0274 - Themes. - 2023.01.02



There are a number of different approaches to writing fiction.

When I'm writing my comics, I usually just set up a scenario, populate it with characters whose voices I know, then sit back and see what they do, occasionally putting a little English on the ball so that each strip comes to... if not a "punchline", at least a snappy-feeling end. When I'm writing a book, I start with the happy ending and work my way backward, or sometimes start with the climactic scene in the middle and work my way in both directions. When I really don't know what to do, I pull a reverse-Chekov: litter the stage with "guns" in act one, see which ones go off by act three, then go back and remove all the guns that never did anything.

It's a very similar activity to GMing a roleplaying game, another skill I like to think I possess. I set up a scenario, I put characters in it, I let them find their way towards the end (or, at least, towards AN end). Sometimes, I put English on the ball, if the players don't know where the end is. Some games require more English than others.

Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction is required to make sense to the reader - effects must follow from causes, characters must act in accordance with their beliefs and desires, there must be a beginning, a middle, and an end. Reality, unfortunately, is under no such constraint.

Fiction is also able to pick and choose which scenes to show you - we might focus in on the pepper in the spice rack because it's going to be used in the fight scene later, while the basil and the bay leaves get no such attention. Fiction rarely shows characters asleep or in the bathroom, because significant events rarely happen when they're sleeping or pooping.

Are you a protagonist? Do you dress like a protagonist? Do you have protagonist vibes? Do you have sidekick or villain or love interest vibes? Are you foreshadowing the plot events you want to happen in act three?

Are you the writer of your own story?


0274 - 2167/07/07/02:21 - Lee Caldavera's apartment, bedroom
Zoa: So you're saying I should stick to colour themes for our character designs.
LC: Can you do that? Pick a starter colour and then pick other colours around it that match?
Zoa: Hang on... downloading...... yeah, yeah, I've got an algorithm for it. In fact, I can whip up full character models, if you want.
LC: Ooh, yes please!
[Zoa is generating images, LC can see them electronically]
Zoa: There, how's that?
LC: Wow, how did you do that?
Zoa: I looked up a bunch of public domain stuff for "princex", "peasant", and "dragon", then I mashed'em together. Not that difficult, actually, just a lot of number crunching. You like?
LC: Can we tweak the princex to look skinnier?
Zoa: I can tweak whatever to look like whatever. But we don't have an ending yet, and if we don't have an ending, I can't foreshadow anything or set up any design stuff that ties into the plot.
LC: Well... real life doesn't tie your character design into future events, does it? Maybe it's more realistic if nothing's foreshadowed!
Zoa: There's that word "realism" again...
LC: They say "truth is stranger than fiction". Fiction feels less strange because it foreshadows things. Character design can actually tell you about the character's archetype, which, in turn, tells you what kind of story they're supposed to be in.
Zoa: Is that the real reason why you're so focused on nailing down your personal appearance? You're not just trying to control how people see you... you're trying to control the narrative of your life!
LC: ...maybe I was doing that, on a subconscious level. Dress like a protagonist to become a protagonist. Did I fuck up and dress like a college student by accident, is that what determined my fate?
Zoa: If the college-owned apartment currently surrounding us counts as "clothes", then yes, I would say it played a part.