A SRS BSNSS Idealogue on the Originality of Genre Conventions

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Re: [General]The Return of CHARACTER CONCEPTS

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:57 pm

PREGRIN wrote:However, it looks like we here understand this and put more effort into characterization and general conceptualization than most mainstream comics writers do.
Yes, Per. We do. Thank you. :P
And guess why the 1975 Doc Savage movie was forgotten at the box office whereas Raiders of the Lost Ark became a blockbuster?
Because it had shit funding, shit directing and shit production?
Why shouldn't we in the writing process go beyond "this is cool and this is also cool so let's write something like it because that'll also be cool" fanboyism in synthesizing and building on our influences too?
Who says that our writing process doesn't go beyond that? I've repeatedly stated that the goodness of a work significantly depends on the individual influences of the individual creator/s involved.

You're making broad statements regarding other people's use of conventions, genres and cliches without even taking into account or acknowledging their own individual influences - accusing them of fanboyism in synthesizing when you haven't even read or done your homework on our stuff while going off and making your pronoucements.
Then why do you act like the only definitive true path is to write mostly out of "this would be cool" gut feeling and stick to genre formulas "because they're fun" without explaining why they're fun, because only people who don't like "fun" would even question them?
Let me quote myself from our MSN conversations:

: Let me rephrase: "Maybe I should write what I personally find to be entertaining - be it original, or taking in time and effort to create something I value, OR write like Kamin because I am unoriginal - because I don't freely feel the need to push the boundaries or frontiers of amazing superawesome literature at the moment. But hey if you want to go at it have at, be my guest, but I personally don't like grand sweeping statements of how XYZ or so-and-so is unoriginal and thus utter shit despite the fact that XYZ or so-and-so can be perfectly entertaining?"

Have I ever deemed anything utter shit? No, I just took offense to the fact that you're deeming things that are (at least to me) perfectly entertaining - subjectively, because who knew that art and crap actually involves subjetive aesthetics too lol - as things that are not even worthy of your time because you exclusively prefer original masterpieces and those works only.

Alright then. Some conventions are retained and not phased out because they consistently maintain the ability to entertain people as proven over time. I've never said that any attempts at making something else is worthless, I've only disagreed at your statements that these conventions are total crap. And I've constantly maintained that the ability of these conventions to entertain is also heavily dependent on the individual exertion of those whove worked on them to make them entertaining, and thus I think that wholesale statements that state that any work that follow these conventions are worthless are actually pretty damn insulting and rude towards those people whove worked and spent effort and time and thought in trying to bring entertainment to those who enjoy their works/

(because, lol, art and movies and stuff is actually mostly dependent on the INDIVIDUAL artist/entertainer who creates the work itself)

(and that someone whose work is found lacking OBVIOUSLY lacks his own individual touch)

(and that all of this is inherent in entertainment, be they genre bound or not bound to convention)

And though you may think it its shit-brained, some/a few/many people actually cherish some of these conventions of entertainment for some unapparent reason - but this is not mutually exclusive with people enjoying outright original things, either. Of course, you can call me unintellectual and anti-intellectual and unimaginative and uninnovative and unentertaining for that. *shrug*


Why can't I have a good time because when I think about narrative structures I come to the conclusion that a really fun story is one which is actually adventurous in its writing by defying audience expectations as well as having something beyond some pretty fireworks to offer? That's why my favourite of the classic sci-fi writers is Philip K. Dick, he writes plots that take a myriad twists and turns - when you're reading one of his books you never know exactly what happens next.
Who the hell ever said that you can't have a good time because you think about narrative structures and come to the conclusion that a really fun story is one which is actually adventurous in its writing by defying audience expectations as well as having something beyond some pretty fireworks to offer?

Hell, the only one here who has the gall to come out and all but say that we're a bunch of uncreative fucks without actually even doing his homework or bothering to do actual-factual research, but instead make blanket statements on the things and works of other authors while citing science fiction series that he hasn't even seen aside from a few clips on youtube plus hearsay (your own words on nBSG) has been you.


Also, I think subverting cliches is actually unimaginative and unoriginal because it relies on subverting pre-packaged cliches and genre conventions taken from previous works and that is intellectual laziness. *monocle* If someone wishes to make a truly original work, then it should have nothing to do at all with lazily manipulating cliches or with conventions previously used by anyone, to achieve true uniqueness and artistic purity rather than laziness in merely tweaking pre-existing conventions and cliches one must truly venture into untreaded ground. *monocle* AM I RITE? LOL! Just kidding!
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Re: [General]The Return of CHARACTER CONCEPTS

Post by Mobius 1 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:06 pm

You know, I could use the populist argument too in favour of more complex and cerebral entertainment by pointing to the mainstream success of stuff like Lost or Twin Peaks.
I don't have time for a full post. but this stands out. I find this utterly ridiculous, because cerebral != having deep literary merit. What's worst is you picked two of the worst possible shows as examples - as neither have anything resembling an overplot, and are just confusing for the sake of being confusing. The writers, like in nBSG, had no idea what they were doing. And again, you're confusing my desire for "entertainment" with "simple and stupid". It's insulting - I enjoy ridiculously overplotted stories perhaps more than most people on the OZ, let alone my own stories being any indiction.
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Re: [General]The Return of CHARACTER CONCEPTS

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:12 pm

BUT MOBUS YOU JUST REPEAT USED CONDOMS/CLICHES LIKE FANBOI LULZ!

I like the fact that he likes to cite TV shows that he hasn't watched while also commenting on the state of works of people which he hasn't really kept himself current on. You'd think that there'd be more homework could've been done before statements regarding other people's works were made.
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Re: [General]The Return of CHARACTER CONCEPTS

Post by Vagrant Orpheus » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:25 pm

Shroom, do you even go to uni? Nobody at uni does any homework. Especially not if you're doing a literature/philosophy degree. I know I certainly didn't, and I'm glad Per has proudly adopted the true way of higher education!
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Re: A SRS BSNSS Idealogue on the Originality of Genre Convention

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:34 pm

SPLIT from here

Continue.
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Re: A SRS BSNSS Idealogue on the Originality of Genre Convention

Post by Peregrin » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:50 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
Why shouldn't we in the writing process go beyond "this is cool and this is also cool so let's write something like it because that'll also be cool" fanboyism in synthesizing and building on our influences too?
Who says that our writing process doesn't go beyond that? I've repeatedly stated that the goodness of a work significantly depends on the individual influences of the individual creator/s involved.
You implicitly denied George Lucas and Steven Spielberg had gone beyond that when making Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark and said that they just went "we like X and Y, let's make something like X and Y". In your own words:

Did not Spielberg and Lucas' creative process involve Lucas going "Hey, I think Flash Gordon and stuff is cool and I also like Akira Kurowhatsits samurai movie and stuff and hey look science fantasy like Dune and Galactic Empires like Foundations and oooh"?
Who the hell ever said that you can't have a good time because you think about narrative structures and come to the conclusion that a really fun story is one which is actually adventurous in its writing by defying audience expectations as well as having something beyond some pretty fireworks to offer?
Again, the debate's framed like I'm arguing against entertaining stories with the counter-arguments being "literature's written to be entertaining, not to be original" and "the clichés have become clichés because they're fun", the subtext being that because I prefer original stories that defy formulas I don't like fun and entertaining stories at all.

An example:

I’ve always said that entertainment should be the primary focus of a story. I have no problem when I’m made to think, but people who get all snooty at the “unwashed masses” for liking a story that’s pure fun (with BAYSPLOSIONS or what have you), for not liking their daily meal of fiction to be highbrow enough. I have only have one life to live, I want to spend it with a grin on my face.

It's clearly the implication here that if you don't like stories that follow a genre formula or adhere to existing conventions then you can't appreciate a story that's pure fun and only like cold and cerebral literature, and that non-formulaic literature can't be pure fun. There's a dichotomy made between stories that "make you to think" and "pure fun".

That said, right now I don't really feel like continuing this discussion further before I've brought myself up to date with that O1's been writing for the last couple of years since it turns out I've been arguing from outdated assumptions about its work e. g. Archwind's characterization. I just think that if you get exposed to a genre convention too often then you become desentisized to it and it stops being fun, and from the looks of it I just have a lower pain threshold for that than the rest of you.
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Re: A SRS BSNSS Idealogue on the Originality of Genre Convention

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:47 pm

PREGRIN wrote:
Shroom Man 777 wrote:
Why shouldn't we in the writing process go beyond "this is cool and this is also cool so let's write something like it because that'll also be cool" fanboyism in synthesizing and building on our influences too?
Who says that our writing process doesn't go beyond that? I've repeatedly stated that the goodness of a work significantly depends on the individual influences of the individual creator/s involved.
You implicitly denied George Lucas and Steven Spielberg had gone beyond that when making Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark and said that they just went "we like X and Y, let's make something like X and Y". In your own words:

Did not Spielberg and Lucas' creative process involve Lucas going "Hey, I think Flash Gordon and stuff is cool and I also like Akira Kurowhatsits samurai movie and stuff and hey look science fantasy like Dune and Galactic Empires like Foundations and oooh"?
Did George Lucas and Steven Spielberg not borrow heavily from influences that they found favorable and fun? Did Lucas not openly admit basing the central plot of Star Wars on some Japanese Samurai movie? Yes, it did. Their creative processes DID involve incorporating stuff they thought was cool.

Meanwhile, I also said that any work is also dependent on the invidual author/writer/director/actor/s individual input on any given work to make it different and make it a product of individuals. These are not mutually exclusive.

Geeze. We're talking about originality, right? Yet, simultaneously, we're also talking about how to take things and stuff from previous conventions and do something creative with them? For some reason, now creativity and originally is gauged by how someone reuses pre-existing things? So far, the works you've cited - from Star Wars to Indy to nBSG - are works that heavily rely on using pre-existing things.

Besides, don't you think we do that already, because we are not a community of unimaginative uncreative dolts? Or do you honestly think everything done here so far has been fanboyism synthesis? Do you think we're completely devoid of individual influence?
Who the hell ever said that you can't have a good time because you think about narrative structures and come to the conclusion that a really fun story is one which is actually adventurous in its writing by defying audience expectations as well as having something beyond some pretty fireworks to offer?
Again, the debate's framed like I'm arguing against entertaining stories with the counter-arguments being "literature's written to be entertaining, not to be original" and "the clichés have become clichés because they're fun", the subtext being that because I prefer original stories that defy formulas I don't like fun and entertaining stories at all.
What are your opinions of stories that don't defy formulas then? Can they be fun? Because none of the rest of us have said anything about stories that defy formulas.
An example:

I’ve always said that entertainment should be the primary focus of a story. I have no problem when I’m made to think, but people who get all snooty at the “unwashed masses” for liking a story that’s pure fun (with BAYSPLOSIONS or what have you), for not liking their daily meal of fiction to be highbrow enough. I have only have one life to live, I want to spend it with a grin on my face.

It's clearly the implication here that if you don't like stories that follow a genre formula or adhere to existing conventions then you can't appreciate a story that's pure fun and only like cold and cerebral literature, and that non-formulaic literature can't be pure fun. There's a dichotomy made between stories that "make you to think" and "pure fun".
What if a story is pure fun and follows a genre formula or adheres to existing conventions? :P Those two aren't mutually exclusive and, likewise, nobody has said that non-formulaic literature can't be fun.

None of the rest of us have said anything about the aristic merit (or whatever) of things, you're the only one who's branding and judging things to be meritful or demeritful.

Seems like a case of blackwhite absolutism, IMO.
That said, right now I don't really feel like continuing this discussion further before I've brought myself up to date with that O1's been writing for the last couple of years since it turns out I've been arguing from outdated assumptions about its work e. g. Archwind's characterization. I just think that if you get exposed to a genre convention too often then you become desentisized to it and it stops being fun, and from the looks of it I just have a lower pain threshold for that than the rest of you.
Yes. The rest of us. ;)
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Re: A SRS BSNSS Idealogue on the Originality of Genre Convention

Post by Peregrin » Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:35 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:Besides, don't you think we do that already, because we are not a community of unimaginative uncreative dolts? Or do you honestly think everything done here so far has been fanboyism synthesis? Do you think we're completely devoid of individual influence?
Actually, when I really think about it it's very very likely a lot of the things I've said in this discussion has just been a super-size serving of sour grapes. I mean, I've criticized other authors for something they wrote two years ago while I haven't even finished the one story arc I've been working on the last year... all this is probably just a quite a lot of sub-conscious jealousy that I've brain-vomited up. :shock:

If anything this is a sign that I need to get off my ass and start writing some really... if I really have this unusual insight into what makes a good story work and new original ideas, then I'm probably supposed to be setting an example by writing a story of my own using all that I've come up with before criticizing other authors for doing things by - gasp - their own standards. Pretty sure I'd come up with something different from what I used to write too. At the very least I'm in no place to call other authors lazy. :lol:
What if a story is pure fun and follows a genre formula or adheres to existing conventions? :P Those two aren't mutually exclusive and, likewise, nobody has said that non-formulaic literature can't be fun.

None of the rest of us have said anything about the aristic merit (or whatever) of things, you're the only one who's branding and judging things to be meritful or demeritful.

Seems like a case of blackwhite absolutism, IMO.
Yeah... and that's before we get to how, really, originality is a relative size that depends completely on whatever historical and cultural context you're in. I mean, adventurer archeologists were dime a dozen in the 1930s but in the 1980s that character archetype had fallen so out of use that when Raiders of the Lost Ark had such a protagonist it felt refreshing and new. Likewise, here's an example to demonstrate the cultural axis: In the 1990s westerners thought anime was really innovative and took chances Western film and TV didn't, but now that more and more anime has been imported it's now plainly obvious that the Japanese writers just use a different set of clichés than those on the other side of the globe.
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Re: A SRS BSNSS Idealogue on the Originality of Genre Convention

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:41 pm

Yeah. Anyway, before making blanket blackwhite absolutist statements on things you haven't reviewed on or done homework on and stuff, I'd suggest checking yourself beforehand and stuff.

As for animu:
PREGRIN wrote: In the 1990s westerners thought anime was really innovative and took chances Western film and TV didn't, but now that more and more anime has been imported it's now plainly obvious that the Japanese writers just use a different set of clichés than those on the other side of the globe.
Or that the vast majority of shit is actually crap? None of that changes the fact that some of the animus in the 90s and 80s were genuinely innovative and took chances that other mediums didn't, and that fact still applies today - even though I'm the first person to go "LOL ANIMUS/MANGERS" at guys like 'FROD FROD FROD'.

Goddamn, FROD. I wonder what he'd think of this whole discussion. He'd laugh at us.
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Re: A SRS BSNSS Idealogue on the Originality of Genre Convention

Post by Peregrin » Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:56 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:Yeah. Anyway, before making blanket blackwhite absolutist statements on things you haven't reviewed on or done homework on and stuff, I'd suggest checking yourself beforehand and stuff.
That's a factor too. ;)
Or that the vast majority of shit is actually crap? None of that changes the fact that some of the animus in the 90s and 80s were genuinely innovative and took chances that other mediums didn't, and that fact still applies today - even though I'm the first person to go "LOL ANIMUS/MANGERS" at guys like 'FROD FROD FROD'.
What I meant is that back in the 1990s it was mostly only the really good anime that got imported, stuff from the 10% of really good stuff but now crappy anime gets imported too... and, hey, some of the anime we got in the 1990s also initially looked better than it actually was because of the novelty factor. So, well, on my side of the planet we got the impression that anime was on average more original.
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Re: A SRS BSNSS Idealogue on the Originality of Genre Convention

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:00 pm

Peregrin wrote:What I meant is that back in the 1990s it was mostly only the really good anime that got imported, stuff from the 10% of really good stuff but now crappy anime gets imported too... and, hey, some of the anime we got in the 1990s also initially looked better than it actually was because of the novelty factor. So, well, on my side of the planet we got the impression that anime was on average more original.
It is not surprising that as the market is opened wider, more products of varying quality will be imported and introduced.

If you imported more brands of American shoes, you would be receiving brands and products with qualities that differ from the Nikes that previously were the only brands you imported.

If you imported more brands of Japanese electronics, you would be receiving brands and products with qualities that also differ from the Nintendoos and Sonys that were previously the main stuff you receive from the Jappos.
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Re: A SRS BSNSS Idealogue on the Originality of Genre Convention

Post by Siege » Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:37 am

I'm not sure I'm the only one but I'd just like to get this out there: I personally don't give a toss about 'genre conventions', 'cliches' or 'tropes'. I write stories that I personally like writing, with characters I personally find engaging, and plots I personally think are interesting. I hope that people like 'em, and if they do that's pretty swell; it doesn't go any deeper than that. If those stories in some way happen to be similar to other stories, then that's all right with me, and if people don't like 'em because they resemble some other story in some way, that's just tough on them.

This talk about conventions and cliches to me just sounds like people putting way too much thought into what they're writing or reading. Honestly, if you're reading a gripping thriller are you really going to care about what genre it fits in, or whether it adheres to some particular trope, subverted or not? Why should I care whether a story is "post-beatnik" or whatever? Who-ever cares about pointless classifications like that anyway? A good story is still a good story, and damn the conventions. I honestly don't care if the subject matter is the biggest cliche in literary history as long as the story is gripping.

Hell some of the best fantasy I've ever read can be boiled down to tired old cliches like "the revolution devours its own children", but did I care about that when I read Iron Council and a bunch of golemetrists were making their way through the Cacotopic Stain? Fuck no! I knew the quest was doomed basically from the first page (this being Mieville and all), but that didn't detract from the story at all because it was written in an engaging manner. Entertainment is really all that matters. Mobius said this already and I agree entirely: everything else is just tacked on and, in the grand scheme of things, not nearly as relevant.
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Re: A SRS BSNSS Idealogue on the Originality of Genre Convention

Post by Heretic » Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:46 am

I couldn't agree more. Was trying to say that in my earlier posts, but having uber lousy grammar, probably didn't make myself clear.

Awesome statement, SIege!
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Re: A SRS BSNSS Idealogue on the Originality of Genre Convention

Post by Magister Militum » Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:26 am

I've been keeping my nose out of this debate since I stumbled upon it too late and felt that everyone else summed up my position (that, and studying for a midterm), but now, as a participant of Comix!, I feel I have to weigh in somewhat. Like Siege, I feel that this whole argument, besides being irreverent due to the fact that it's based on concepts that are now outdated, is pointless. Genre conventions and whatever else you care to mention are nice and all, but I frankly could are less to tell the truth. So what if a story is ultimately based on a cliché? Does that somehow immediately invalidate excellent characterization, a gripping plot, or the general excellence of the story? Of course not. Invalidating or glossing over what amounts to an excellent and entertaining story just because of the use of clichés or genre conventions just comes off as snobbish elitism to me.
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Re: A SRS BSNSS Idealogue on the Originality of Genre Convention

Post by Dakarne » Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:18 pm

I've been a bit too busy to comment prior to this, but I feel I must speak out as a student of English literature myself, who actually does study the genre conventions as a matter of course. If only to clear up a few misconceptions. As many other more informed literature students can tell you, it's not about being snobbish in judgement of a particular story or trope or concept, and it's not even about making many judgements on the actual quality of the work based on these. Certainly, you recognise archetypes and clichés but you don't judge a work for having them; you merely recognise that they're there and then analyse what these archetypes mean to the story as a whole, almost always using one of the theoretical models like post-structuralism, feminism or Marxism.

Now, that isn't necessarily saying that a story is Marxist, feminist or post-structuralist, though it might be, it's actually analysing the story's themes from a particular framework and commonly-accepted literary viewpoint. A feminist critique of Twilight is still doing the same basic thing as a feminist critique of something like Harry Potter or Earthsea. It's analysing the role of women and gender roles within the story. You do not judge the stories from the concept of a review, but merely analyse the themes and see what you find out about the book. And more importantly, you recognise that this is an after-the-fact thought; you're analysing a work that has already been written, not inserting deliberate themes or genre conventions into a work that you are yourself writing.

That said, what Peregrin is doing here is not what literature is, and is far too caught up in the TV Tropes and Wikipedia view of things, and also passing judgement on things he obviously doesn't even know the actual details of and blithely making statements on the quality and popularity of various things without actually stopping to think about the various other factors involved. This is what we like to call being a complete moron. Stop it. Now.
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Re: A SRS BSNSS Idealogue on the Originality of Genre Convention

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:12 pm

Yeah. I totally blame TVTropes for this. I mean, shit, they want to categorize all shit into cliches and tropes and crap and invite everyone to put in his or her favorite dumb obscure animu into every page about xyz genre convention. And then they love to cite their lol sub-wiki-standard articles whenever discussing shit.

After people call out these Tropers on their shit being sub-standard analysis involving everyone just lol putting the crap they think is kewl into their lol articles, these Tropers end up going "oh lol TVTroping is just for fun lol don't be so SRS BSNSS" lol.

LULZ
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Re: A SRS BSNSS Idealogue on the Originality of Genre Convention

Post by Siege » Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:04 pm

To be fair there are 'tropes' that can be listed, be they 'knight in shining armor', 'damsel in distress' or 'gnarly old wizard' -- there's nothing wrong with listing examples of these. It's when you begin judging stories by the number of tropes, cliches or other perceived literary tricks that you're going astray. Because, like Dakarne also mentioned, it's fine to take note of these things when they are present in a story, but it's quite something else when you use them as part of some bizarre judgement system.
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Re: A SRS BSNSS Idealogue on the Originality of Genre Convention

Post by Peregrin » Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:59 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:Yeah. I totally blame TVTropes for this. I mean, shit, they want to categorize all shit into cliches and tropes and crap and invite everyone to put in his or her favorite dumb obscure animu into every page about xyz genre convention. And then they love to cite their lol sub-wiki-standard articles whenever discussing shit.

After people call out these Tropers on their shit being sub-standard analysis involving everyone just lol putting the crap they think is kewl into their lol articles, these Tropers end up going "oh lol TVTroping is just for fun lol don't be so SRS BSNSS" lol.

LULZ
Actually, the source for most of the opinions I've voiced in this thread has nothing to do with TVtropes: It's Steven Grant's column Permanent Damage at ComicBookResources which I read regularly.
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