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What Writers Should Learn from Wonder Woman

11 January 2018

18 Comments to “What Writers Should Learn from Wonder Woman”

  1. Could we please have a permanent moratorium from what writers can learn from movies, TV, and comic books?

    • Why? I disagree with the guy’s apparent premise that blended emotions can’t or don’t build to specific ends, but he has some interesting points.

    • Why? Writing is writing, story telling is story telling. Its all writing and story. Unless you’re having a conversation about prose, I don’t see how writing that ends up as a visual medium is all that different when it comes to plot, character and emotion.

    • Ashe Elton Parker

      Why? Movies, TV, and comic books are all written to some extent. I’d be willing to bet a number of writers of scripts for movies, TV, and comic books have read/viewed advice for prose writers at some point in their creative development, so why can’t the visual media inform on the textual one?

    • Can we please have a permanent ban on learning effective storytelling. It’s just so tiresome to hear how other people are doing it EXACTLY right. /S

      • Have you considered that these “tiresome” advice pieces are meant to complement/counter MFA received knowledge? There’s more to writing than wordsmithinh.

        As pointed out above, storytelling is storytelling regardless of the mechanism involved and the creator has to deal with many of the same issues in prose as on video, mixed media, and even gaming.

        It’s not as if anybody is pointing a gun at us to force their ideas upon us. As seen here, different people have different takes on the matter. Airing those differences can be educational. Or at least entertaining.

        There is no need to ban anything; if it doesn’t interest you, you can always ignore it and move on.

    • I’m going to second Catana’s comment. While, yes, “storytelling is storytelling,” novels are not identical to movies. You spend 90-120 minutes watching a movie, and most of the experience comes from the outside. You spend several hours, possibly over the period of a week or more, reading a book, and most of the experience takes place inside your head.

      It’s getting harder and harder to find craft books or blog posts or videos like this one that use other books as examples. It’s as if they’re afraid novelists don’t read books, while they’re certain everyone has seen certain movies.

      This trend has led to a lot of sameness, both in movies and books. I’m not saying novelists can’t learn from watching movies, but I would like to see more focus on novels they can learn from.

      • Yes, I’ve read several books where the author uses movies to illustrate a point about writing novels. It was confusing, because while the end result may be the same, or nearly so, the process to get there is different.

        I think we can learn from other creative works, but I’d prefer having the same form of expression used to show me the reasoning for doing specific things.

        But, I’m used to being the odd duck out, so carry on.

  2. I completely disagree with most of this. Not all, but most. Ugh.

    Especially regarding Civil War. That scene was played from Stark’s point of view, and we got it in his tone. He thought there’d be a little fight, no one would get hurt, and that Cap would “come to his senses,” and they’d all go back to being friends. It was highlighting how little he actually understood Cap’s point of view. That scene was freaking perfect. More importantly, ratcheting up the tension to 11 there give the film nowhere to go in the more tense, more personal fight between Tony and Cap at the end of the film.

    • I loved that scene. I replayed it a few times. Loved it. I have no problem with Whedonesque grim/joke-ness. In fact, that’s one of the things I loved about Buffy and about Angel….yes, serious and tragic and scary stuff, but also that jokey twist that’s his trademark. I guess for B/A fans, seeing that same thing done by him with superheroes (and B/A were that, too) works.

  3. The video misses the key point:

    If you’re going to tell people the truth, you better make them laugh; otherwise they’ll kill you.

    — G.B. Shaw

    “Bathos” is one of those terms that was created in the 18th century that was used to dismiss something important.

    – To basically corrupt a concept to win an argument, and the damage stuck.

    “Peri Bathous, Or the Art of Sinking in Poetry” is a short essay by Alexander Pope published in 1727. The aim of the essay is to ridicule contemporary poets.

    It’s the same way that “Belief” was corrupted to win a philosophical argument, and now we are stuck with that corrupt form, thus crippling society.

    The original use of “Belief” was about doing “work”:

    – I believe in your public garden and I will work to make it happen.

    You had a bunch of philosophers that were not interested in actually working, so you end up today with someone sneering, “Oh, you believe that?”

    When someone starts sneering, “Oh, you believe that?” I always say:

    – At the center of every beLIEf is a lie. At the heart of every beLIEver is a lie. I’m not interested in lies.

    I’m still working on my FAQ page. Here’s part that goes against the video:

    The key to unlocking Story from the Archive was to find the “funny”. People would ask: Do you mean funny ha-ha or funny ah-ha. That is, funny “humorous” or funny “strange”, and I would say, “Yes.” Unlocking Story from the Archive worked best when I could achieve both humorous and strange at the same time.

    Some people are upset by that combination. To bad. That’s how the Story goes. HA!

    Basically, I’ve lived too long, survived too many things, to let myself be crippled by someone else’s limitations.

    The guy who made the video is clearly not in my demographic. HA!

    • The word “believe” is from the Old English word belīefan which is related to German glauben and means more or less “to accept as true,” usually indicating that it’s without absolute certainty.

      Likewise, “belief” is from lēafa (cognate with German Glaube) and the root of both words is that of something agreeable or pleasant. Belief is not related to “lie” (Old English licgan, ‘cg’ is the ‘dg’ sound in “edge”).

      So what you say is not only categorically untrue, it ironically seems that you are quite interested in that particular lie.

  4. Ashe Elton Parker

    I think this whole video is based more on a matter of personal taste than anything else.

  5. It’s not his kind of humor, and when done wrong can ruin the movie. However, he’s wrong about comparing Spider-man with Doc. Strange. Those two scenes might be at the same time, but they aren’t the same kind of scene. The end of Spidey, where MJ see’s him for who he really is, is more of the equivalent. And yeah, it’s followed up with a joke. “This is really heavy.” He’s a pretty smart guy though, even if I don’t agree with his opinion.

  6. Call me old-fashioned, but I completely agree with the video.

    There’s a huge difference between the grim humor assumed by the hero just as he resolutely marches to his likely doom, and the joke designed to take you out of the moment for its own comedic sake.

  7. Watching movies. Another thing I’ve been doing all wrong for years.

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