Episode 499 - Life's worth?!

Oct 5, 2020

What is the worth of human life in your stories? This isn't something people often consider, we just tend to have a fairly accurate guess based on our experience of the real world, but sometimes stories get it really wrong and that can harm suspension of disbelief.

Topics and Show Notes

A few prime examples are gritty SciFi stories, westerns, war stories, and hospital dramas.
The first three dramatically undervalue human life so it doesn't make logical sense within the world it depicts: In deep space human life would be extremely valuable because it's a rare and practically non-renewable resource. The only way that changes is when you run out of survival resources (air, water, food) or it's a life or death situation, a casual attitude to life though doesn't make sense. In the old west it was the same situation for other reasons, murderers would be tracked down for thousands of miles and across many decades, the only exception was native Americans who shamefully weren't considered people for all intents and purposes, even slaves had more value. In war stories, especially historical ones, typically soldiers have no real survival instinct or self worth, they're happy to always fight to the last and run headfirst to their deaths, which is silly since battles were usually won when one side broke and ran after only a few deaths. Full scale slaughter only happened rarely and that was usually when the fleeing side was caught or captured.

Finally, hospital dramas tend to overestimate the value of life, where all stops are pulled out to save people who society doesn't value and can't afford to pay for the expensive and experimental treatments (with hundreds of thousands dollars worth of care given to them), or people too sick or old are given care they'd never recover from.

There are a lot of complex factors that influence the value of life in a story actually (emotional attachment, status, class, caste, gender, religion, politics, scope etc), but it's important not to get it too badly wrong or your story won't work as well.

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Era of Iridore - Come through the sweeping tapestry curtains of copper and silicone, into the vast techno hall, past lords and ladies bedecked in flashing LEDs of many colours, knights fencing with glowing plasma blades, jesters toying with antigrav balls, and watch the minstrels play their laser harps and electric lutes!

Topics and shownotes

Links
Life's worth thread - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/forum/topic/178520

Featured comic:
Raising Cain - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/sep/29/featured-comic-raising-cain/

Featured music:
Era of Iridore - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Era_of_Iridore/, by Deno 85, rated M.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/

Remember to join us for Quackcast 500 on Saturday!!!
- https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/oct/04/quackcast-500-show-your-love-for-the-d/

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Episode 482 - 2n Guess

Jun 7, 2020

2 likes, 2 comments

Tantz's newspost on Saturday about the problems of second guessing yourself and the issues that can arise from that was the inspiration for this week's newspost. Second guessing yourself can have GOOD possibilities and negative ones. The good: it forces you to hone your creative work and improve it, you don't just put things out there, you evaluate them and improve them! The bad: you can get stuck in a loop where you keep on thinking your stuff is not good enough, you might get hung up on one little thing and never move past it.

Episode 414 - Bad Hollywood

Feb 18, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

Hollywood has a tendency to simplify or completely alter stories to make them more mainstream and appealing to their idea of a popular audience. In this Quackcast we thought it'd be fun to run with that idea and re-imagine our works for “Hollywood”.

Episode 405 - Escape from Tumblr!

Dec 16, 2018

2 likes, 5 comments

On the 18th of December people who post things with nudity on Tumblr will be kicked off the site. That means all the adult bloggers, comicers and things that made that journalling site stand out above the rest of the vast sea of blog sites and image hosts are being screwed out of what they helped build up! The reason of course is to make the site more attractive to advertisers and so it can more easily fit the standards of puritanical companies like Apple and Google who have taken it upon themselves to scrub the world clean of anything that defines us as adult human beings.

Episode 404 - Strong characters

Dec 10, 2018

3 likes, 0 comments

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.

Episode 370 - deadlines Vs taking time and the good the bad and grey

Apr 16, 2018

3 likes, 2 comments

In today's Quackcast we talk about a couple of subjects: Doing things at the last minute VS doing them slowly, over time. Sometimes you get that wonderful last minute energy caused by a deadline, your work can be inspired, or at least fresh and full of vibrancy. Other times it's rough and unfinished looking, amateurish. Work done over a long time can be honed to a diamond edge, exquisitely put together like a Faberge egg, a work of art! Other times it can be like a warmed over mess, redone and redone till any spark of originality and freshness is washed out of the grey goop you're left with. We chat about Tantz's Saturday newspost subject of Black and White Vs Grey: bad guys can be totally bad without humanising them and good guys can be totally good, without stain or tarnish and yet both can be interesting and the story can be great. Grey isn't always better. This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Empress Mother Earths Handmaiden: A dark, intense foreboding and forbidding intro leads you deep into a beautiful rose coloured cave of glowing wonder and joy. We finish up with a lovely lilt on a harp!

Episode 336 - Side romance

Aug 21, 2017

3 likes, 0 comments

Romances don't always have to be the main focus of a story, infact you can have richer, more interesting romances if they occur in support of a bigger plot issue. It can lend them and the story more weight if they're in a secondary position. Characters can form natural, less forced relationships with each other, and this can give the wider plot of the story more urgency or meaning because it has a direct bearing on the health of their union. You can reward fans with a wished for or unexpected blossoming of love between two favourite characters without having the same inevitability that a straight out romance has. Really, there are so many things you can do! This was inspired by Tantz's Saturday newspost. Gunwallace's theme for the week was for Mindfold: A tune that fits very well with its title! You can feel your mind folding with this gorgeous, echoing, evocative multicultural influenced sound, featuring all manner of crystalline ringing synths, soaring violins, drums and so much more. This would fit well with a high concept cyberpunk anime.

Episode 311 - Myth and modernity

Feb 20, 2017

5 likes, 0 comments

Myths and legends are often recycled and reused, but why would you adapt them to the modern day? This idea came to us from Tantz Aerine and her great news posts on the last two Saturdays. Read those if you want a good perspective on the idea! Ptface, Tantz, Banes, and I explore all the interesting TV shows and movies that have variations on the idea, everything from Cool Hand Luke to Ulysses 31! Music: Life and Death - Light hearted lyrics and classical vaudevillian comical ukulele mixed with synth in the best tradition of flight of the Conchords… but this is Gunwallace!


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