Aug 19, 2019
Today we compare and contrast two ways of making characters: starting with a pure archetype and building it with tropes, or creating a character organically through circumstance and interaction with other characters.
Topics and Show Notes
Quackcast 440 has the full crew of Ozoneocean, Banes, Pitface and Tantz! Our description of the two types of characterisation are are probably artificial extremes but it helps to see the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Some advantages to starting with archetypes and building traits with pre-defined tropes are that it's very quick, very easy and you can create something you know for sure your audience will understand and resonate with! Disadvantages are that you risk making stale characters: either by creating a cliché or by sticking too closely to your archetype (as you're always tempted to do when you make a character this way), and not allowing the character to evolve, change out of it and escape it. You generally want to return them to “true”.
A good use for this approach are quickly made side characters who won't be around long, characters in a short-form or one-off story, or sitcom characters where you have to quickly get the audience to like them.
building a character organically over the course of a story through interaction and circumstance is harder and takes longer, but give you a changeable character that grows with your audience and who your audience grows to love! …if they can invest the time. The disadvantage here is that often you can't afford that time. This is better for long-form stories, dramas and novels.
In reality most of the time you'll use a mixture of the two approaches, often starting out with a reasonably defined character with a few traits in place, who grows as the story progresses and is changed by what happens to them and around them. That's a good, balanced way to do things, though short stories and side characters benefit from tropes.
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Ice Massacre: A quiet, contemplative meditation on the vastness of space and time. Gentle ripples of sound lap against and wash over you… building slowly and then receding back into the ocean of time. Percussive tinkles glitter within the flow, like unusual seashells or sparkling pieces of colourful coral. For a moment they catch your eye, only to disappear again forever in the wash of sound.
Topics and shownotes
The Mystic from Wanzerbe - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/aug/13/featured-comic-the-mystic-from-wanzerbe/
Ice Massacre - - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Ice_Massacre/, by Icemassacre, rated T.
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Pitface - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes
kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/
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Jul 29, 2019
Today we cover the interesting trope of the “old warrior”. This was based upon a newspost Banes came up with last week. He was thinking of Captain Picard in the latest Star Trek series and he also brought up Luke Skywalker from the latest Star Wars movie. The “Old Warrior” makes a really cool protagonist, in this Quackcast we try and discover why that is…
Jun 17, 2019
This Quackcast is about having political agendas in your work and expressing them well! We're talking about deliberately putting in ideas that you want to get across to people, NOT the idea that all work has agendas and ideas no matter what. That's not relevant to this discussion. When you want to want to get your ideas across there are good ways to do it and poor ways. When you do it poorly your work either has the opposite effect (people will laugh at your agenda or despise it), or it becomes propaganda. Propaganda is for preaching to the converted, it's terrible for changing minds. The only thing it's good for is motivating people who are already on-board with you.
May 20, 2019
Betrayal is an interesting thing to use in fiction. You can have betrayal of your nation, your organisation, friends, lovers, religion, beliefs, self. In stories it can be used to add a nasty twist or completely change the flow of events and alter the balance of power in a dramatic way! It can be devastating in relationships. The story of Judas betraying Christ for 30 pieces of silver is one of the most famous betrayal stories and became so iconic that the phrase “30 pieces of silver” or just the word “Judas” became synonymous with the act. Of course the inspiration for the best treachery and betrayal comes from real life and the names of the betrayers often echo down through history. IFrom Rome we have Brutus, in the USA the name “Benedict Arnold” has a similar meaning to “Judas”, the 20th century gave us the term “quisling” after the Norwegian political leader Vidkun Quisling who sold his country out to the Nazis.
May 6, 2019
In this Quackcast we chat about set-ups. pay-offs, and rip-offs. To make your climaxes and endings more satisfying you have pay-offs for audience expectations: set them up in the story and pay them off at the end. If you fail to pay-off then you get a rip-off, it's pretty simple. Your audience will be really disappointed. That's not to say disappointing and unsatisfying ends to stories are wrong, not at all! Often those are fully intended. We're just talking about satisfying audiences, not “good” endings.
Apr 29, 2019
On one side we have creators of content and on the other we have the consumers. The consumers number in their billions and they're voraciously hungry for constant stimulation! Pretty much all creators are consumers too… So why don't they want the beautifully made, clever, spicy, artisanal dish you're selling? Why do they prefer the nice, bland, familiar mass-market high in fat, sugar and salt fast-food of the mainstream instead?
Apr 22, 2019
What's your favourite weapon in fiction? Mine are ridiculously giant swords, huge anti-tank rifles, and mecha. There are a lot of complex reasons for weapon choices in fiction, a Kalashnikov assault rifles for example signals certain things about the person carrying it: They're usually a bad guy for a start. This originated during the cold war, with certain types of bad guys using AKs. First it was Soviet Bloc soldiers, then it was Viet Con and rebels from South East Asia, then it became the “terrorist” weapon. The sub machine gun is the weapon of the bad guy. Terrorists used to use Uzis (before they turned to AKs), bank robbers used to use Mac 10s, now it's the HK MP5. Good guys carry an M-16 or AR-15 rifle. In historical fiction traditionally the bad guys carries curved swords while the good guys had straight swords, this came from crusades. Minor characters carry spears and heroes carry swords. Women, weaker characters and rebels carry bows. Giant swords and guns are often given to smaller characters in anime (usually female), as an obvious contrast with their small size. It's meant to emphasis the fact they're sort of a “mighty mouse”.