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Tutorial Writers' Wretreat or Crytics' Crypt? (love needed)

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by spawning of Bob, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Troglodon

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    New topik.

    How do you counter Writer's Block?

    Personally, i like to divide a short story, or a chapter of an on going saga, into sections. If said sections are incredibly comprehensive, i like to divide the comprehensive sections into smaller sub-sections, and finish one of them a day.

    Also music.
     
  2. Scalenex
    OldBlood

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    You figure it out. Let me know. I've tried everything.

    I like Derek and Brandon Flechter's music compilations. Also you click on one of his themed lists Youtube will show you similar thngs from other artists. I've been listening to a lot of Wild West themed music lately.
     
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  3. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Troglodon

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Alrighty, kewl.

    I normally try to to listen to music that houses the same tone i'm trying to create, and then try to translate it into writing.

    nothing
    in
    particular

    Also, i have the the same first name as that last guy o.0


    Hmm. I tried reading other peoples' stuff for indirect inspiration (being inspired from other peoples' work, but creating something entirely different).

    Also, as of now at least, I don't fully plan everything in a story, but rather create one-two liner summaries for each chapter (or part of a story if it's a short story). It allows me to know what to do next, while at the same time, not wither away my interest in writing it. If everything's too much planned, i find that it saps away creative juices, and inspiration once you finally reach that plot point or whatever that has been carefully planned.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  4. Scalenex
    OldBlood

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    New Discussion Topic: Compelling villains

    I tend to watch action movies, especially Superhero movies. Generally speaking what sets a good action movie from a bad one is whether there is a compelling villain or a boring villain.

    There is an expression "Every villain is the hero of it's own story."

    I'm going to get some caveats out of the way.

    First I don't believe that literally every villain should think of himself or herself as a hero. This is a guideline, not a rule. It is possible to have a good story with a villain that sees himself as a villain or doesn't care.

    Second, you can have a good story without any villains at all.

    Third, most short stories don't have enough space to fully characterize a hero and a villain unless the whole point of the story is to mirror them against each other.



    So one thing I have thought was that it's harder to make a villain who think he or she is a hero in Warhammer.

    -Orcs and Goblins are nearly always portrayed as murdering and vandalizing things for fun.
    -Ogres may be trying to feed their families but cannibalism is one of the scariest things and deepest taboos in human culture. "We're just hungry" only goes so far.
    -The Chaos gods have an "Evil is Good" religion.
    -Dark Elves glorify torture and pain

    I could go on, but I think Warhammer (both classic and Age of Sigmar) gives us less to work with for villain motivations than most.

    Then I thought back to iconic fantasy stories. The Lord of the Rings is probably the most influential fantasy epic of all time. Sauron is not especially nuanced and he probably doesn't think he is the hero in his own mind.

    The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe is also pretty iconic. I don't think the witch there has any real nuance.

    Maybe fantasy works best with archetypal villains that really are pure evil. Then again, one could easily make a case that Gollum/Smeogal certainly sees himself as the hero in his own mind. In his very childish mind, he is a victim of bullies and doesn't deserve any of the hard knocks he gets.

    Anyway, I can spew 10+ pages on what makes a good villain. Mainly gushing about my favorite and least favorite literary and movie villains, but I want to read what other people have to say.

    Does "every villain is the hero of his own story" apply to fantasy in general or Warhammer specifically?


    EDIT: I am going to cover one thing that I think Warhammer (Age of Sigmar or original recipe) lends itself to well.

    One of the exceptions to the rule where one dimensional villains works out well occasionally is when the protagonists are dark antiheroes.

    If the protagonists act like villains sometimes, one good way to keep the narrative going is to make the villains REALLY evil. Like nauseatingly evil. This is done with Spawn, Game of Thrones, the new live action Titans Show, Glorious Bastards, among many others. Marvel dips their toe in the water here with some of Wolverine's nemeses.
     
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  5. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Troglodon

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    That can apply for warhammer for sure (infact i do like those type villains more), but a villain doesn't have to be that at all. Honestly, in my opinion, memorable villains need to be very motivated in their causes whether they be heroic or not. Let's contrast and compare orgres and dark elves as an example.

    Ogres are purely motivated by a nihilistic shtick that only the strong should have everything their environments provide them with, and the weak should have absolutely nothing/ serve as food for the strong. This belief intensified/originated (not actually sure) when a huge mahrlect off comet crashed down onto their homelands, killing 2/3rds of their population right away, and destroying their natural habitat which left them with no food and a barren waste land to live off of. This immediately caused the Ogres to come down into complete cannibalistic anarchy right away, and formed the basis of their nihilistic psyche.

    Dark elves have pretty much the same villainous psyche (very nihilistic, only the strong should thrive, etc), BUT, they're not as motivated, or rather, there's not as much motivation for such nihilistic beliefs. There's no reason for them to be pirating, enslaving, etc, except for the fact that they perceive themselves as superior to everything else and fit to rule the world.

    In my opinion, this is hardly enough to justify their psyche.

    So yeah, i think this is a problem also for a lot of the other warhammer factions as well too (skaven, orcs, etc). There needs to be more personal motivations for their causes, but i'm not an expert on warhammer lore, so idk
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
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  6. King Dust
    Skink

    King Dust Member

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    I also really like the archetype of the indifferent villain. So confident in their power that any efforts to oppose them are boring. Their motivation can be mundane even. "This planet needs to be destroyed for the cosmic bypass" or the like.

    Which doesn't really make them the hero of their own story. And to be fair this might be more prevalent in sci-fi than fantasy. But really it works whenever you have two cultures sufficiently foreign from each other.
     
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  7. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Troglodon

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    I like that a lot too.

    like for an example, a story could be based around a mortal protagonist facing off against super over powered chaos villeins whom wouldn't care whether or not said protagonist dies off.

    This can also work for a certain trope where the villain is the greater evil or the hidden evil.
     
  8. Scalenex
    OldBlood

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I'm trying to develop some Dark Elf characters to be at least somewhat. I guess I am focusing on the Dark Elf noble houses struggling against each other and glossing over the slavery part. I guess I'm inspired by Game of Thrones. John Snow and Ramsey Bolton really suffered from being bastard sons, but they were infinitely better off than pretty much all peasants who practically live on a different planet than the nobility.

    That being said my Dark Elf point of view characters are less nasty than the average Dark Elf.

    I guess I tried to do that with Lord Neekit of Clan Ostrel, but he was not an especially well regarded or well-liked character compared to my others.

    That's the Slann and/or the Old Ones in a nutshell!
     
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  9. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Troglodon

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Also one small note: If said taboo or despicable action helps you survive, you would most likely do it just for survival. It's just human/animalistic instincts.

    In the siege of Leningrad for an example, one of the most deadliest sieges in human history, many people reluctantly did cannibalism just to survive, since there was no other way to find food.
     
  10. Killer Angel
    OldBlood

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    As suggested by @Scalenex , here's a useful tool for writers. ;)

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Troglodon

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Cliches and also the dialogue tag "Said", Aren't so bad as long as they're used in moderation, imo.
     
  12. Scalenex
    OldBlood

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    "It's okay in moderation" is pretty much the rule for everything on that list. Except for apostrophes in proper nouns. Those are abominations...
     
  13. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Troglodon

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    I was about to say those are fine in moderation too... :p

    They can make interesting one-off character names if done very rarely, i guess.
     
  14. Infinity Turtle
    Cold One

    Infinity Turtle Well-Known Member

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    I am in no way properly acquainted with the warhammer world when it comes to lore and the stereotypical behaviour of species, so although I am obviously a genius and perhaps Devine intervention (I can sign autographs later), it’s probably best to ignore everything I’m about to say...

    Another thing to consider with villians is whether they have a faceless horde at their back or if they’re alone. The latter, based on more recent movies and books, tends to evolve into the former as the story progresses, often by raising an army of the dead that for some reason will support the villain (Thor ragnorok) or by persuading a ready and waiting smelly/evil army (like Saruman in the two towers*). However, getting an army might purely be to seemingly raise the stakes so that the hero has to do stuff other than slay the villian, (eg. Come out of exile, make some friends, persuade some random royal to join their cause and acquire their army, have a big army vs army punch out while the hero does protagonist stuff). However even if a villians army is an undead force, highly trained ninja assassins or Uruk-hai, somehow your bag of misfits/untrained army will make it through with minimal losses.

    Demon possessed? We just found a lake full of holy water! Undead? Try decapitation! (Cause that makes sense...) Ninja assassins? Don’t worry, they’re probably afraid of kittens!

    Regardless of armies and kittens, however, as mentioned several times (and I can’t be bothered to quote them) how effective a villian is can rely on motivation and attitude. The villian could be completely indifferent to the situation, think they’re in the right or just be really really mean. In warhammer, it depends on whether these factors are based on emotional or intellectual... things... and would therefore depend on which race or specific character you’re dealing with. For example, all puppies love chocolate so let’s destroy the earth because we love it! Vs all cats are intellectual so let’s destroy the world because humans are hazourdess to the atmosphere! Both of these can be prevented once all the dogs die from eating chocolate and the cats come to one of those “but humans deserve to learn” moments. (I realise I’m rambling so quick! Let’s jump to another example to distract the reader from the rambliness!)

    Your character might think they’re in the right for the betterment of the (not so human)race or for they’re family etc. (or side note: THEY MIGHT ACTUALLY BE RIGHT) but sacrifices have to be made, I guess...? A villian could just be going about the task of saving they’re people/family/dog and consequently destroy a few galaxies. But what could alter how effective a villian this is is whether they care or not.

    What if they think they’re doing right so they just do it and nothing can persuade them because that is ‘illogical’, OR they’re doing what they think is right and they’re an emotional mess (haha... yay... I’m not alone...) because they care about the people they hurt and it’s a struggle for them, but they have to keep going.

    Gees that was a mess... good luck trying to analyse that!






    *i cannot for the life of me remember how much of that is in the non extended edition... oh well...
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
  15. spawning of Bob
    Skar-Veteran

    spawning of Bob Well-Known Member

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    I think its the eyebrows. Get those right and you have a memorable villain.
     
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  16. Scalenex
    OldBlood

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I remember a writer talking about a character with an over the top accent. When she is part of a team of heroes, they play up the accent to make her stand out as the foreign hero. When she is having a solo adventure, they tone down the accent because she is the point of view character and accents only sound like accents to outsiders.

    Along those lines, I think we should only give Lizardmen (Elves, Dwarves, etc) exotic near unpronounceable names when the point of view character is human (or very similar to human). If you are telling a story with a Lizardmen or Seraphon point of view character, the names should probably be pretty easy to sound out. At the very least, spell the names out phonetically the first time you show them.

    Accent apostrophes, people either don't know how they are supposed to sound, or they have to stop and mentally process it. Either way that makes a character hard to identify with. If the character is supposed to be remote and alien, that's fine. But if not, lose the apostrophes.
     

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