making this contract with me, but believe me, you did. Not only that, but you’ve probably made this same contract with dozens if not hundreds of other writers, directors, producers, and actors in your time. And no matter how many times you have, it always went a little something like ours. In case the details are a little fuzzy, I’ll lay it out for you:

The moment you clicked the link that brought you to this page (or in the case of our test audiences here at Paradox-Omni Entertainment, the moment Billy Two-Ton and Joey ‘Thumbtacks’ ambushed them in an alley, resulting in them waking up with their eyelids mechanically pried open in front of a screen), I told you, by way of words like ‘superhero’, ‘story’ and ‘fiction’ that my intention was to lie to you for five pages every Monday and Wednesday with variable length lies on Fridays. I was just going to back a dump truck full of bullshit up to you and unload at will.

And you said okay to this because that’s pretty much what fiction is run … Continue reading

Playing by the Rules (After Making Them Up) Part 1

Growing up, I was never a fan of ‘chase’ cartoons. You know the ones where one character is coming after the other, who then brings down all manner of comedic punishment upon them? They’re classics, I know, but they weren’t really my thing, mostly because the object of the chase, usually Jerry of Tom and Jerry, or Tweety Pie, were vile, scabrous monsters from the deepest, most bile filled depths of hell.

Really, someone please explain to me why, oh why we’re supposed to root for Jerry, who more often than not has broken into Tom’s (or his owners’) house and is stealing their food? How is Tom the bad guy for doing his duty as a cat and repelling rodent aggressors with not even a thanks and a bowl of cream?

I am so confident that Jerry is universally awful, I’m just linking a short at random to prove my point:

But I digress. Droopy got a pass because of the wolf’s wild takes, Pepe LePew gets the same because he wasn’t trying to hurt anybody, he was just in love and socially stupid (also, he stank). But your typical chase, even some Bugs Bunny classics just never … Continue reading

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