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marshmallowcreampie's avatar

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Miramelle
In fairness to Disney, those movies are geared towards a younger audience, who have trouble conceptualizing moral grey areas. I remember reading a book to my cousin when she was pretty young; the fact that there was no bad guy and she couldn't pick a side was highly distressing and confusing for her at the time.

On the other hand, movies and books aimed at YA/teen/adult audiences have absolutely no excuses for not introducing the complexity of real life into conflicts. As someone pointed out, recent pseudo Greek myth based stories are a really good (bad?) example of automatically assigning a badguy role to a death god or similar. Because dark is evil, everyone!


Agreed, when kids start hitting their teenage years they develop the ability to comprehend ambiguous morality. I really hate YA books that treat their audiences like they're stupid. I LIKE books that have ambiguous morality, and different themes for the reader to figure out on their own and everything.
Aha's avatar

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I think what Mortok is saying is that as long as the changes make sense within the context of the story and are effectively communicated to the reader, then the changes themselves really don't matter. It's a stand point I tend to agree with. Most myth and legend is all hearsay and made up stories to begin with. Many of them misinterpreted and changed over the years anyway. If, within the stories universe, it makes sense that a dolphin can be a vampire, then it also makes sense to call it a vampire. I've seen vampire cats before and I had no problem with it. It worked in context of the story. (I've also seen vampire horses and vampire piggies. Same deal.)

There are monster stories where the monsters are the ones who spread lies about what they can and cannot do, for the sole purpose of making humans feel like they have a chance and thus preventing panic. Werewolves can change form at will, have no control and only change on full moons, are half wolf half human looking, are full wolves, can change only an arm if they want, must go all the way, are rabid beast in wolf form, maintain their human minds, etc., etc. These are all different, and relatively new, variations on an old myth. Each one worked depending on the story being told.

I also don't think you need to have a complete understanding of the myth or lore you are changing, you just need to know enough to know what you want to change and how that will affect the character and the story. Though I do think it is a good idea to have a better understanding of it, it's not something I would call a rule. I believe it's been said in this forum that there are no rules in writing, only guidelines.

As for those poor misguided children with their bad spelling, maybe the parents should have taken the time to actually look at what they are putting in their kids hands. It is the parents and teachers job to help kids learn. It is the authors job to tell a compelling and entertaining story. But honestly, I see parental complaints like that as the parents abdicating their responsibilities as parents. No, it's not my job to parent your children, it's not the internet's job or the television's or Hollywood's or video games'. Why should everyone else be forced to accept whitewashed, "safe" things just because you can't be arsed to pay attention to what your kids are doing to entertain themselves?
Mortok
Cogent Dream
Prolly Naut
Cogent Dream
I_Write_Ivre

This confused the hell out of me for years (I knew more about pagan stuff than Christian stuff).

Do you know much of an improvement it was when Xena and Hercules aired? Hades was just slightly cranky, Hera mad Herc go mad and kill his family and Ares was a bad guy for wanting to create eternal war.


I just read this and totally agree with you both. Arbitrary bad guys are a huge example of ignorance and undermine the story's integrity.


This is very reminiscent of Disney's most popular movies. (Gaston, Hopper, Ursula, Hades, Scar, Evil Mongolian man from Mulan, etc.) . The idea of good and bad are black and white nodes planted into our minds from early childhood. We aren't often exposed to the grey areas. I remember in Cinderella 2, one of the "evil" step sisters turned out not to be evil but I can't think of very many cases where something similar happens.

I also took note that it is common in the anime/manga scene for there to be some flash back or side story that reveals the "bad guys" past. These stories usually inspire sympathy for the enemy characters and many viewers are able to see them in a different light.



Good observation, if you think about it most anime "bad guys" have a backstory that rationalises their "evil", usually through some terrible thing happening to them that turned them bitter. It's a lot nicer to see why they turned evil than just saying the character exists for the pure reason of causing evil (although the occasional nihilistic evil is interesting if done well).

I don't see how it's 'nicer'. Sounds totally stupid to me. It's just a cheap ploy to make audiences fele like an issue is more complex when it really isn't. Personal trauma does not justify world domination, and would not in reality. The writers are just making a cheap tug at your heartstrings because anime loves to transform the villain with "the power of friendship".

Disney villains are not 'evil for the sake of evil', and they don't need tragic backstories to justify their actions, because their motivations already make perfect sense, the vast majority are decidedly more relatable and human than anything in anime.


It's nicer for the same reason certain characters in books need backstories. It adds depth to the character, the story and the motive. Maybe you can relate more to a two dimensional story but I find it shallow when half the things in a text don't make sense and are never explained. Backstory can be done well and done poorly, the same way the text itself can be written well or poorly.

You can't possibly be trying to argue that a deep backstory to a villain does not contribute to the text at all. Why explain anything at all then? Why not just have Team A fighting with Team B over and over again with no precedence or rationale or motive?

Also, a lot of Disney villains are evil for the sake of evil. Think about it, why does that character exist? Because they need a bad guy to beat all the time. There's no rationale, no motive, nothing. The bad guy just wants to do bad things because that's what they do. If anything, that is far harder to relate to than an incentive caused by some sort of past event.
Mortok's avatar

Tipsy Exhibitionist

Cogent Dream

It's nicer for the same reason certain characters in books need backstories. It adds depth to the character, the story and the motive. Maybe you can relate more to a two dimensional story but I find it shallow when half the things in a text don't make sense and are never explained. Backstory can be done well and done poorly, the same way the text itself can be written well or poorly.

Backstory is not the same as motivation. Disney stories aren't two-dimensional or shallow. Simple is not the same as stupid. In fact, backstory is very much present in Disney. They don't need to spell it out to you with a flashback when it can be easily and elegantly conveyed in the dialogue and visual cues.

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You can't possibly be trying to argue that a deep backstory to a villain does not contribute to the text at all. Why explain anything at all then? Why not just have Team A fighting with Team B over and over again with no precedence or rationale or motive?

I'm not saying that at all. What the ********?

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Also, a lot of Disney villains are evil for the sake of evil.

No. Like I said, their motivations make sense.

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Think about it, why does that character exist? Because they need a bad guy to beat all the time.

Why does any character exist? To serve a function.

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There's no rationale, no motive, nothing. The bad guy just wants to do bad things because that's what they do.

I could list a few Disney villains if you like, explain their motivations, and cite instances in each film where they are clearly established.

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If anything, that is far harder to relate to than an incentive caused by some sort of past event.

That's entirely dependant. I've never seen an anime that sufficiently justified a villain's actions. Their "past trauma" is usually some bullshit about not getting enough hugs, and apparently that justifies taking over and/or destroying the world.
Mortok

I don't understand what you mean by 'general opinion', but I think it's fair to say that vague criticisms that won't help me to improve are a waste of my time.


Well, if I suggested a possibly better term to use instead of vampire, would that be considered a waste of time? Stuff like that is what I was trying to get at. I agree comments like "I like it! You're awesome!" or "I don't like it! It's stupid!" are a waste. But if someone suggested something that could be better, even though the story is fine as it was and there was no reasoning besides that they would like it better, I would at least considerate it.

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I am talking about all of those and WF rules. So there.


Well, you didn't say that. So there.

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My point was that complete gibberish can be published and studied by professors of literature. My point was that people smarter than both of us broke 'the rules' pretty drastically, and succeeded.


Those professors must have been pretty bored to study a book about complete gibberish. That's what I would call a waste of time.

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You're assuming that people who 'break the rules' of grammar don't know what they're doing.


No, I'm assuming that people who don't do it well don't know what they're doing.

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As I said earlier in the thread, 'rules' is the wrong word. Grammar is a tool to aid communication, it evolves, it's a lot more flexible than people think, and a lot of the older rules aren't really relevent. I don't know if you've ever taken the time to really listen to how people speak in real life, but a lot of the 'rules' of grammar do not accurately reflect the way people communicate today.


That's language, not necessarily grammar as a whole. Sentences will still always end with periods and fragments will always be incomplete sentences. Yes, words and meaning can change but the structure of writing can't change too drastically because it's made for everyone to understand it.

That last part is about dialogue which varies depending on time, place, and people. But again, dialogue sentences still have periods, commas, and such when appropriate. However, I'll give you that it does have more room for creativity since both people and the spoken word aren't perfect.

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But it's not an author's job to teach children, or be a role model to them. That's why the criticisms are stupid. The author is not obligated to make sure that her work helps children learn spelling.


Yes, but if they are doing something that has a negative influence, even if it was unintentional, shouldn't they at least look into it? I mean, unless they really just don't care about children education.

It's like if you accidentally ran into an old lady and she ended up falling down the stairs. Wouldn't you feel at least something about it? Wouldn't you at least go check to see if she was alright? I mean, you didn't mean to push her down the stairs on purpose but it still happened because of you. At the very least, wouldn't you be more careful about watching where you're going next time? A bit of a drastic example, perhaps, but same concept.

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Alright, yes, fine. Conventions are useful. For beginners. Sort of like training wheels.


Yes, exactly.

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I call people stupid when they can't back their s**t up.

I did everything I could to try and understand the opposing stance. I asked questions, I offered hypothetical scenarions, and I got no answers and no explanations. Nobody in here seems to be able to grasp the pretty simple abstract concepts that I tried to discuss. I've been accused of logical fallacies that I have not, in fact, made. I've gone round and round in circles trying to get a straight answer. I got nowhere, and I was insulted on top of that.

So yes, the Writer's Forum is starting to look pretty stupid to me.

But you, at least, seem to be making an effort at civility. So I'm willing to concede that you personally might not be an idiot.


I admit that I may have been out of bounds with that last comment and I apologize for that.

Just to be clear: I'm not trying to be rude or offensive at all. I just found myself disagreeing with some of your comments and tried to make my case. I understand your point of view on most things discussed, I just wanted to see how you would respond to mine.
Changes and twists in what we know about different myths and other things is what makes a good writer w/o them we would have to repeat ourselves all the time and nothing new would ever be created
Mortok
Cogent Dream

It's nicer for the same reason certain characters in books need backstories. It adds depth to the character, the story and the motive. Maybe you can relate more to a two dimensional story but I find it shallow when half the things in a text don't make sense and are never explained. Backstory can be done well and done poorly, the same way the text itself can be written well or poorly.

Backstory is not the same as motivation. Disney stories aren't two-dimensional or shallow. Simple is not the same as stupid. In fact, backstory is very much present in Disney. They don't need to spell it out to you with a flashback when it can be easily and elegantly conveyed in the dialogue and visual cues.

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You can't possibly be trying to argue that a deep backstory to a villain does not contribute to the text at all. Why explain anything at all then? Why not just have Team A fighting with Team B over and over again with no precedence or rationale or motive?

I'm not saying that at all. What the ********?

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Also, a lot of Disney villains are evil for the sake of evil.

No. Like I said, their motivations make sense.

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Think about it, why does that character exist? Because they need a bad guy to beat all the time.

Why does any character exist? To serve a function.

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There's no rationale, no motive, nothing. The bad guy just wants to do bad things because that's what they do.

I could list a few Disney villains if you like, explain their motivations, and cite instances in each film where they are clearly established.

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If anything, that is far harder to relate to than an incentive caused by some sort of past event.

That's entirely dependant. I've never seen an anime that sufficiently justified a villain's actions. Their "past trauma" is usually some bullshit about not getting enough hugs, and apparently that justifies taking over and/or destroying the world.


Sorry, it sounded like you were arguing the fact that backstory doesn't contribute to a text at all. I didn't say it had to be done with a random infodump flash back.

I would like to hear a few examples of Disney villains and their motives though because the few that I can remember off the top of my head never had any reason to be evil in the first place (first that comes to mind is Hades from Hercules; it feels like he was just evil because he was the god of the underworld).
Mortok's avatar

Tipsy Exhibitionist

Cogent Dream

Sorry, it sounded like you were arguing the fact that backstory doesn't contribute to a text at all. I didn't say it had to be done with a random infodump flash back.

I would like to hear a few examples of Disney villains and their motives though because the few that I can remember off the top of my head never had any reason to be evil in the first place (first that comes to mind is Hades from Hercules; it feels like he was just evil because he was the god of the underworld).

Well, in the Disney version of Hercules, Hades resents being made ruler of the Underworld because it's boring and doesn't came with the same power and respect that the other gods enjoy. Also, Zeus openly mocks him when they're together. It's still not accurate to Greek mythology, but nothing in the film is, so...

Likewise, Scar from The Lion King, is bitter about perpetually living in Mufasa's shadow. His jealousy has caused him to build himself up as being more deserving.

Gaston, from Beauty and the Beast, just wants a challenge. He's the best hunter in town and is revered and praised by everyone who lives there. He wants Belle specifically because she's the only girl that doesn't fawn over him, but he can't comprehend the idea that she might genuinely dislike him, because it's so completely outside his experience. From his point of view she must be either a) playing hard to get, or b) simply not able to understand his awesomeness. It's not until she publicly humiliates him with her rejection that he resorts to overt threats and violence.

Note; I'm not claiming these are 'good' reasons, just that they make sense. if they had 'good' reasons for doing what they do, they wouldn't be villains.
haunting heaven's avatar

Fanatical Firestarter

Kairi Nightingale
Forgot to put this in my post but assuming you're calling your man-eating dolphin a vampire just because you want to...

Don't you think it's a bit unreasonable for you to expect readers to have a logical reason to disagree with your idea when you have no logical reason for implementing it?

I've read through the entire thread (because I'm lame and have no life on the weekends), and I just felt like putting in my own opinion. Which is probably unwelcome, but meh.

Personally, I think that if an author doesn't bother to give a logical explanation within the context of the story for vampire dolphins (or whatever other myth alteration being played with), that's just bad writing (and I don't think that was what Mortok was arguing at all). However, if a logical explanation is given, and it does make sense within the context of the story, then the readers don't really have a concrete reason for objecting to the reinterpretation of the myth. I mean, on a purely opinion-base, they can dislike it, but they can't say that the author "ruined" vampires or what have you. (And when I say "can't say," I mean they can't say it and be taken seriously--obviously they have the right to say whatever they would like.)

So, if someone wants to write about dolphins who are vampires or dryads who eat people, I'd be completely interested in reading either if the author in question writes it well. And if someone balks at it simply because the author isn't pandering to their own favored interpretation (or reinterpretation) of the myth, then it all comes down to personal opinion and it's just silly to say that the author is wrong based on that.
haunting heaven
Kairi Nightingale
Forgot to put this in my post but assuming you're calling your man-eating dolphin a vampire just because you want to...

Don't you think it's a bit unreasonable for you to expect readers to have a logical reason to disagree with your idea when you have no logical reason for implementing it?

I've read through the entire thread (because I'm lame and have no life on the weekends), and I just felt like putting in my own opinion. Which is probably unwelcome, but meh.

Personally, I think that if an author doesn't bother to give a logical explanation within the context of the story for vampire dolphins (or whatever other myth alteration being played with), that's just bad writing (and I don't think that was what Mortok was arguing at all). However, if a logical explanation is given, and it does make sense within the context of the story, then the readers don't really have a concrete reason for objecting to the reinterpretation of the myth. I mean, on a purely opinion-base, they can dislike it, but they can't say that the author "ruined" vampires or what have you. (And when I say "can't say," I mean they can't say it and be taken seriously--obviously they have the right to say whatever they would like.)

So, if someone wants to write about dolphins who are vampires or dryads who eat people, I'd be completely interested in reading either if the author in question writes it well. And if someone balks at it simply because the author isn't pandering to their own favored interpretation (or reinterpretation) of the myth, then it all comes down to personal opinion and it's just silly to say that the author is wrong based on that.


I agree with this. At this point in my message, I was working on the assumption that the author wasn't going to explain why the dolphin was called a vampire. Now, I understand that Mortok and I were working on different assumptions, hence the conflict.
I like it when new angles on old myths are used. Otherwise we'd have nothing but the same old thing over and over again and that would be boring. Using the dolphin = vampire thing others here used (because it actually sounds interresting) the vampire could say "We change into dolphins, silly mortal. I don't know where you people got bats from." They could leave it open to the reader to think of how it the myth came about or explain it in the story. As long as it make sense within the story itself the name slapped on doesn't really matter.

Any story that is well written and makes sense, but isn't a cookie cutter replica of something that has already been done dozens of times is always good to see.

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