Apr 5, 2020
In this Quackcast we talk about the differences between genre and setting and what genre really is. For instance: Fantasy and SciFi aren't genres, they're settings… Mostly. It's complicated but they both pretty much USED to be genres, now they're mainly just settings for genre stories to take place in. What does that mean? Well, Fantasy wasn't even considered a genre back in the day, not really till after the success of Tolkien. Later on a lot of writers began using that same style and consumers really wanted it, so it became a “genre”. It was only later on when it graduated out of that to become a setting that has genre stories set within it.
Topics and Show Notes
Scifi was much the same. We backdate the “genre” to Mary Shelly, Jules Verne, HG Wells etc, but that's actually a little silly. SciFi was invented back in the 1920s by publisher Hugo Gernsback as a niche marketing term for his pulp magazines. He bundled together a whole bunch of futuristic stories and works of speculative fiction to sell under that name and created a market for it. That created the genre that people started to write within and to. Now however SciFi is really just a setting that has genre stories within it: detective fiction, nior, action, romance, Western, apocalypse, etc.
This happens when the genre becomes so diverse and ubiquitous that the commonality between stories within it becomes less important than the differences- i.e. the fact that a story is a romance is more significant than the fact it's set in the future, we really don't care too much about the future setting. While in the past it's that future setting which would have been the main selling point.
Think of it in terms of anime, if you have a good familiarity with it. Years ago people thought of anime as a monolithic “genre”, with all the cartoons roughly sharing a lot of themes and styles. This was mainly because only a small amount of it got exported to the west. Now however a massive amount is available and it's very easy to see how different it is. Now “Anime” really only indicates where the cartoon came from, not what kind of product you're going to get.
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Just wanna do porn webcomics - A dark room, the air is warm and close. Sweat, passion, heat… the only sound is heavy breathing… as the webcomicer furiously draws the latest issue of their racy webcomic! A lot of moans, vocal distortion and sexy synth music in this one.
Topics and shownotes
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Banes Newspost, webcomics and genre - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/mar/31/webcomics-and-genre/
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Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/
Mar 23, 2020
Today we're having a chat about fantasy fiction! Mainly books and the fantasy writing that inspired us and that we love! Faves like Tolkien, Fritz Leiber and Piers Anthony! Just to define, we're talking swords, elves, armour, dragons etc, in a “medieval” context, generally European. As a subset there's native, Arabian, Asian, Mayan etc, also high fantasy, low fantasy, sword and sorcery, historical fantasy and even mythology…. And then techno fantasy, contemporary fantasy, steampunk, fantasy cyberpunk and so on… but we mainly stick to the mainstream stuff and only just touch on the weird little variations for now.
Dec 10, 2018
We mined Tantz's Saturday newspost for our discussion topic: Strong characters and how to write GOOD ones! What is a strong character? Well it has nothing to do with physical ability, power, command, or anything so obvious and trite. Strong characters are well rounded and well realised, they're often active and opposed to reactive, they make things happen, the story hinges on them. Failed attempts at “strong” characters or obvious and often result in Mary Sues, whether male or female. People hand them traits that they THINK will make the character strong: make them a general, make them a great fighter, make them royalty etc. The problem comes when none of that is ever logically backed up in the story. You can't just title a character something or have other characters talk about how great they are without having them demonstrate a reason for it, or else all you have is a pathetic paper tiger and a really shizzy failed part of your story.
Dec 5, 2017
We asked for scripts and we got 'em! We have five different scripts in this Quackcast performed by the Quackcast players: A realistic, dramatic one to start with Usedbooks where murder is on the menu. Yuki, played by Pitface, is doing a bit of detective work, questioning her dangerous brother Lee, played by Banes. Crater's Edge gives up a dose of fantasy and monsters. Keego, played by Ozoneocean, is a young boy looking after his ailing mother, played by Tantz Aerine. Daryl and Susie is all about gentle comedy. Daryl, played by Pitface, is a dragon with monsters in his head and he lives with a mischievous 9 year old girl named Susie, played by Banes. Constellation Chronicles gives us dark, scary SciFi. Wainwright, played by Ozoneocean, with Marcel, played by Tantz, are two astronauts investigating a mysterious distress signal from an old drifting derelict space hulk… We finish up with The KAMics for a dose of satirical comedy! It's awards time at the Muzzy Mallard and Rosemary, played by Tantz, and Beth, played by Pit, are up for some honours… or are they? It was a lot of fun to act these out! We can't wait to do more. They all have SFX and we've tried to do as good a job as possible on them. Please send us more scripts based on your comics so we can bring your work to life, just contact me directly to find where to send them! Have a look at the link to the newspost on scripts bellow to know what to include with your script. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to The Cosmic Star: Fly on out into the deepest reaches of far outer space with us. This tune will groove you on out there smoothly, past glittering star systems and vast, swirling galaxies. Just lie back, get comfortable, relax, close your eyes and let the universe roll on by…
Mar 13, 2017
When heroes fail… Hey, why would you ever want a hero to fail? Well there are a lot of reasons and listening to this Quackcast will tell you why, but the quick version is that you don't want your hero to be a perfect Mary-Sue sort of character. Having your hero fail in their goals means you have somewhere interesting to go with your story. Having your hero fail emotionally means you can give them character development and make them more interesting. If you want to learn more then either listen to us or have a look at Tantz's newspost where I took the idea from! Our music this week from our resident composer Gunwallace is a theme to The World Outside of Time. It evokes a cold, echoing club scene, bleak and icy, with the promise of brief companionship, but not the reality.
Apr 6, 2015
After several interesting discussions about Mary Sues, we'd like to talk about characters a little more. We asked people to let us know their thoughts on what makes a well written character VS a poorly written one. People talked about their favourite and least favourite characters in fiction and why they dug or don't dig them… as well as their own characters and how they put them together! Banes and I blather on a lot so this will be a multi-parter as we talk about what makes good characters. And as usual there's the great theme by Gunwallace! This time a classical number for the Adult comic Tina's Story.
Mar 23, 2015
Hello hello hello! This week Ozoneocean and Banes pirate another of HippieVan's much discussed newsposts. When the test for Mary Sue was brought up in our recent writing tests Quackcast it generated some heated talk so HippieVan went a little deeper into it and people responded again. Banes and I discuss those responses and try to come up with some sort of consensus on how to more properly use the Mary Sue test and some of its pitfalls: i.e. it's highly context sensitive and can't be used easily on certain genres (Superhero etc), it's also something you as a writer typically don't have to worry about unless you're inexperienced- or so Banes and I believe.
Mar 1, 2015
In this Quackcast Banes and I discuss some methods for testing your writing, well mainly your characters, to see how well you really know them. We use a comedic character creation template that we have found is perfect for testing and learning more about your established characters, no matter how serious they are. It consists of four interrelated elements: Point of view; Exaggeration of the point of view; Faults; Relatability / Humanity. We also talk a little about the dreaded dangers of the Mary Sue... you never want your writing to fall in that putrid, cancerous hole of smelly excrement where your main character is perfect and all the others worship them. And lastly the very useful Bechdel test for seeing how rounded your female characters are. There are 3 rules: You have to have at least two named women; They who talk to each other; It's about something besides a man. We were both a bit sad about the death of Leonard Nimoy. R.I.P. Mister Spock.