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The Arena Method Of Writing

Posted by bonesiii , Dec 17 2008 · 401 views

Etcetera
The Arena Method of Writing



Today the Bones Blog brings you the writing method that not only avoids writer's block, but creates a realistic, believable, and enjoyable plotline and story that is fun both for the reader to read and the writer to write.

The Arena Method is my term for what I consider the perfect way to write a story. GregF has commented that this basic idea is how he writes Bionicle story -- this is my take on it. I'll introduce the concept, list the rules of the method as I see them, and then walk you through the steps of the method.

If this entry strikes you as an impenetrable wall of text, skip down to the Summary section at the end. smile.gif Bold is used here somewhat for important points as usual but mostly for organization purposes.

Enjoy!





Introduction

In the Arena Method of writing, as author your job is to develop characters, settings, cool mysteries, artifacts, stuff in general, etc., figure out characters' various goals and plans, and choose an inciting incident.

After that point, your only job is to devote time thinking, brainstorming, and writing down what would logically happen from there. Your job is to sort of set up a domino effect, and then knock over the first domino -- except in this arena of cause and effect, you as author do not know what will happen! Not for sure, anyways.

Put simply, you build an "arena", fill it with characters, and then you allow the characters to drive the plot forward. With the arena method, the story writes itself!



Before I tell you more about what is it, what is the Arena Method NOT?

Tedious outlines. Plot devices. Killing off characters. Writer's block. Criticisms of unrealism. Forcing the story. Pointless stories. Meaninglessness. Lack of characterization. Just a bunch of explosions. Tedious writing process. Tedious rewriting process. Tediousness in general. Predictable endings. Boring beginnings. Lack of suspense. No fun involved. Mythbusters busting what you said happened.

If you use the Arena method correctly, none of the above will have anything to do with your story. Nobody could fairly accuse you of killing off a character, for example, because you didn't control the events of the story.

Well, okay, the mythbusters still might bust what you said happened, but that would be a high achievement in and of itself. :-P



Most importantly, the Arena Method does NOT involve the author writing towards an ending heshe already thought up. Ideally, the author will be just in the dark about how the story ends as the reader will be when reading.

This is the secret to a fun and streamlined writing process. smile.gif

When you as author already know what you'll end your story with, it's much harder to motivate your mind to do the actual work needed to get there. Writer's Block is perhaps the worst symptom of that mistaken idea -- you either aren't sure how to get to the end you wanted, or you are worrying too much on trying to plan your end anyways.

Now, to be clear, I do often write down theories as to how the story will probably end. But the key here is that they are only theories. If, in the course of writing, something else would logically happen, then that is what MUST happen.



Ground Rules:

1) Make an "Author's Guide" that sets up the arena your story will play out in. Take notes about the world and characters before you start writing. Aim for cool and interesting. Keep your notes concise, simple, easy to reference later.

Review your notes often in your mind before you begin writing and as you write.


2) Pick an inciting incident -- the first moment of trouble that pulls the trigger on the chain reaction that follows throughout the rest of your story.

It doesn't have to be huge, and it might not necessarily be obvious right away why this moment is the trigger. But it must NOT be mere introduction to the world. It must introduce the conflict of the story, or the reader will not be engaged.


3) Begin the story immediately at the inciting incident. No ifs ands or buts about it -- your reader needs to know by the third paragraph -- first if you can -- that conflict has begun. And they should have a sense of what that conflict might be, too.

This part might be the hardest in any method, as it is the most crucial. To use the sports analogy, this is when the game begins in your arena. There might be leadup and planning before this moment, but this is when the action really starts.


4) Whatever logically would happen from that point on, MUST happen. You MUST write down what your brain is telling you would happen. Not what you hope happens, not what you think the audience wants to read, but what WOULD happen.

Believability is your goal, and this is how you get there.


5) NEVER do an info dump for the reader's sake.

If you mention the fictional government of your world, don't launch into paragraph upon paragraph, or even two sentences, of explaining this government. It should be made clear naturally from the way the narration, dialogue, or thoughts flow. And if it isn't made immediately clear, it can always be expanded on eventually.

You might think "but the reader will want to know what I'm talking about!" Yes -- but that is not the reader's top priority. Top priority is to enjoy what they're reading, and usually the only people that like to read textbook style explanations are the author himherself or writers of textbooks. :-P

Readers want to learn about your arena the same way they would as if they were eavesdropping on a conversation -- they want to pick it up themselves.

Now, this rule is a bit more flexible than the others. Later in the story sometimes it is okay to do this sparingly, and a few words of explanation might actually BE necessary anywhere. But by a few words I mean like three. wink.gif


6) Avoid guiding the plot like the plague. In fairness, sometimes you might have an overall story arc that demands certain things happen, so you might have to guide the plot sometimes. The problem with this is, readers can usually tell. It's better to make sure your arena is already set up to make it likely to happen than to suddenly do something out of the blue to rescue your characters from a situation artificially.

The cliche way to say this is to avoid Deus Ex Machina, the plot device where something or someone that wasn't introduced previously suddenly shows up to save the day. Doesn't mean a character can't show up to save another character, but only if it would realistically happen given the stage you've developed. Usually you want to make super sure you introduced such a character or whatever earlier on in the story so reader's won't see it as coming in out of the blue.

For example, if a character has to be alive for a later story, then there should be a arena-based reason that the antagonists or whatnot are unlikely to kill them. Perhaps they need this person for some reason, or think they might in the future. Makuta has always avoided killing Matoran, for example, because he needs them as worshippers, and possibly now to live.


7) Do not outline. If you do, treat it only as a theory of what might happen or as notes on what the important characters are planning to have happen. Quality fiction should IMO work how real life does -- every single factor affects the flow of events. An outline cannot fairly account for all those factors.


8) Have a good understanding of causality. Cause and effect, psychology, weather patterns, fictional or real physics -- anything that deals with "how stuff works," if you will.


9) Finally, not an absolute rule, but try to focus on emotion in your story. Doesn't mean your story can't be about a life lesson, science fiction concept, cool power, complex machinations, etc. But emotion should be your top priority, as that engages the reader.

Put another way, make sure that at all times, emotion is portrayed through whatever you have on the page. It might be logical debate between Vulcans, lol, but your primary aim should be to produce an emotional reaction in the reader that interests them, gives them motive to want to know what happens next.

For example, Bionicle's story is primarily entertainment. It teaches moral values, but as a second priority to telling a fun story, because if you don't tell a fun story, nobody reads the story, and so nobody learns the moral values Bionicle teaches. Perhaps not everybody will "get it", but that's okay -- if you are engaging readers emotionally, at least some of them will get the more logic-based things you hope your story conveys.

Besides, if you are letting the story flow truly as it causally would, the emotions you are focusing on will reinforce a true lesson, perhaps even one you didn't expect or know yourself before you started writing! The emotions will back it up, not distract from it, in other words.

Also, keep in mind something I've often pointed out about logic -- ultimately, the basis of everything is emotion, not logic. Without the promise and attaining of positive feelings from learning some life lessons or some logical truth or some rational system you've developed for your story, whatever, there is no point to logic, or even indeed of existence. You have to want to know the truth before you can learn it. Likewise, readers have to want to know what happens next, or why, before they can learn that.

If you don't believe me, know that I am speaking as a logician. This is not a put-down against logc, but rather an explanation of why logic, truth, existence etc. matter in the first place.




The Process

Before I begin, a little intro:

What I usually do is use plain old Notepad (or even literal paper notes) to make my own sort of plain text BIONICLEsector01, if you will, about the settings, characters, etc. that will form the arena of my story. For my non-Bionicle series I've actually developed a website-like html guide database I edit and access in Frontpage, almost literally an encyclopedia, heh.



Not everything in your guide will necessarily be used in the story -- just as not every inch of a sports arena will necessarily be covered in a game -- but it is all available for me the writer if I need it.

Here is where the temptation to info dump might come in -- again, keep in mind that NOTHING in your notes necessarily has to be told to the reader. The vast majority of it can be shown anyways, and that's always more fun.

A writing prof has clarified about that old "show, don't tell" thing -- sometimes if telling is shorter, you should tell instead of show. But if by imagery, dialogue, etc. you can "show" it, it's usually better. How I tell what is needed when is I ask myself which one will convey emotion better?

Ex: if a character is against the current government system, a short (SHORT) explanation of it can possibly convey that emotion better. If they had a hand in making it thus are proud of it, or if they are unusually enthusiastic about it, same idea. But if it's just a fact of existence for the character, it's probably better just to let it come out in bits and pieces.


And I don't necessarily follow this exact order. Sometimes a cool idea for a setting is what inspires a story; other times it's a cool character idea, or a cool conflict idea.


Finally, note that I'm going to go into a lot of detail about the IDEAL way to use this method. But I rarely do all of this -- for example I rarely write out lengthy history notes for my characters. I just focus on taking the notes on the most interesting stuff.

In other words, do as much or as little of this as you enjoy doing. smile.gif If this part is getting tedious, it's probably because you're doing too much of it -- or your ideas aren't cool enough yet, so you need to rethink things.





Step 1 -- Build the Arena

Setting is key to any story. It sets the feel of a story, and that is 90% of what readers like most about any story. (Give or take. tongue.gif) Now to be clear we are not talking about actual sports arenas. I'm talking about definition #4 here:

QUOTE(dictionary.com)
arena

–noun
1. the oval space in the center of a Roman amphitheater for gladiatorial combats or other performances.
2. a central stage, ring, area, or the like, used for sports or other forms of entertainment, surrounded by seats for spectators: a boxing arena; a circus arena.
3. a building housing an arena.
4. a field of conflict, activity, or endeavor: the arena of politics.


You need to develop notes about the physical, cultural, emotional, and rational setting of your story (there might be more than these needed).


1) Physical -- that's fairly easy. The climate, land, plants, native animals (or non-native), and all other such aspects.

In my style, which is Adventure Mystery, I aim for the coolest possible settings, that get as far away from the cliche as I can. But if you're writing a different style, you can just go with an existing setting or develop one very similar to Earth or the like (much fantasy does the latter). In Bionicle fanfics, you can go with an existing Bionicle location or make your own.


2) Cultural -- depending on the place, the culture will affect a ton about what that place looks like, what systems run it, etc. Buildings, roads, signage, decoration styles, symbols, etc. come from a culture.

For example, just from that teaser images of 2009 on Bionicle.com, we know a lot about the culture of the characters that live there -- they are somewhat primitive but highly industrious. We know this from the cool flags made of simple materials, but obviously displaying expert craftsmanship, and the stone arena (punny!) that exhibits complex architecture and masonry, but is also made of "primitive" stone instead of some more complex material. Despite their lack of advanced technology, there is a sense of the work ethic, or something similar, being communicated to us through their creations. Note that this aspect of your setting plays to the physical, emotional, and rational.


3) Emotional -- this is incredibly important. Every place has its own emotional feeling that it causes beings to have when they see it, though it might not always be obvious or the same for each character.

2009 seems to display a sort of harsh but adventurous life, for example. We get a sense of the emotions of the characters from the setting. Star Wars for example has the "worn universe" look, cluing us in that the characters are somehow worn down emotionally themselves, perhaps in general a bit cynical, or overworked, underpaid, or something like that. tongue.gif Note that putting these things into words might be difficult, as this example shows, but you should probably try to in your notes.


4) Rational -- the beliefs, ways of thinking, knowledge, thoughts etc. of your characters and culture.

For example, in the BP epic #4: Twisted Island that I am writing currently, the story takes place at this highly unusual location because the enemies judge it to be the ideal place for them to accomplish their goals. That is their logical analysis of the situation related to plot, and in this particular story, that is what decides the setting.




Step 2 -- Populate the Arena

Characters. A believable plot is driven by characters for the most part. Unless you're telling a dramatized story about a hurricane or the like, you have living people, animals, or whatever in your story.

Characters have goals, beliefs, their own repertoire of traditions and habits and knowledge. They have their own strengths, they have their own weaknesses, and above all they (usually) have the ability to adapt. These things create conflict with other characters.

These are the keys to a character. Appearance is minimal in importance, but it can and should reflect these in realistic ways, and of course the reader does need to feel like they "see" your character based on your description. But description is the last priority when it comes to what you as author need to establish before you begin the story.

Here are the aspects of a character I try to focus on:


1) Basic personality. Comedic? Serious? Aloof? Outgoing? A mixture of these and more? The latter is most likely. A fairly complex personality is usually important to establish, as real people are rarely simple. I try to focus on conflict related to personality -- does one aspect of it clash with another? Or does their personality tend to clash with life? How? Etc.


2) Abilities, talents, skills, powers, etc. Their strengths. These are the things the character usually thinks define them.


3) Weaknesses. What character flaws, physical weaknesses, vulnerabilities to temptation, or other weaknesses do your characters have? These are the things that define your character in terms of the plot usually, because they create conflict.

ALWAYS have at least a sense of this for every major character, and preferably the minor characters too. And even with good guys, the more of these you establish the better, as stories are all about conflict. To use the sports analogy again, how well each player performs will depend on both their strengths and weaknesses, and how these things jive with the situation.


4) Their basic history. This can be driven by, and also drive, their personality, depending on what you do with it. But you need to have characters who have memories in their heads. It's not enough just to write a personality into the page -- real people have a history.


5) Their goals. The biggest one that will drive your plot. What do they WANT? This is what drives real people's actions, after all. We never do anything that on some level we do not want, unless we have no choice. Your character might not achieve his or her goals, don't misunderstand -- but they have goals nonetheless.


6) Their plans. What have they already thought of, or prepared for, that they believe will lead them to their goals? These will often be rethought by the characters as the story unfolds, but they usually need to have a Plan A in place. And Plan Bs etc. too if they are smart enough.


7) Beliefs, traditions, habits, etc. Just various things that further define who they are. What's in their heads in terms of how they behave and why.


8) Knowledge. Or lack of it (ignorance). I tell Adventure Mystery, where trying to know more and having to go through radfun adventures to do so is the goal. I tend to have different characters or groups of characters who know more than others, and maybe who don't want to tell others. And with just about any type of story, this is true to some degree. Who knows what?


9) Appearance. Last priority, as I said. But you can convey emotional ideas about your character through appearance. Especially when you're dealing with clothing (or mask powers/shape or the like), as these are often chosen by the character.



Step 3 -- Write the Rules

If there is to be an arena with competitors inside, you also need rules -- what type of sport will be played in this arena? The analogy is flawed, as these rules are written by the characters most likely, not a rules board. :-P But the idea here is which aspects of the arena or characters MOST define what can happen?

In other words, what are the most important elements of your story? Unless you're telling a Glatorian competition story (or the like :-P), not everything will be equal in importance. Something will be the central idea of your story, and other things will be nearly as important. The plot will center on these things, not just on the basic idea of different competitors with their own equal aspects.


For example, in Twisted Island the basic rules are that the villains have brought good guys to an island where a zoo of the most dangerous creatures in the universe has been damaged, setting these creatures loose on Twisted Island. These characters are trapped there and in constant danger, and more than ever before, they must work to solve the mysteries of this place, or surviving and escaping will be impossible. Obviously, I have other "rules" or basic elements behind the mystery that are classified, too.

As another example, another epic I'm planning for later centers around the highly mysterious goals of the enemies alone, having little to do with the location. The bad guys don't even have plans in that epic -- just a single overriding, all important goal that they exist to accomplish. Sort of like Bohrok, only even more obsessive. I center the story on that -- making it rule #1 -- because I judge the secret to be such a radcool idea (inspired by a fairly recent subject that was discussed a lot on BZP, actually) that I think will have a great "whoa" effect when it's revealed, and yet should be really fun to tease throughout the story.




So what kind of "rules" am I talking about? Well, it can be extremely varied, but here are some basics that almost all stories need:


1) Protagonist -- main good guy, usually. Who will be THE main character of your story? You can have POV of other characters if you want to write that kind of story, but this is the one who primarily try to steer the plot in the best way. (Unless of course you are focusing on a bad character, but the idea is this is the person you focus on who needs to take on a challenge of some kind and overcome it.)

Another note here -- avoid like the plague having a character who just reacts to things. They can react, but they should almost immediately take a proactive, "fighting for what I want" approach in your story, and they should keep this up throughout the whole story as much as authorially possible. Could be exceptions.


2) Character lesson -- I usually write down how I think the plot will change the character as a person by the end of it. In my style, the protagonist of every story is going through an important life lesson the hard way. By the end, they will likely learn from what they experienced and walk away a better, stronger person for it. (But not necessarily -- that will depend on if it WOULD logically happen. wink.gif)

Not every style uses this, but my writing profs have always said that your character MUST change by the end of your story in some way, or you don't really have a story. One prof went so far as to say your stories should always be about the MOST important event in your character's entire life, the one event that they cannot possible walk away from without being changed.

Some might object that they prefer a plot-based story style. But that is simply not possible with the Arena Method -- either the characters or the setting, and usually both, drive the plot. Just like in real life.


3) Antagonist -- this is THE engine of your plot. Stories center on conflict, and you can't have that without an antagonist. Again, they don't have to be villains, but in some way their goals must conflict the most with your protagonist. If you tell a story about a bad guy, good guys or other bad guys (or neutrals) might be your antagonist.

Also note that you SHOULD pick a single individual to be your main antagonist. It doesn't always work out that way; sometimes there's a group enemy such as a swarm, but in general you need an enemy leader, or elite enemy, or an enemy that has something against your protagonist specifically -- something to set apart an individual.

What I often do is work with enemy groups with a leader, as does Bionicle. Sometimes conflict with a group might span multiple stories, in which case the antagonist of each story will be different.

For example, in Epic 1: The Sword is But the Focus, the infected Wkahnau giant burrowing Rahi is the antagonist. It's clear that some more intelligent hidden enemy tied a powerful artifact to it with a rope, and of course Makuta is controlling it, but it is the main enemy of this story. What the Wkahnau does for the 2001 Paracosmos Saga is open the mystery of the hidden enemy group.

In Epic 2: Agents of Surrender, Lewa hunts down the hidden enemy, and eventually finds three of them, with a single one leading them. Throughout the story, it is clear that the hidden enemies in general are the antagonists. Only when Lewa finds these three do we have a particular "subleader" revealed as this story's main antagonist. And in the process by the end the secret top leader of the hidden enemy is hinted at.

Then in Epic 3: Captain of Treason, both Kopaka and the hidden enemy leader Rathoa take turns being the protagonist and antagonist. Kopaka is the main good guy, while the story focuses heavily on Rathoa's flashbacks that led him to become who he is, and on his current-day plans. Regardless of which one you consider the antagonist, there is clearly only one. In my notes I simply labeled Kopaka as protagonist and Rathoa as antagonist with heavy focus and flashbacks, since Rathoa is clearly the bad guy and is driving the plot, while Kopaka is being forced to deal with Rathoa's machinations. But you could see it the other way around, for reasons that become clear as the plot unfolds.


4) Core conflict. I just sum up the bad guys' goals and how that conflicts with the good guys, usually. Sometimes I list detailed aspects to the bad guys' plans.


5) Core mystery. Depending on the type of story you're telling. Since I write Adventure Mystery, each episode centers on a single mystery. That may or may not be solved totally by the end. :-P But some aspect of it must be solved by the end. This is distinct from the larger mysteries of the whole series or of each saga, though it might be connected. Again, depends on the story you are telling.


6) Theme. The general theme of the story. Along the same lines as character lesson, but it spans the whole story instead of being developed near the end. For example, in Captain of Treason the theme is obviously treason, betrayal. In my first short story, Folly of Fire, the theme was temper vs. patience. This is often unstated; implied. Also, the emotional feel of the story plays a role here.


7) Limits. What is not possible? For example, in Twisted Island, nobody can leave except through very specific ways (similar to LOST, apparently :-P). Epic 1 was about how we struggle with our own limits of ability, and unexpected ways of reaching beyond our own percieved limits. Epic 2 reminded Lewa constantly of his limits as he dealt with a hidden foe that seemed very powerful, learned horrid secrets of the Turaga he was not to pass on, and encountered the Jungledweller, who though a mere Tohunga had many well-practiced skills and collected secrets that outclassed Lewa even though he was a Toa. In Captain of Treason Rathoa very quickly imposes a major limit on Kopaka that affects his psyche even more so than his powers, and limits of knowledge are a big theme too.



Step 4 -- Trigger the Conflict


Choose your inciting incident -- decide how the proverbial game begins. Given what you know about the setting, characters, their goals, the major ideas your story will focus on, etc., ask yourself what will be the best introduction to the conflict of your story.

Focus on introducing it RIGHT AWAY. This is not just the opening of a movie, this is a hook that will draw the reader along through your text. Movies sometimes do not begin with this, and same with television, because visual things can hook the reader in.

With writing, anything other than an inciting incident is usually NOT an effective hook.

This is because of the wall of text phenomenon. Which this blog entry is probably guilty of (tongue.gif) for the sake of you authors, but readers have almost no tolerance for these days. Old fiction used to begin with lengthy description, introduction of the characters, setting, etc. and take 20 or so pages to even give a hint of what the trigger of conflict is.

Instead, in the very first paragraph (or first page), a clear and powerful hint at the conflict to come should be apparent.

Usually you introduce your main character through this -- one of my profs defined the inciting incident as the moment your protagonist first (and truly) becomes aware of the trouble of the story. Doesn't have to work that way -- many authors use prologues from the POV of a side character more like what an episode of CSI typically begins with. Most important thing is that the READER is given a clear hint at the conflict.


Choose carefully. Your inciting incident should:

1) Be realistic.
Think about what would happen, how your characters' goals and the like would naturally lead to such an incident.

More on this at the start of Step 5 below -- but logic and realism and causality must apply here too.


2) Hint at the type of conflict to come. It may introduce it outright, or it may only introduce trouble of a sort that will lead to it.

More on this in the explanation for rule 3:


3) Be concise and clear. If you have use info dumps to explain what is going on, it's probably a bad trigger. Rethink it, possibly go further back or forward in time, and pick something SIMPLE.

For example, in my non-Bionicle fiction (classified for now), for the longest time I was planning on a particular plot idea being the first episode. The problem was, though the conflict was a cool scifi idea, there was no way to introduce it without a fair bit of explanation. I rewrote and rewrote my inciting incident a thousand different ways, but ultimately I decided that it didn't even introduce the basic themes of my larger series well enough anyways.

So I changed it to an even cooler scifi idea that is even more original, that can be introduced quite simply. While I will probably revise the timing of it further as this is my life's work so it's more important that I get it right than the Paracosmos, heh, the basic idea of it needs virtually no explanation.

In fact my inciting incident doesn't even directly state the trouble of the story at all, and the characters don't have a clue about it, but because of the nature of the world I am introducing along with this inciting incident (and the title), it is clear what the nature of the trouble will be. By the end of the first page, the main character knows there's a vague and mysterious threat, and part of a hasty message sent by someone he needs to meet up with who will explain further. The exact nature of the threat is a mystery that the whole episode explores, but the reader will almost certainly guess the basic idea of it right away, while being unable to predict its cause or consequences.

That is what long years of college and tons of writing homework and the opinions of some experienced profs including one who is an actual author and editor tells me is what an inciting incident should do. biggrin.gif And it all flowed naturally out of looking for the simplest, most concise part of it.

Ironicles how long this explanation is. :-P


4) Be interesting. Last but not least.

My fave and oft-cited prof said that there only two absolute rules in fiction -- it must be clear and it must be interesting. I propose that there is really only ONE absolute rule, because of course mystery can be totally unclear at first, but the intro to the story must leave the reader clear that it will be interesting. :-P If your introduction isn't clear, it's not interesting.

What does it mean to be interesting? I dunno, it depends. It's subjective, too. You have to judge it on a case by case basis, but if you yourself go "Wow, this would be a cool start! I have to use this!" when you think of it, it's probably interesting to a lot of people. The rule of thumb is to make sure YOU are interested in what you're doing. If you're boring even yourself, you need to rethink it.



This is the trigger.

From this point on, the author's conscious control of the plot should STOP.

Everything that happens after this should cascade naturally from the stage you have set and the characters you've put on it. What will happen? Who knows! That's the thrill of it!



Note that it's around here where I usually write down basic theories of what will happen. But these are NOT outlines -- never use a formal outline unless you're just weird like that. And I used to try to do informal outlines, but ultimately I found that it was foolish -- how could I accurately predict the basics of what would happen without knowing the smaller unforeseen factors that will affect things in unexpected ways?

The only way to accurately do that would be play the whole story out in total detail in your head and write it down as you thought of it so that you won't forget a single detail.

Which is almost the same as writing the story, except you'd probably not be thinking about the super important things like tone and theme and feeling and imagery and the like. So you might as well just write it properly.

In other words, my story IS my outline. As you write it, and especially after it's all written, THEN you can go back and touch up things and make revisions and such. And though it's taken some practice, I have gotten to the point where I never need to rewrite anything major.



Step 5 -- Let the Story Write Itself


Your obligations now as author are comparable to the radio sports announcer. Your radio audience can't see the story that plays itself out inside your head. Nor can you control the game, though admittedly perhaps you can influence it. But your responsibility is to let the reader in on what is happening in the arena in an engaging and entertaining way, NOT to control it.

The following is what you must devote time and mental energy to:


1) Think about what would realistically happen next.


You may need to do research, and you might not always be writing, but this is NOT Writer's Block. WB is when you honestly can't for the life of you figure out what to do. This is the opposite -- this is simply allowing the sortof domino effect you've set up to play itself out in your mind.

You often do not even need to be in front of your computer (or with paper handy) to do this. I am usually thinking through the next step of my story as I eat, do other things, go to sleep, walk dogs, etc. Because I have spent enough time developing the arena and memorizing it, I can do this totally in my head.

If you DO feel The Dreaded Writer's Block coming on, return to your notes. Review what you've established, or build on it. The idea will come to you, because all the pieces of the puzzle are already there (or should be).


2) Be willing to LET it happen.

Never guide your story to avoid something like a character death or to force an info dump. This is vital, vital, vital. Now, you can design your arena in such a way that a death, for example, isn't likely, or so that information will likely come out for the reader naturally. But when it comes down to the wire, if a character's gonna die, you MUST let it happen just as it would happen if your story was real. Because it is. Fictionally.

Never "kill off" characters -- characters should die for the same reasons people die in real life. The situation should demand it. Of course, certain readers might accuse you of killing them off, or just use the term carelessly as today's culture seems wont to do, but you know the truth -- YOU have nothing to do with it aside from designing the arena.

I focus on death merely because it is the aspect writers and readers alike both seem to obsess over guiding or seeing as having been guided. But this applies to everything, good or bad, neutral, random, etc.


3) Spend time writing it down. Your own style will influence this part of it the most. There is no way for me to tell you how to do this part -- it depends on who you are, what you know, etc.

The thinking and writing might happen all at once. Or it might not. Often I am able to sit down, and write the whole story out instantly. Aim for this if you can, as it's the most enjoyable way to do it. But even if you have to pause your writing to think (or do something else in your life tongue.gif), your wondering how the story will end should be enough to motivate you to come back to the typewriter/paper later.

Just make sure you do take time to actually write it down. A story in your head is not a story -- it's just a dream.


I know I said choosing the inciting incident might be the hardest part, but forget that -- this might be too. tongue.gif So many other things demand your time, and you might be dealing with people that don't think you should waste time writing.

Tons of cliches here, but what people need to understand -- and perhaps what you the writer need to convince them of -- is that as a writer, you NEED to spend a lot of time writing. Expect money to be a big stickler in this category. Don't expect to make much if you're a writer. I know personally I write because money or not, I CANNOT NOT write. I literally could not live if I was not writing, as it is the very fiber of my existence.

It's like breathing -- I'm not making any money by doing it, but I HAVE to. Maybe that's not quite true of you, but at the very least, nobody can read your story unless you take the time to write it.


4) Allow yourself to concentrate 100%.

Forget what I said earlier, THIS might be the hardest part (tongue.gif), given that other people around yadda may not respect your need to concentrate 100% even if they respect your need to spend time writing. Find ways to get around it or convince them that as a writer you NEED to concentrate.

But if you are using the Arena method and you like the arena you've made, the conflict should be with outside distractions, not with yourself. Personally at least I always feel like I want to concentrate on a writing when I use this method, unlike homework for example where your brain wants you to concentrate on anything but.

I admit that shallower methods of writing such as plot-driven writing will be much easier in this category (and time) than the Arena Method. But IMO the result is usually less fun for the reader and author and far far less satisfying to the very soul. What is easy is not always what is best.

If you can get the time, and get away from the distractions (or if you're one of those rare individuals who can concentrate despite people making rackets, looking over your shoulder, etc.) the rewards of the Arena method will far outshine the alternatives.


5) Show ONLY the interesting parts of the story. While more might happen that you can imply or briefly sum up, do not waste space writing it if it is a boring detail. Skip ahead to the next most interesting event.

As said above, my rule of thumb for what is interesting is usually if it conveys an emotion. (Other than boredom. :-P)

Also, try to keep the five senses in mind. Don't just describe what characters see -- what do they hear, smell, feel, etc.?


6) Never tell anyone what you're about to write. Write it, and make them read it. wink.gif

This one might seem odd and even rude, perhaps. But it is a psychological thing that many other authors far more accomplished than little old me have observed -- if you report about what you're going to write before you get it down, your brain plays a nasty little trick on you where you feel less motivated to write it. You feel as if you have already written it, though you haven't.

In fact, I would strongly advise not telling anyone even things you've already written. Keep your whole story a secret until it is finished, and have people read it.

Generally far better that way, although I often tell Ojhilom about any major things I'm undecided about how I should proceed to ask his opinion. To do that I have to tell him something about what has happened, and I do say if I agree that his advice is probably best, but I never tell him what I end up deciding to go with until it is written down.

And I ONLY do this for Ojhilom as he is my brother and he helps develop both the Paracosmos and my non-Bionicle fiction, so he is going to be honestly open-minded about it. Even with him, if I tell him too much about the story I'm currently writing, though, my motivation to continue sinks.

The real danger is answering the question for the random friend or family member who already has no idea what you're writing about because they didn't help you develop it. To the mind of a writer, these are "readers." If you clue them in like that, your brain subconsciously tells you that you have given your story to the readers already, when in fact you have not.

Now, with the Arena Method, you CAN tell them about the some of the "arena," perhaps. I'm talking about what happens after the inciting incident -- the stuff you need to spend time writing down. I've already used some details about the arena of Twisted Island in this entry, though I haven't finished it yet.

But I know that if I revealed even a little of what is going on in the actual plot so far, it would become much more difficult for me to motivate myself to do the work of finishing it. Trust me, learned the hard way.

Of course, if you haven't yet written your notes about it, the rule applies there too!


7) Review and proofread periodically.

The worst thing that can happen with this method of writing is to write the whole story, then during your proofreading and rewriting process you discover that your story took an illogical turn halfway through. As a result you would have to scrap the entire second half of your story, or worse, try to weave results of the corrected version through the unaffected parts of the rest of the story.

Avoiding the need to rewrite later is the best way to make that process easy and enjoyable. If you feel like you've become foggy on what you've already written, go back and read it. What comes after must be consistent with what came before.


8) Check your arena notes often.

Same idea as checking what you've already written. Now, often it's easier to revise your notes than to revise your story. But still, you might have forgotten something that you mentioned in passing already in the story, and that might give you the same problem as above. This is even easier to review if you've made your notes concise and easy for you to read.


9) Watch your pace. Just as a radio announcer doesn't have much time to spend on telling the listener what just happened on the sportsfield, you don't have time to languish in one event too long. The reader will get bored. Keep the story hurtling forth doing its chain reaction as fast as you can without losing sight of the events themselves. You need a balance between brevity and detail.


10) Keep writing until it's over! Go all the way to the end -- finish what you started. No matter what.


11) Proofread.

Look for typos, and follow the logic of the plot as a reader would, to make sure it makes sense.

A few tips here are to 1) Proofread once for typos only and again for the plot, 2) Wait a few days, weeks, or longer before you proofread so you will have forgotten most of the details; that way it's easier to see the logic of the plot as it's actually written down, not what is lingering in your head, and 3) Have someone else proofread.

And of course, don't rely on a spellchecker program. But once you've proofread yourself, do run it through a spellchecker just in case.


12) Rewrite. Fix the typos and any logical problems. If you did the previous steps well enough, this will be easy.

It's best to proofread right in your word processing program, so that you can combine the rewriting with the proofreading.

Save new drafts as different files (clearly label them as such), in case later you decide you want to go back to something from a previous version.



And that's about all I've got to say. Sounds like a lot, perhaps, but most of the above is just my own personal take on the basic method. Put simply, set the stage, and then let the story write itself, instead of writing towards an ending. That is the Arena Method.



Summary

Introduction

In the Arena Method, you set the stage for your story, and then you let the story write itself out from there as it would actually logically happen. Your direct control is only over the stage-setting part, not over the plot of the story.

You don't know how it will end -- you get almost as much thrill when writing it as the reader does when reading. (Although you do know things the reader doesn't.)

It avoids such plagues of writers as Writer's Block, and does not use any intentional plot devices. You don't write towards an ending. The ending and plot flows naturally from the arena you set up.

Ground Rules:

1) Make an "Author's Guide" that sets up the arena your story will play out in.

2) Pick an inciting incident -- the trigger of your story's conflict.

3) Begin the story immediately at the inciting incident.

4) Whatever logically would happen, MUST happen.

5) Never info dump (try to focus on emotion at all times to engage the reader).

6) Avoid guiding the plot; instead make sure your arena is set up right.

7) Do not rigidly outline plot.

8) Learn about causality, psychology, etc. to better fulfill rule 4.

9) Strongly recommend focusing on emotion as you write as top priority.


The Process:

Step 1 -- Build the Arena

Setting is key. Develop it in these ways (at least):

1) Physical -- climate, land, plants, whatnot.

2) Cultural -- buildings, roads, decorations and the like.

3) Emotional -- the overall feelings of places or of the people in them; emotions related to the setting

4) Rational -- beliefs, ways of thinking, knowledge related to the setting


Step 2 -- Populate the Arena

Characters drive the plot, mainly because of their various goals. Basic aspects I try to focus on:

1) Basic personality.

2) Strengths; natural talents or learned skills, psychological giftedness, etc.

3) Weaknesses; character flaws, physical weaknesses, psychological vulnerabilities, etc.

4) Their basic history.

5) Their goals.

6) Their plans -- how they think they can reach their goals.

7) Beliefs, habits, traditions, etc. How they behave and why.

8) Knowledge/ignorance.

9) Appearance.


Step 3 -- Write the Rules

Establish the most important elements of your story; what aspects of the arena or characters will your story focus on?

A few basics (among many possible) I focus on:

1) Protagonist -- main good guy or who your story focuses on most. Should be proactive, not just reactive.

2) Character lesson -- in my style, the way the protagonist will change; what heshe'll learn by the end of the story

3) Antagonist -- the main bad guy or person who your main character conflicts with. The central driver of the plot.

4) The core conflict -- what's the main clash between protagonist and antagonist?

5) Core mystery -- in my Adventure Mystery style, the main hidden secret the characters try to unravel in the story

6) Theme -- the moral or psychological theme that spans the entire story, usually implied.

7) Limits -- what isn't possible? Or what are the only ways something is possible, etc?


Step 4 -- Trigger the Conflict

Choose your inciting incident.

The very first moment of your story, the hook to draw the reader into the rest of it, the incident that first gives the reader (and usually the protagonist) a clear hint at the conflict of the story.

Your inciting incident should:

1) Be realistic.

2) Hint at the type of conflict to come.

3) Be concise and clear.

4) Be interesting. (Vital, this.)

Everything after this point should be beyond the author's conscious control. You could jot down theories as to what might happen after it, but things might happen differently.


Step 5 -- Let the Story Write Itself

Like a radio announcer, your job is to let the reader know what's happening as the story naturally unfolds beyond your control, in an engaging and entertaining way.

Devote time and mental energy to:

1) Think about what would realistically happen next.

2) Be willing to LET it happen.

3) Spend time writing it down.

4) Concentrate 100%.

5) Show ONLY the interesting parts that convey emotion; skip or sum up the "boring" stuff.

6) Never tell what you're about to write. Write it, then let people read it.

7) Review and proofread periodically.

8) Check your "arena" notes often.

9) Watch your pace. Don't get bogged down but also don't move too fast.

10) Write all the way to the end.

11) Proofread.

(For typos and for plot logic, try waiting a while before doing so, and/or have someone else do it. Don't rely on spellcheckers.)

12) Rewrite.

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*Throws Bonesiii into Roman Colosseum, along with gladiators*

*Watches plot unfold*

*Wins at story-telling*

=D




-Ngakunui
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Danska: Shadow Master
Dec 17 2008 03:56 AM
Curse you Bones! There were a dozen things I wanted to to before I went out, but I don't have time now because I spent it all reading that! tongue.gif

I shall find time to comment, however, though looking at my watch...eep! Anyway, I have to mostly agree with you. This method is how I always write short stories, and it's brilliant fun! I usually have some idea in my head of where I want them to go, but they always wander off somewhere else. tongue.gif

I totally agree about starting the story off with something interesting, too. It's always fun to throw the reader straight in and let them pick things up as they go along. It's more fun to write, too.

When I've written longer stories (years ago now), I have planned them out. Of course, those plans usually fell through about half-way in and my story meandered into various strange places that I hadn't intended at all. The plan helped me set it off, and while the various circumstances in the story did force the characters towards whatever ending they were supposed to reach, the climax ended up resolving itself in a completely different way than I'd intended too. It was hardly worth planning it, as by the time I got to the next story my previous one had spiralled away from my original intentions and gone against what I'd planned for the next story.

I REALLY have to go now! Late already! *runs*
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*Skips to the summary*
*Sees the size of the summary*

Maybe you should have a summary for the summary, huh? How 'bout it? =D
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Peppermint Butler
Dec 17 2008 10:38 AM
This method doesn't work for me. I still get writer's block whether I use this method or not.


sad.gif
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QUOTE(Distorted @ Dec 17 2008, 11:38 AM)
This method doesn't work for me. I still get writer's block whether I use this method or not.


sad.gif

Hm. Well, perhaps this would help -- sometimes writers need to just be willing to do something "random." Sometimes we spend so much time worrying about coming up with something "just right" that we overly worry about it. I was planning on mentioning this but I forgot. tongue.gif If you face writer's block, my advice is to just go with the first thing that comes to mind, even if you're unsure about it for now. Then once you write that part, perhaps you can reread it and rethink it.


QUOTE(Zeddy @ Dec 17 2008, 06:26 AM)
*Skips to the summary*
*Sees the size of the summary*

Maybe you should have a summary for the summary, huh? How 'bout it? =D


QUOTE(bonesiii)
Put simply, set the stage, and then let the story write itself, instead of writing towards an ending. That is the Arena Method.
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This method is pretty much the only way to get a real "flow" state going. That's the state of being inspired, which, coupled with good old-fashioned work, can only lead to success. smile.gif Should try it myself someday.

<o> <o>
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Lloyd: the White Wolf
Dec 17 2008 02:31 PM
QUOTE
Writer's Block is perhaps the worst symptom of that mistaken idea -- you either aren't sure how to get to the end you wanted, or you are worrying too much on trying to plan your end anyways.


I find myself getting writer's block when doing the actual writing--I know how to do this, I write the plot (and they're quite fun to write). It's just putting the actually events down in detail that stops me cold. dry.gif

w.gif
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Auserv: Toa-Kal of Emotion
Dec 17 2008 02:35 PM
Thanks bonesiii, this was a really interesting entry to read because I've always written almost exactly the same way. happy.gif There were a few things you pointed out though where I was like "Ohhh" and now I'll change some things accordingly. Especially that about how if you tell someone details about your story you subconsciously believe you already gave the story to your readers and don't feel like writing it--I have noticed this but never really thought anything of it until now; I'll be sure to stop telling my brother so much now, lol.

Also, with the latest installment in my series, I started keeping a vague outline--not like "This will happen to this character at this point in time at this place with these circumstances", but more like tracing the paths that the characters will be likely to take in the future of the story (I only do this, say, 3 chapters ahead of the plans actually happening). If the story pulls another way I let it, but when the story kind of stops flowing momentarily (usually when I'm tired or would rather be doing something else--both of those are pretty rare occurrences wink.gif), I push it towards those plans until it starts flowing smoothly again. Usually I only have to do this for one scene before I can get the story to write itself again though. Just curious, do you ever do something like that?
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Huh, I've been doing Arena Style ever since I started writing. Anyway, thanks. Now I know more about it, and what Arena Style really is. But what if your story never ends?
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Shadow Kurahk
Dec 17 2008 06:34 PM
I've been using this method of writing for so long in my life that it all feels like repeating the third grade to me. You, bonesiii, address the basic understanding of this complex structural phenomena and take the time to not briefly but very, very, very thoroughly explain deeply the matter involved in the creation of this type of writing. I give you congratulations, and thank you for finally bringing this up to the Internet. It's going to be a great help. smile.gif

I can spot that you have a certain liking to just spilling it out onto the paper. Though, you should keep in mind that after your writing process is complete you will have to go through each and every part of the piece, specifically the parts where you just threw things out there, and revise it, edit it, and proofread it at an exceptional amount. Without this, of course, the piece will crumble. The base you are attempting to stand on while writing like this is to keep on topic at all times, and not to stray too far off your initial subject/idea. This is a vital part of using this technique.

Again, great work bones! This will be a very helpful addition to your very large guide collection, and thanks for bringing this up to everyone! smile.gif I'd never have the mindpower to go and write something this long for people I could very well despise and hate very much. tongue.gif

-SK
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Great advices. I'm following them step by step.
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Your summary is two pages long.
I don't have enough time to read even it.
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Torchflare1234
Dec 18 2008 01:02 AM
Nothing puts you to sleep faster than Bonesiii's homemade Wall O' Text. tongue.gif

That was really helpful and wasn't a *yawn* waste of time!

ZZZZzzzzzzzzzz... (Kidding)
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QUOTE(BCii @ Dec 17 2008, 01:38 PM)
This method is pretty much the only way to get a real "flow" state going. That's the state of being inspired, which, coupled with good old-fashioned work, can only lead to success. :) Should try it myself someday.

<o> <o>

I was hoping you'd comment, as you're the writer I most respect (at least of the writers whose work I have read some of :P) the skills of.

Which, if you haven't tried the AM, perhaps means I'm all wrong about this. :o

:P

QUOTE(Lloyd: the White Wolf @ Dec 17 2008, 03:31 PM)
QUOTE
Writer's Block is perhaps the worst symptom of that mistaken idea -- you either aren't sure how to get to the end you wanted, or you are worrying too much on trying to plan your end anyways.


I find myself getting writer's block when doing the actual writing--I know how to do this, I write the plot (and they're quite fun to write). It's just putting the actually events down in detail that stops me cold. <_<

:w:

Well again, if that happens, it's your cue to go back and review what you've already written. Or perhaps watch TV or something, look for random inspiration.

If that doesn't help, then my guess is you're not thinking about the causality of events enough at that point in time. Once you've written the inciting incident and you have enough arena notes, everything else should follow like a chain reaction. Focus on finding the loose ends you've already written and think about what would logically happen next. Theoretically this should always give you what you need to continue.

It might also help in that case to bend the "no outlines" rule and forget about the details for a moment -- just write down some basics of what happens next, then work off that of that to build the meat onto it in the actual writing. Also, if details are tripping you up, remember to focus on all five senses and to focus on what has emotional impact.

QUOTE(Auserv: Toa-Kal of Emotion @ Dec 17 2008, 03:35 PM)
Thanks bonesiii, this was a really interesting entry to read because I've always written almost exactly the same way. ^_^ There were a few things you pointed out though where I was like "Ohhh" and now I'll change some things accordingly. Especially that about how if you tell someone details about your story you subconsciously believe you already gave the story to your readers and don't feel like writing it--I have noticed this but never really thought anything of it until now; I'll be sure to stop telling my brother so much now, lol.

Also, with the latest installment in my series, I started keeping a vague outline--not like "This will happen to this character at this point in time at this place with these circumstances", but more like tracing the paths that the characters will be likely to take in the future of the story (I only do this, say, 3 chapters ahead of the plans actually happening). If the story pulls another way I let it, but when the story kind of stops flowing momentarily (usually when I'm tired or would rather be doing something else--both of those are pretty rare occurrences ;)), I push it towards those plans until it starts flowing smoothly again. Usually I only have to do this for one scene before I can get the story to write itself again though. Just curious, do you ever do something like that?

Sure, but I always force myself to be a little paranoid about it and make sure it won't be detectable to the careful reader as authorial guiding. I agree that, as I said just above, this is where flexible outlines can come in handy. I guess what I am saying is that now I usually don't

What's interesting as I write Twisted Island is that many of the events in it were hinted or referenced in Mindfire (Epics contest winning entry), which takes place long after. All of those references came thanks to me planning out this epic extensively a little more so than I usually do and rethinking it and rethinking it to make super sure not much would be changing. I was nervous that the flow of things would go all wrong and not jive with Mindfire, but so it's all fell into place as I hoped, without giving me even the slightest clue as to how it will end, lol. I haven't had to guide this epic in the slightest.

In fact since some aspects of how things got how they are in Mindfire hadn't even been established yet, I got to feel that "so that's how that happened!" sense from some parts. I love the thrill of that. :D Only way I could come close so this sort of thrill with my own writing without this method is thanks to my horrid memory and after spending a ton of time forgetting what I wrote, lol.

QUOTE(Nara @ Dec 17 2008, 06:15 PM)
Huh, I've been doing Arena Style ever since I started writing. Anyway, thanks. Now I know more about it, and what Arena Style really is. But what if your story never ends?

Make a series out of it. :) Series' don't necessarily have to end. :P (Intentionally anyways.)


QUOTE(~Shadow Kurahk~ @ Dec 17 2008, 07:34 PM)
I've been using this method of writing for so long in my life that it all feels like repeating the third grade to me. You, bonesiii, address the basic understanding of this complex structural phenomena and take the time to not briefly but very, very, very thoroughly explain deeply the matter involved in the creation of this type of writing. I give you congratulations, and thank you for finally bringing this up to the Internet. It's going to be a great help. :)

I can spot that you have a certain liking to just spilling it out onto the paper. Though, you should keep in mind that after your writing process is complete you will have to go through each and every part of the piece, specifically the parts where you just threw things out there, and revise it, edit it, and proofread it at an exceptional amount. Without this, of course, the piece will crumble. The base you are attempting to stand on while writing like this is to keep on topic at all times, and not to stray too far off your initial subject/idea. This is a vital part of using this technique.

Again, great work bones! This will be a very helpful addition to your very large guide collection, and thanks for bringing this up to everyone! :) I'd never have the mindpower to go and write something this long for people I could very well despise and hate very much. :P

-SK

What you describe is definately important -- proofreading and revising. However, if you do this as you go along instead of only after it's all written down, there ends up being very little that you need to revise in your final run-throughs. Of course, if you are aiming for quality, especially if you want to get published, you should do a lot of intense run-throughs anyways (although you never know when your editor will have you scrap half your story :P -- fair warning from what profs have told me; haven't tried it yet myself heh).

For example, even though Captain of Treason is incredibly long compared to anything else I've written before, and though I have proofread it at least twenty seperate times hunting down any conceivable problem, I have needed to revise it less than I ever have before. I'd say not even 1% has been revised (not counting typos I guess :P). Mostly all I ended up doing was moving chapter breaks around and messing with the timing of some of the sections without editing them much at all, then rewording a handful of sentences. Oh, and filling in a few details I'd left notes to finish later, if that counts. :P

And I am no longer capable of despising or hating anyone, so not a problem. :D



QUOTE(Lhilertoro @ Dec 18 2008, 12:58 AM)
Great advices. I'm following them step by step.

Cool.

QUOTE(Kojol @ Dec 18 2008, 01:41 AM)
Your summary is two pages long.
I don't have enough time to read even it.


QUOTE(bonesiii @ Dec 17 2008, 12:16 PM)
QUOTE(Zeddy @ Dec 17 2008, 06:26 AM)
*Skips to the summary*
*Sees the size of the summary*

Maybe you should have a summary for the summary, huh? How 'bout it? =D


QUOTE(bonesiii)
Put simply, set the stage, and then let the story write itself, instead of writing towards an ending. That is the Arena Method.


:P

QUOTE(Toa Talvak @ Dec 18 2008, 02:02 AM)
Nothing puts you to sleep faster than Bonesiii's homemade Wall O' Text. :P

That was really helpful and wasn't a *yawn* waste of time!

ZZZZzzzzzzzzzz... (Kidding)

Excellent. :)
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I use this method myself mainly for my comedy and Short Stories. Comedies because my comedy doesn't necessarily have a true, over-reaching plot and it is a lot more fun that way. Short Stories/One-shot comedies because since they're so short, why should I bother outlining them at all?

But I admit, I have outlined my current epic and the next one, but "Tapestry of Evil" doesn't follow the outline 100%. Several things have happened and really I only use the outline to help me remember what's supposed to happen next. Sort of a reminder, really.

Originally, I planned on outlining my original fiction story, "Two Worlds," but I decided not to after reading this entry. All I really need to do is remember a few key events and I'll let the story write itself. Besides, every time I tried to outline it nothing ever came out all that great, so I'll see how writing as I go works.

Thanks for writing this entry. I may possibly link to this in my sig sometime. Maybe later.

-TNTOS-
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Question: Say I've started writing an epic. After I've read this, you think I should scrap what I've got and start using the AM, or just continue on and try the AM later?
Oh BTW-Nice post, really long. Are you sure this isn't the longest ever on the Bones Blog? tongue.gif It was actually very beneficial though.
Thanks!
~Zaxvo
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Takua the Wanderer
Dec 18 2008 08:25 PM
It sounds like role-playing with Bionicle sets... blink.gif
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metrunui955
Dec 18 2008 09:21 PM
I think this is actually very useful. I had never thought of letting the story write itself in my past epics. I just made up new events and conflicts and attempted to connect them to the previous conflict. Many of those connections are very vague and didn't made the story make much sense. I'll be trying this method to write the future chapters of my epic (Exo-Force: Jungle Mission), and see how it turns out.
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Bones, you may have just helped me in more ways than one with this blog entry. As you can probably tell by my sig, I've been working on an epic, and although I haven't finished writing it yet, I know pretty much what is going to happen in the final chapters.

Of course though, I want to make this into a whole series of epics, but I have a slight problem - namely that I have really no idea of what is going to happen after epic 1. Oh sure, I have a few basic ideas, but nothing's set in stone like it was for the first epic (many of my plot twists and events were planned out before hand). You may have just given me the solution though, bones. I think writing out the next epic using the technique you explained probably will help a lot smile.gif

And, even if that doesn't happens, at least this article has encouraged me to expand my database of info on my epic's world by a TON. That will come in handy for sure. cool.gif

~~END~~
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kaukau.gifUrg. Stop being better than me. You now totally destroyed my dreams of creating a well organized blog entry of a similar theme.

EDIT: By the way, since you're so awesome...



Your Honor,
Emperor Kraggh
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Tridax the Raptor
Mar 16 2009 06:46 PM
So, are you the voice in my head that, on my first essay, yelled at me," Who gives a **** about outlining the plot! Just let it spill out like your verbal diarrhea!"

tongue.gif
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Evil Lord Survurlode
The Chief Gremlin, Minion of Survurlode
Gollaga, Enemy of Survurlode
Orca Goblahk, Ex-Minion Of Survurlode
Lawyerahk Bob, of the Dreaded Real Life Attack Wing


Powerpoint Art Guides:
Vector Art In Powerpoint: Quality, Inexpensive, Easy
Coolifying With Powerpoint Vector Art

Ions of Opine:
Character Death
Walmart is Not Evil
Stop the "Everybody Hates" Nonsense
Join Petiton for Ban Bad Grammer Toady!
BZP's "Some-won Dyed!1!1!" Culture

Chronicles of Bio:
What Most Fans Want
Focus Groups
Easy Makuta Powers Guide
2008 Is Not The End
Science Fantasy = Bionicle
Good and Evil: Points of View?
Ruthless Elegance: A Visual Guide To Cool
A Magical Forest Called Bionicle
Why Kopeke as Chronicler?

Wall of History:
History of Technicism Vs. Bioniclism
History of Set Gimmicks in Bionicle
History of Violence in Bionicle

Logic is the Key:
Criticizing Me

Dissecting Nostalgia
Friends Can Disagree
Taste Discrimination Fallacy, Taste Equality
Am I Against Free Speech?

Complaint Topic Archive
Can Opinions Be Wrong?
Why I Do What I Do
BZP Debate Terms Guide

Log of B:
Track Blog Toolbar Code


Blog Contests:
1: Pet Peeve Contest -- Help Fight Survurlode!
Pet Peeve Winners & Reward art!
2: Powerpoint Faces
.ppt Faces Winners!
3: 2nd Chances MOCs: Beasts! (BPC#1)
Beasts MOC winners
4: Monstery Mystery Powerpoint Art (BPC#2)
Unseen (Ch. 1 of slow-reveal of Monster Mystery winner)
5: Blue MOCs 2nd Chances (BPC#3)
Blue Results
6: Bohrok Kool (BPC#4)
7: Multiverse Guide Art (EMC#3.5)
EM Guide Art Results

.ppt Faces Top 3

These are the top three winning entries of the Powerpoint Faces art contest on the Bones Blog.

1st Place by Ary


2nd Place by Rangan Mercenus™


3rd Place by Thormen


The other winning entries are listed here, along with bio info about the artwork.

Skull Of Approval



Use of this image is valid only when posted by bonesiii. High quality content is requisite. The blog entry itself wins the award. If you win multiple times, you are permitted to say so whereever you display the award.

Pet Peeve Gallery

The following Pet Peeves were identified by BZPower members in a contest for use in an allergenic weapon to be used against Evil Lord Survurlode. These photos taken by me when the Peeves were in captivity. Peeve names link to full bios.

Grand Prize: Flame
By Wysp

Adult form (click thumbnail):


2nd Place: The Misinformed
By Electric Turahk


3rd Place: Ignorance
By Kopaka's Apprentice


4th Place: Corrector
By xccj


5th Place: Double Posters
By EmperorWhenua


6th Place: CAPS Locker
By Toa of Dancing


7th Place: Miwo
By Lluvio


8th Place: Endtag Argh
By Kakaru


9th Place: Blushroom
By Darkspine Neya


10th Place: TB-RPG Overlord
By Nero


11th Place: Polloflower
By The Infection


12th Place: Emoticanus
By Kohena: Great Warrior of Pie


13th Place: Toktomee
By Wyattu


14th Place: Typcgraphical Gnomelette
By Arpy


15th Place: Shortenator
By Axinian the Chronicler


16th Place: Pica'huge
By ~Kativa~


Peeves by me:

Bionicles:


Plural Apostrophe's:


Alwayzon Turnsignal:


Neveron Turnsignal:


Chalkboard Scratcher:


DoomAH:


Stolen Thunder:

Evil Lord Survurlode Says...



"Brave Knight Binkmeister thought he could banish me with new software. Ha! Lord Survurlode is immortal--I survived because I retained a connection with the One Refresh To Rule Them All. Sauron tried to survive in the telephone system with his One Ring--but that dastardly Frodo tossed it into Mount Dume. Sauron was lost. But the Refresh still exists, oh yes, and as long as it does, I live also, to bring my floods to the BZP forums!"

--Evil Lord Survurlode,
in a BZP interview


"Killeth them with kindness. That's what my mother taught me. So I figured, instead of trying to fight Brave Knight Binkmeister's attempt to overthrow me... I would instead give him the one thing he loves most. Bubble Wrap. Not only him, but all of his followers. BZP members once knew me as their common enemy. But now... am I just a kind old man who has free Bubble Wrap?"

--Evil Lord Survurlode


"Why in the world am I calling him Brave Knight Binkmeister?! That term sounds... nice. It makes him sound like a hero! NO!!! He's my enemy! No, no, henceforth he shalt be known as 'Cowardly Scum Binkmeister'!"

--Evil Lord Survurlode


"Yes, my new minion, you now see the dastardly plans BZP members have--they seek to avoid my floods by getting on in the morning or the late evening, or worse, the nighttime. Sauron might have been a sleepless creature of the night, but personally I can't stand coffee. But not to worry! You, my friend, will go out and enslave the members. You will sit enthroned on their shelves, hung from their walls like a cursed mark, and wrapped around their wrists like handcuffs. Even they shalt know the constraints of time! Behold, the Evil Clock!"

--Evil Lord Survurlode


"What is that you sayeth, Evil Clock? BZPower is now five long years old? So what? I am thousands upon thousands of years old! I am, in fact, as old as the ocean that I command with my floods! I am even older than clocks like you! What's that? Yeah, yeah, but I just don't feel like AARP is for me..."

--Evil Lord Survurlode


"What do you mean, I'm not speaking in proper Old English? I am Lord Survurlode. If I say this is Old English, it iseth!"

--Evil Lord Survurlode


"What doth mine eyes spyeth? I see-eth a member attempting to posteth! No! I shalt not alloweth it! Rise, ye Floodes! Riseth! ...What? No, I ameth noteth tryingeth hardereth to speaketh Oldeth Englisheth! Ye Silly Clocke!"

--Evil Lord Survurlode


"No, I am NOT an April Fool's Joke! Just because my power increases tenfold on that day doesn't mean my existence depends on it."

--Evil Lord Survurlode


"Frodo? Why would I be scared of him? He sailed off to the West--it means he died, yo! Besides, the One Refresh cannot be melted in some volcano. It would take a... No, wait... Sorry, that information is classified. Muahahahaha!"

--Evil Lord Suvurlode


"The term 'Yo' can be Old English! Yeesh!"

--Evil Lord Survurlode


"See, my problem is that I am far older than Old English. To me it's that newfangled slang those Anglo-Saxon types speak. You'll forgive me if I get it confused with the five million different versions that came out since then. Yes, you will. Or else."

--Evil Lord Survurlode


"..."

--Evil Lord Survurlode's
Kopeke Impression


"What do you mean, it's really 'Mount Doomah?!'"

--Evil Lord Survurlode


"You are getting veeery sleepy. You need more Bubble Wrap. That's right, little member. Wallow in bubble wrap forever. Say it with me now. 'Must. Have. More.'"

--Evil Lord Survurlode


"Brave Knight--I mean, Cowardly Sponge Binkmeister has attempted to attacketh me once again! But lo, I am-- What? Sponge? Is that what I said? I meant Scum. Brave Scum Binkmeister-- What now? Oh, be quiet, minion."

--Evil Lord Survurlode


"No, I am not a girl!"

--Evil Lord Survurlode,
on his power over water


"Muahahahahahahahaha*cough* *hack* *gurgle* ..... *ahem* Must remember to watch the evil laugh when the floodwaters get that high..."

--Evil Lord Survurlode


"Oh, that's an easy question. See, Sauron's One Telephone Ring looked like a metal ring, right? Well, the One Refresh looks like a ring made out of those green arrows... like on that refresh button up there. Wait... why am I telling you this?!"

--Evil Lord Survurlode,
in a BZP interview


"No, I do not get rusty! This is Stainless Steel! What? Yes, yes! They had stainless steel thousands of years ago. Yeesh."

--Evil Lord Survurlode

Gallery Of Explosions

Because explosions are the answer.





























Profundities

"While it's all well and good for someone to turn the other cheek in daily life, in times of great hardship another thought comes to mind instead; namely that one cannot turn a blind eye to the actions of evil and still call himself good."
---Nako



"This is a discussion forum for a reason; it's a place where opinions can be discussed and debated civilly, not where one person can claim their opinion as fact and all others as "just opinions." Every person should, however, support their opinions with facts and evidence of all kinds."




"'The challenge of being a Biological chronicler is understanding why Lego are using another method to sell better. It gets boring using the same ones all the time. Variety is the spice of selling, after all.'
— A Biological chronicler"



"I could convince a thousand people that the moon is made of cheese... and yet it would remain as rocky as ever."



"This is simple, people! If it hurts to hit yourself with a hammer, then don't do it!"



"A famous drummer sits down to do a drum solo, but he has to keep his solo up for five minutes. Does he do all his amazing stuff first? no! If he did that, he would loose all attention because the end would be so boring. If he were smart, he would start out with something simple, and then add to its complexity as he goes along, so that more people would be into it.

The point is, writing either a drum solo, or is like a mountain, the bigger the base, the higher it can get, and the more amazing it is. Think about it, when building a mountain of dirt or sand, you need to slowly create your huge base, then as you build towards the peak things get faster and easier to pile on. The High points are where the story is fast paced and we are reaching the climax--what we just left on the last mountain of story we had (the MU story arch), and now Greg is building a new story mountain for us."

Gallery Of Galaxies

~through the macroscope~































Sigisms

QUOTE
92% of people have moved on from Gregorian chants. If you are part of the 8% that still listens to real music, copy and paste this into your sig.


QUOTE
Least Favorite Edit Of Your Least Favorite Post On Your Most Favorite Day Of The Month?


QUOTE
Secret Info: The Red Star is Tahu's mobile space mansion, complete with servants.


QUOTE
Join the petiton for ban bad grammer toady!


QUOTE
9009 Ways To Say "I Heart Spam"


QUOTE
92% of all teenagers claim they're in the 8% that hasn't moved on to rap.
If you are part of the 0% that still uses real math, copy and paste this into your sig.


QUOTE
What Is Your Alter-Ego's Imaginary Friend's Least Favorite Pet Collar?

Certificates Of Approval

Various award imagery and suchnot:






(Above from Makaru; resized to fit.)










(Resized to fit.)


















The above earned twice.




















Certificates Of Approval

Part 2









Needs sized down



Needs sized down













/---------------!.!----------------\
/This blog has been approved by \
/--------------Saiph--------------\
/----------------------------------\
/-For demonstrating outstanding-\
/~~~~RHYME and REASON~~~~\
\----------------!.!-----------------/











_bonesquotes_i

QUOTE
Logic is the key.


QUOTE
I am insane. I know that I am insane. In fact, I know that I am so insane, that I am incapable of realizing that I am insane. Therefore, I know that I am not insane.


QUOTE
Forgetting things since.... umm....


QUOTE
Creativity should not be confused with nuclear weapons.


QUOTE
I heart logic.


QUOTE
Only dead things do not change. Much.


QUOTE
Pay attention now. Repeat after me. "Bones. Can. Be. Wrong."


QUOTE
The problem is, "Tradition for tradition's sake" is like flying blind in an airplane. It's like saying as you approach a mountain "But we've always flown in this direction before... why would we change direction? It isn't the tradition!"


QUOTE
Remember that -- clever absurdity, designed to harmonize with certain tastes, is the key to originality.


QUOTE
Ironicles.


QUOTE
People are like snowflakes. No two are the same.


QUOTE
Yes, the Toa will win somehow. But let me give you a challenge. Write a story. In which the good guys win, or the bad guys win, doesn't matter. But write it with only introducing the challenges that the winner must overcome, and avoid showing how the winner wins. Just set up the problem, then skip to the end:

"In the end, this character wins, somehow."

Now, do you think this is a successful format for a story, that anybody would really want to read? [...] Readers demand that you as writer have thought through the "how" of the story.


QUOTE
Where is this idea coming from?


QUOTE
Makutarahk


QUOTE
[L]et's not mince words here -- all LEGO products are toys. It's a toy company, in the toy business. There's nothing wrong with that.


QUOTE
[A] wise Daoist once said that a name is merely a label. If a person calls me a "nerd", then that is their label for me. If a person calls me a "human", that is a label. If they call me "bonesiii", that is a label. I would simply reply that, if "nerd" is the term they wish to apply to me, like "human", then so be it -- I would thus be proud of that label, because I am proud of who I am.


QUOTE
I'm not telepathic.


QUOTE
I don't know if this is just the way I'm wired, but I don't really think like "hey, wanna be my friend?" I just be myself, treat others with respect and friendliness, and those who would make good friends just sorta show up. And I really don't think like "well, you're not my friend, you are, you aren't" etc. Anybody can be my friend.


QUOTE
*revives topic, only to kill it seconds later*


QUOTE
My two pieces of eight.


QUOTE
Ha ha! Voriki myth still isn't dead? It's been so long since the constant flow of these topics stopped I guess I thought Voriki had finally kicked the bucket. Well, I hate to put another nail in the old guy's coffin, but...

Topic closed.

I Heart Logic

_bonesquotes_ii

QUOTE
Ahhhhh, the sweet smell of complaint topics in July!


QUOTE
I think Evil Lord Survurlode is out to get me.


QUOTE
Bionicle doesn't revolve around ANY one fan. Not even you.


QUOTE
Bionicle does NOT age with its fans.


QUOTE
If something absolutely has to be done for the greater good, it is by definition NOT evil.


QUOTE
Think, guys, think! You have brains! Use them!


QUOTE
Logic is not some meaningless buzzword you can throw around like pie, at least not as long as I, an actual logician, am here.


QUOTE
Common myth. The answer is: "Yes, if you are an ancient Greek."


QUOTE
Last I checked, most of us aren't ancient Greeks. tongue.gif Some of us are ancient Geeks, but...


QUOTE
Besides, show me a brown rock, and I'll use your logic on you. "That's not a rock, it's hardened lava."


QUOTE
The best symbol of stone would be gray. But it would probably sell almost as bad as brown -- LEGO needed a "flashy" color, more like what Ta, Ga, and Le Toa have.


QUOTE
Do not insult cheese.


QUOTE
Omi's right.


QUOTE
Forty-two.

(Four eight fifteen sixteen twenty-three... *ahem*)


QUOTE
Logic! Why don't they teach logic in these schools?


QUOTE
Can you imagine MNOG ending with the Turaga and Matoran executing Ahkmou?


QUOTE
So here's the question: If LEGO working harder by listening to fans is "lazy", then wouldn't they be "lazy" if they listened to you -- a fan?


QUOTE
You don't need to hate to say it.


QUOTE
Four extra letters. "Bionicle sets." How hard is that?

Actually, three extra letters since the s just moves.


QUOTE
If they are "Bionicles", then you are "History".


QUOTE
BZPers are often the exception, not the rule.

::celestial_drink::

_bonesquotes_iii

QUOTE
Of course it's cruel -- did you think bad guys were Mother Teresa?


QUOTE
It isn't like I hide it, but it also isn't like I go up to random students at college at say "Hey, I like Bionicle, isn't that something?!"


QUOTE
One man's junk is another man's treasure.


QUOTE
I had the same theory in ages past, and Greg personally disproved it.


QUOTE
The thing can destroy time, man. You guard those kinda things.


QUOTE
Brevity is the soul.


QUOTE
Which I suppose is a fancy way of saying, "I have no idea."


QUOTE
I attack my own theories. I'm weird like that.


QUOTE
If only books could be updated like web pages.


QUOTE
Bionicle was supposedly a betrayal of everything LEGO stands for, its pieces far too clunky, a horrible turn away from the more "intelligent" Technic and a total stabbing in the back of the good old brick, an insult to AFOLS, evidence of a mythical trend away from the construction toy, far too violent, etc.


QUOTE
It's really pretty simple:

Gadunka is one of the "coolest" sets ever. Most inventive, most unusual, most striking. Thus, he is horrible.


QUOTE
Of course they're weird. All Bionicle names are supposed to be weird. Show me the Bionicle name that is "normal".


QUOTE
You just completely contradicted yourself. If Mata Nui was working out great, then wouldn't Metru Nui have made less money?



QUOTE
If that's greedy, then you are greedy for driving in a car to get somewhere far away fast, for wearing shoes so you can walk at a reasonable pace without cutting your feet, using silverware to better eat your food, using a telephone to avoid having to make a trip and speak, using a computer to type a forum post when you could walk personally to everybody's house and speak what you just said over and over and over again.... At least 2000 times to account for all the possible active BZP members, and preferably about five million times -- and you'd have to go door to door throughout the whole world to even figure out which people were Bionicle fans anyways before you started confusing monks in Tibet with strange words like "Kongu" and "Cordak". All within your own lifetime, regardless of whatever else you had wanted to do in your life.

And forget speech. You have to scratch out the message with your fingernails in stone. Then maybe you wouldn't be greedy. Maybe.



QUOTE
Nobody would surprise me, so it's probably Makuta. But I went with Hydraxon, because he's a weapons master and it would make sense, no?


QUOTE
Why didn't I think of that earlier?


QUOTE
I don't just ask rhetorical questions -- I answer them.


QUOTE
I knew you'd say that.


QUOTE
You're a body with a head. So what?


QUOTE
A simple conversion is not a business plan to actually get two radically different markets to behave as if they were the same.


QUOTE
Um, hello? Are my posts invisible?


QUOTE
Universe go poof.

We All Live In An

_bonesquotes_iiii

QUOTE
I hate typing Roman numerals above three.


QUOTE
I always find these topics funny -- everybody goes in circles, pointing to the exact same aspect of the set and going "See that? So it's obvious it's horrible! How can you not see that?", and then someone else saying, "See that? It's obvious it's awesome! How can you not see that?"


QUOTE
Obviously, not everybody sees I to I.


QUOTE
They have their uses -- like if you're making a MOC that's supposed to be a light green faceless humanoid.


QUOTE
I hate it when I can't tell if someone's joking.


QUOTE
Yes, that's an excuse to be lazy.


QUOTE
Hold on just a second. I think you have things backwards. Mata Nui was not paradise -- it was a place of horror and war for a thousand years!


QUOTE
Lol.


QUOTE
I'm a logician. I can tell you that your argument does not merely sound illogical. It is.


QUOTE
Yeah, that'd be bad. Next question?


QUOTE
We'd still have wooden ducks, no plastic bricks, and definately no LEGO if change was prevented. Really, we wouldn't even have that.


QUOTE
It is unfortunate that it's this way (at least for us). But it is. We might as well come to grips with it.


QUOTE
And I walk away in peace.


QUOTE
You have no idea how many times I've read this style of opening to this kind of topic, man. I must admit I am very very tired of it.

*deeeeep breath*

*shakes head madly*

Okay, I'm good.


QUOTE
My memory doesn't go back that far.


QUOTE
If I didn't agree with something, I'd try to find out the reasons for it before doing anything else, which is something I think some people forget to do and instead they dig themselves a hole for no reason.


QUOTE
Lol, I think you missed the point -- BR isn't going to think your forum deserves approval if he has to be told it exists.


QUOTE
I'm a coolomaniac.


QUOTE
But I like spam!
Wait...


QUOTE
This is not a country. This is a website. Countries are led by governments. Websites are owned by owners. Countries are places you physically exist in, and may have difficulty leaving. Websites are places YOU choose to go. Countries are places you may be born in, or grow up in, etc.

BZPower is a place YOU sign an agreement in order to join. Blame cannot be placed on us when a member violates that agreement. And if a member chooses not to like that agreement anymore, they are free to leave at will. If a member violates the agreement they made with us, we are justified in punishing the member as agreed.


QUOTE
I'm a logician -- I think in terms of what makes sense all the time. I don't just agree -- I know why I agree, and I think my reasons are pretty sound.


QUOTE
If I'm breaking a rule, it's because I gave myself permission to allow myself an exception, thus I am not technically breaking it.


QUOTE
[A]lthough Evil Lord Survurlode does seem to be making a bit of a comeback, just like Sauron, so we might have an epic war that will spawn a novel and three giant books of a trilogy soon... but yeah...


QUOTE
I object to the wording of this question.


QUOTE
Huzzah?

I'm A Doctor, Not A Great Being

_bonesquotes #whatever

QUOTE
Ever had one of those moments where you think you just passed into an alternate timeline? This is one. ()_o


QUOTE
Rants are based on pompous egos and desire to pick a fight. Not intelligence.


QUOTE
The Monster on LOST is Makuta.


QUOTE
Cynics are some of the most naive people on the planet. They hear someone claim things are bad, and they accept it without question.


QUOTE
I'm a realist with an imagination.


QUOTE
I blame Survurlode.


QUOTE
You see a flamer, your response should not be to just flame him back -- you lower yourself to his level if you do.


QUOTE
Let's open that can of worms, as unpleasant as it might be. [...] *I'm not afraid of you, worms!*


QUOTE
"Transformation" can be as simple as a bomb rearranging a building into a debris field.


QUOTE
Far better to be proven wrong than to be wrong without knowing it.


QUOTE
I remember when I was a kid, and I was just playing around, I didn't know this stuff, so I said gas prices were five dollars at my play gas station.

My dad laughed, said gas would never be that expensive.


QUOTE
Toa carrying rifles... as they ride their space shuttles into... Klingon territory...


QUOTE
Kazi [ha]s Rahkshi staffs. (Oooh, Kazi=evil??)


QUOTE
Take an election between two candidates. Obviously, both candidates will get votes. However, one will get more votes, and one will get less. You would be, in this example, voting for the one with less votes (Mr. Olderfanson). You see why the fact that you, one person, did vote for that guy, doesn't prove that he won the election? [...] "Mr. Newerfanson" won the election.


QUOTE
o_O


QUOTE
In general, I do enjoy debates--but I don't enjoy being flamed, no. Nor do I enjoy wasting time when I have tons of PMs I need to reply to and top secret reference projects to work on and all that responding to things that could have been cleared up with more thought before posting, heh. Debates can still get tedious when it seems (please note "seems"!) that a few people refuse to approach them with an open mind.


QUOTE
<_<
>_>
<_>


QUOTE
I didn't even spell "the" right.


QUOTE
Lol. I never said I'm always right! Yeesh, what do I have to do to convince you guys I don't think that? Purposefully take wrong positions or something?


QUOTE
Guess what? I could draw before I learned to write, but does that mean I should get all huffy and insulted at the fact that not everybody shares my particular talent? This is just absurd, isn't it? Did you honestly think that everybody has the same talents and gains proficiency at the same time?



QUOTE
When someone much older than you was a kid, LEGO was wooden toys. [fogie teeth voice]"These newfangled plastic things are insulting! As if there isn't money to be made in good old fashioned woodblock toys!"[/fogie teeth voice]


QUOTE
Can we sing kumbaya yet? Sing it! Koooooooo----oom---bah-----yaaaaaaaaahhhhhh.

Or something... Sing it! You don't even have to agree with me! Just sing it anyways, maaan!

Sing!


QUOTE
Your mistake is that you are thinking in terms of a simplistic "formula" of strength, and thinking that can be used to predict everything. It can't--every situation is different, and sometimes a weak Matoran might catch a glimpse of a passing Rahkshi while a powerful "Toa Ultimaultrasuper" might get blasted to bits when the same Rahkshi actually attacks. You need to be realistic--think in terms of the situation. Stories are based on that--they are a "game of seconds and inches" where dangers both big and small can occur to both powerful and weak people, and how you perform depends on your brains and the time you have to prepare more than your actual power level.


QUOTE
Why did the entirely robotic Bohrok need teeth? Someone explain how that is okay but teeth in Piraka isn't?


QUOTE
Phew. Now, to post, and see if I maxed the text limit out.

Yabo! Hahaha!

_bonesquotes #whatever.2

QUOTE
Thanks X. Thanks D. Thanks X and D. XD


QUOTE
I lazy.


QUOTE
You can make any innovation look bad if you point to the non-innovative ways (the old "normal" ways) and claim they must be followed blindly.


QUOTE
But what I don't get about it is -- why the apparent desire to kill characters off for no reason? In real life you meet tons of people who you will never meet again, and they're not dead. Is that to you a problem? I don't get it -- you'd go insane if you tried to stay in touch with every random old lady that said hi when you were walking the dog...


QUOTE
Yes, my post in this topic is product placement. So sue me.


QUOTE
In addition, high gravity affects spacetime on a fundamental level, slowing time down and bending the spatial brane. Not to be confused with the spacious brain.


QUOTE
It would create a field of electrogravimetry that would pull all nearby matter in and then make it explode. The explosion cloud would take the form of an anchovy.


QUOTE
There's only a slim chance that we exist.


QUOTE
I love taking myself out of context.


QUOTE
I think it's admirable to be careful not to offend people where it makes sense. But at some point, you have to be willing to stand up for yourself and be confident enough that if someone comes at you with an unreasonable accusation, you don't take it.


QUOTE
I think aliens invaded already and have fooled us into thinking they are mere animals who "meow".


QUOTE
Good stories aren't puppet shows. They are tales of life, with realistic characters -- people -- living out their lives, with really minimal "guiding" by the author.


QUOTE
Oh goody, a complainer to blast to oblivion.


QUOTE
To begin with, I disagree strongly with pretending it is "killing off", rather than a serious story being told, with serious themes and life in the story. Characters aren't "killed off". They die.

I find this term somewhat offensive, because it implies the writer kills the character like a TV show host telling a contestant to leave. This is not a game show. It is the events of the storyline that kill the character. That term is merely a psychological shield to avoid the emotion of the moment in the story. IMO, that's a kind of immaturity.


QUOTE
Um.


QUOTE
You can't always get what you want "now now now". Your logic makes no sense -- if you want to know what's in the books, that means you support the books' existence. Yet you apparently want spoilers to go up the day it's out, so in the countries where it is bought, people could just read the spoilers and not buy the book, risking its sales going down and the books ending, and thus no more spoilers for you to read!


QUOTE
Truth = Truth. And nothing else.


QUOTE
I had spammed ten thousand times.


QUOTE
A good comedy is a development, like a story, not a punchline. You start with a situation, and it goes in unexpected, funny ways, which leads into other twists, to a conclusion that often can be more serious than funny, avoiding random cliches and developing enough logic that it doesn't feel like you slapped random nonsense down. Comedies Forum has this bad rap of having a lot of Unfunny Stuff -- I think it's the temptation to write short punchlines drawing on typical one-liner cliches that causes this. The 300 word rule is a good basic start to avoiding that problem.


QUOTE
Dude. My voting precint is a "23". ph34r.gif


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And what people are saying about randomosity is true -- I hope that it's not surprising that as a logician, I understand how to be funny (though I won't try in this post ). Logic isn't for Spock who refuses to smile -- you actually need logic in your comedy to make it funny. In my experience, a balance of logic and random nonsense helps -- even logic OF the random nonsense.


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I highly recommendate it.


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Another mistake a lot of people make is thinking a comedy must be 100% funny -- reality is that that tends to just overwhelm the reader and come off more as spam. If you look at my Survurlode interviews, for example, there is always at least one serious theme that the whole work revolves around. The serious aspects support the humorous, and vice versa.


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*strongly approves of the use of the term "bionical"*


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Well, my observation has always been the opposite -- more established official facts inspires MORE fan imagination -- at least with imaginative official facts. It was really only once the "gappists" starting complaining, in my observation as a 2003+ member here, about "tons of official facts" that I saw the fanfiction community here really explode with creativity.

Think about it -- imagination feuls imagination. Less imagination doesn't -- it starves imagination.

Search My Blog

_bonesquotes #whatever.3

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How much wood would a woodwood wood if a woodwood would would wood?


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But my point related to that isn't that I literally think it should be FULLY sun-sized. I'm just saying, there's a whole range, from a little larger than Earth, to a LOT larger, to a TONTONZILLION larger, and it's all possible if the story team just feels like it.


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*imagines massive asteriod pulling out a pirate's telescope lol*


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GD is NOT for storyline-only discussion. That discussion belongs in S&T.


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S&T policies are designed for good reasons, tried, tested, and they work.


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Sure I'm sure -- it's Bionicle. Anything's possible.


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I never understand these claims -- how do you know what "proportionate" is for that character? He's a fictional character, made out of plastic LEGO parts.

So why get annoyed at it? When you look at a giraffe, do you get annoyed? It makes no sense to me to do so.

Besides, you're setting yourself up for it. Nobody ever told you these characters were supposed to be exactly human.

If you look at an ape, would you say it's done wrong, just because it resembles a human?


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I plan not to, but I guess if the site shut down I'd kinda have to, wouldn't I?


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...they usually give their jokes when they have the upper hand at the moment, though, or when they've just run into a frustrating difficulty that's not immediately dangerous, which are realistic IMO. When they're in immediate danger, I am not aware that they pause to crack jokes.


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I strongly disagree -- everybody capitalizes their name. It's cliche.

(I do not capitalize because 1) I hate being cliche, and 2) it is symbolic of humility.)


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I knew you'd say that.


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Seriously though, obviously the focus groups like silver, guys -- there's no mystery, those of you portraying it as odd that LEGO keeps using the color. This is how personal taste works -- it differs, and you're gonna find yourself in the minority sometimes. Best get used to it -- that's life.


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*lets self dp*


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I'm not a soldier, but I know that keeping your sense of humor alive even in dangerous or serious situations can be a huge boon to keeping your sanity.

He who forgets how to laugh forgets how to live.


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I heart silver. My favorite metallic. If I had my way, gold would be considered lesser than silver.


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The red eye thing is the closest thing you have to evidence, but I could argue that Berix is the traitor for spending time away from the villages, or Ackar is the traitor because his name sounds like Admiral Ackbar and there was a traitor in Star Wars called Darth Vader.


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Ultimately it comes down to this for me -- YOU choose to dissapointed or miserable.

If you expected the universe to be perfect, that was your choice, and really not very sensible of you.


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If I as a writer were to try to appeal to the attitude you express in your post, I would feel like I am constantly walking on eggshells. Everytime I had a cool idea how to use a character, or more importantly logic told me the character naturally would be involved in something, I would have to worry about whether I shouldn't do it as it might offend someone.

That's a miserable way to write, and I wouldn't wish that on the story team, myself, or anyone.


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But one thing. Everyone expects something when they do something.


Very true. For example, when I posted the above post, I expected somebody to reward me with this point, giving me an excuse to discuss it in a separate post so as to give it better focus.


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Therefore, the more "things to expect" from a "donation or whatever the heck you want to call it", the more likely we get mooooolaaaaaaaa. Therefore good.

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I don't see what the anology has to do with this. "Chevys" (or "Chevies") makes sense. Like "Keets" or Morby or my personal favorite for Makuta -- Terry Mack. "Biological Chronicles" referring to beings makes no sense. And as I typed this, a Chevy ad came on TV. They called it "Chevy." Seriously, exact same time.


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Oh my, you're completely irrelevant metaphor makes you look sooo intelligent.


This is obviously getting out of hand, so I guess I have to close it. Also, you failed to answer my question. When a moderator asks you a question, answer it. Capisce? wink.gif

Please do not attack people like that. That is flaming, or at best trolling, both of which are not allowed.


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What does a premier member buy?

1) YOUR right to be on here for free.

2) Their right to be on here.

3) PM perks, like poll-making, blogs, etc.

4) Proto.

No matter how you slice it, sending in that money is NOT just buying proto. Even if proto is all they want, they're still buying YOUR right to be on here for free. Yall should be grateful.

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