Writing the Right Details


#1

With NaNoWriMo around the corner, I half expected to see more posts on the nuts and bolts of writing. So here’s one.

What kinds of details do you like to see in IF (or fiction in general)? It seems like it’s the little things that bring stories to life. For example, I like the effort that goes into describing the set pieces in Ratings War, and the way the author uses details from the MC’s surroundings to build a picture of the larger cyberpunk world they are in.

Another example: my favorite thing about the Harry Potter books? The names. When you first meet Albus Dumbledore, you already have a good idea of what kind of person he is. He is an Albus Dumbledore, and a particularly good one.

A CS game presents a player with casts of characters, worlds to explore, and rooms full of all kinds of stuff. How do you decide which little things to write about, and how do you to describe them?


#2

Flawed characters.
It’s one thing that sticks out the most to me in any story regardless of the medium. When characters are without personality or physical flaws.

I’ve no interest in perfection. In fact I don’t believe in it so when I come across a good 2D character Ala prince charming the whole thing loses a little color.

Flaws make characters relatable and create opportunities to like or dislike them. And investing in characters emotionally is the name of the game;)

Even the main character should have some humanizing flaw doesn’t have to be tragic or crippling. Just something that makes them a Lil more believable. Though a good chunk of authors know this and I salute you;)


#3

You know I think you would like the “Prince of Thorns” books by Mike Lawrence. The very definition of a flawed character.


#4

I probably would😆

My favorite fiction usually has terribly flawed folks in it. It’s also why I prefer a good villain to a hero.

Which is another point I can bring up coincidentally the above flaws and humanizing applies to Villains and antagonists as much as MC’s and NPC’s.

Very few GOOD antagonists do things JUST BECAUSE. There is almost always a reason for it some of the worst people in history acted out of righteous intention. Doing what they ‘knew’ was right but perception’s funny like that.
Most villains don’t see themselves as evil by the by. Sure they look like that but it’s a matter of perspective and the fact that the winners write history doesn’t make them the good guys either but they like to paint it that way.

Although there are cases of dehumanizing factors that make some villains that much more terrifying. Mystery and the unknoqn are really helpful there… Balance I suppose.

Long story short shallow villains are worse than shallow supporting cast.
Don’t believe me? How cool would Batman be if there was no Joker.


#5

Actually, I always considered the Joker to be a very shallow villain. He works as a foil to Batman because so many details are left out. Batman’s motivations are complex, involving loss, guilt, morality, and the incredible wealth necessary to enact power fantasies of justice and revenge. He’s a flawed hero.

What’s the Joker’s motivation? He’s crazy! That’s about it. He has several origin stories, no name (I think one origin story called him “Jack”), and no apparent goal other than to cause mayhem. Is that a flawed villain or a perfect one?

@Imon Are you talking about Jorg from Prince of Thorns? If so, “flawed” might be an understatement. I read a review of the first one, but not the book itself. The review suggested that it’s not for people who like women who are not raped and/or murdered, because except for some prostitutes there aren’t any. (Though it does have, according to the review, “some damn good writing.”)


#6

In the majority you’re quite right. A lot of comic writers don’t see the layers they just see the crazy fun clown. Which is unfortunate. A victim of bad writing as any comic character has suffered at one time or another. Too many fingers in the bread.

Batman is rather simple in my opinion, he’s obsessive compulsive to an extreme and given direction by anger and revenge. What are complex are his personal skills and methods, he’s pretty straight forward in the motivation department.

In that regard Joker and Bats have the compulsion thing in common but with a different target. The only thing Joker gives a damn about is Batman, everything he does is ‘for’ or about him.

The actors portrayal of him border on brilliance in my opinion but vary on motivations.
Mark Hamil had a very interesting perspective on him. An under appreciated genius trying to impress the only person that matters to him. Which is tragic because Batman would never really ‘get the joke’ so to speak. His flaw is this obsession but is dehumanized by mystery making him less a man and more a chaotic force which is why some of the better villains leave less explained because understanding of them makes them less imposing, but it depends on the type of villain you’re aiming for.

Villains are commonly seen as read between the lines type characters. Ledger’s Joker was fixated on one particular goal. Batman trying to rid Gotham of crime staying within rules (a form of control) doesn’t work, the only way to change things is chaos. He was proving a point to Batman, that’s all that matters to the Joker, ever in any story line, getting ‘his’ point across.

Just because the reason’s aren’t apparent doesn’t mean their aren’t any. Think of a magic trick, its awesome until you figure out how its done, then its kinda… "meh I could do that."
Joker is Flawed because his goal can never be achieved, like I said earlier Batman will never ‘get the joke’ and due to Bruce’s own twisted big brain he never will get it, Bats is a control-freak on a scary level so the concept of chaos being a benefit will never sit right.


#7

There was only one rape by the main character himself and yeah he’s pretty shit but you still end up rooting for him. Damn good writing indeed