Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Story Telling: No-nos.

As a bit of a writing critic (self-proclaimed, of course) There are a few things in literature, anime, cartoons, movies, comics, and of course fan-written things that just irk me to death. So here is a list of a few things that need to stop happening (barring mary-sues, whom I will address sometime when I have a lot of time and aspirin).

1. Flashbacks-within-flashbacks. I have seen this in cartoons executed quite well, and when it is done well you tend to not notice it. However I have also executed it poorly. Seeing it executed poorly is like seeing Inception within Lost within the Matrix. It will get confusing if you go deep enough. As a good rule it's best not to do that, but when it's done well it's great for a story. I've seen it done well twice, and both times by Batman cartoons. I'd like to think there's a correlation.

2. Extensive dialect. There's nothing wrong with dialect, of course. it's just that when it gets incredibly heavy it also gets incredibly unreadable. It's flow-breaking and painful. In auditory mediums it's not so bad, and can be really helpful, but in literature: Please. Moderate accents, not heavy dialect.

3. Predictable lines when I can sit and barely listen to a movie, but predict not only the plot, but the character's lines before they say them: SOMETHING IS WRONG. Dear media: PLEASE FIX THIS. It is funny the first few times, but after a while it's painful. AND NO I WILL NOT SEE "BEASTLY"! It's beauty and the beast! There's no change to it, that's WHAT IT IS. At least TRY to be creative! Avatar has NO excuse, it was in development since the Titanic, they should have had a GOOD story to release, not pretty drivel. PRETTY DRIVEL IS STILL DRIVEL. But that is a rant for another time.

4. Stock characters Tell me if you've heard this one before: The gun/muscle, the brains, the driver, and the sexy female all work together to plan a heist/save the world/ whatever adventure needs doing. Sometimes the characters pull double shifts (gun is also the driver, or brain is also girl, etc.) but it's usually pretty standard. And it's also usually pretty simple. It's standard, but it's going to get boring if it isn't already.
I'm combining cardboard romances here, too, because I've already done a post on them.

5. Computer-Generated Imagery. Dear movie makers: BY VICTORIA'S PINK PRADA CUT THIS CRAP OUT. CGI is only acceptable for Pixar. Representing humans in CGI looks terrible if it isn't cartoony, Mars Needs Moms looks terrible and has a pitiful premise, aliens aren't cool anymore, mixing CGI with real actors looks horrible, and the biggest thing: STOP RE-MAKING OLD SERIES' WITH CGI. Alvin and the Chipmunks, Scooby Doo, Yogi Bear, Garfield, and a few others that slip my mind. It is always mortifying seeing my old favorite cartoons be BUTCHERED by bad CGI and worse writing. It needs to stop. RIGHT NOW.

So there's my evening rant for you all. Now for some slightly belated sleep.


  1. The sad (maybe) thing is that stock characters are sometimes the most realistic characters. Look at any group of people and you'll see we fall into roles. The trick is to not stick the character with the PERSONALITY characterized and stereotyped by their general build or intelligence level. For example, maybe the brains of the outfit ISN'T a wimp; perhaps the sadistic character likes white roses; or could not the strongman, just for once, want to be loved not because he just saw that pretty chick on the side of the road, but because he just loves that machine gun sooo much that he can't in good concience decide definitively between that which he has relied upon so heavily and the (*secretly* assertive) woman who contributes fully to the party goal.

    As for CGI: if they spent the money they put in CGI on getting Spielburg to make more cartoons, we wouldn't have to worry about remakes of our favorite cartoons and we'd get more Freakazoid. Double win. Triple if you count the fact a viewer would get the satisfaction of actually KNOWING the person on screen is really there.

  2. Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it!
    I love your idea, by the way. A Freakazoid movie/continuing cartoon series in exchange for lousy CGI sounds brilliant! Spielberg can do humor better than just about anyone in the cartooning business, that's for sure. I see what you mean about the real-life/character archetype thing, though. Who hasn't compared themselves to the archetypes before?