View Full Version : Servant or Master?

01 January 2005, 03:42 AM
Hi guys,

Just looking for a little C&C on this piece:

Do you know the feeling, I think it is good and has potential, others say the same, others vehemently denies that. Just trying to figure out if it is worth working with.

01 January 2005, 05:03 AM
I'll admit that I only read the first couple paragraphs, but I've spotted a few things you may want to think about. Bear in mind that I didn't get into it enough to see the overall point, so that may be worth pursuing.

I think you need to go back to the basics and study your craft in depth. One of the main problems with what I read was the telling versus showing factor -- you simply told me a list of attributes as if you were describing the specs on a character you'd designed. You need to show me -- you need to make me feel what he feels, or at least make me see that he feels it.

The way you approach the subject seems to be a little pretentious as well. If I'm not mistaken Thomas is you. It's clear to the reader that you have a vested interest in defending this character's attributes. As an author you should present your situations deliberately, but without overt bias (although, technically you have no situation at this time, if you show and stop telling, you will have one). Thomas should be able to live his little fictional life in what some writer's call an "honest" way. What you've done is gone on the defensive for this character right away, instead of letting him bear his own blows in your narrative --that's artificial because technically "you" don't exist in this story, which is why the way you've approached it isn't "honest".

I like your words, so keep writing, but learn how to hone your words to tell your audience exactly what you mean. Good luck.

01 January 2005, 05:12 AM
Thanks for your crits. There are so good points to consider there. No, the person Thomas is not me. But he is a childhood friend...:) Actually, I would rather if you had read the end...

01 January 2005, 02:19 PM
I read your doc a few days ago too, and I must admit that I only skimmed it, however the same thing struck me - you need to create a story that will tell you all the background about this character. You can't write "the character is like this" or "the character thinks that".

You need to create situations that tell the audience this information in a way that they can work out for themselves. The best screen stories will create situations where each scene serves multiple purposes, e.g. advances one story thread while telling you more about a character, while adding background detail to an environment etc.

You have a good start, however you need to keep going with this! :)

01 January 2005, 02:25 PM
I see where the confusion is. As a short story it's good. The problem is that you are telling us all this stuff about what Thomas did and not getting into the actual moment to moment situations.


Your first paragraph:
Physically Thomas always was a weakling. Tall and skinny with none of the raw brawn that rules the schoolyard. Mentally there was never anything wrong with him. In fact he was always more intelligent than his peers; Capable of abstract thinking in his early school years. Thomas also had a fierce temper, and an ego to go with his intellect. Something that accounted for his tenacity, which in no way met his physical capabilities.

To actually get into the moment it would be more like this: (notes in here)

The Doors opened and the kids rushed out into the school yard (setting the location and stage, also here you would show what age they are). Thomas went over to his usual spot in the far corner of the yard to read his book. He was shoved hard as three boys rushed past him laughing. He clenched his fist and his face went red with rage. "Don't do that again" he yelled at them. They slowed and turned around. Thomas' rage fled as he realized that they where coming back not afraid of his lanky 50lbs including his school books. (this is a situation that shows us he is quick to anger but is actually cowardly)

From there he could try to show he is tough but they beat him up or shove him around more maybe go read his book which would show he is above his class mentally.

This is showing compared to telling. Showing gets us into the actual situation with the character and helps us get closer to them. It's like if you walked up to me and told me about your friend thomas as opposed to us actually hanging out together.

Hope that example helped. I don't mean to say that you must use that little scene I put together, your story is open enough that you could make a million different scenes to tell the same story. If you are making a short out of it then that would dictate the number and location of any scenes.

Another thing about filming as opposed to telling a story is that you will add visual clues as to a person's personality. Maybe red hair to symbolize his rage or the lighting could always shine brightest over him seperating him from the others to get that feeling across. Think visually how you would discribe all the stuff you wrote when you do your storyboards

The end of the story is shown however. Was all the rest of the story just to get us to that moment? then the entire story could be a tarentino like series of punches and flash backs.

Hope that helps

01 January 2005, 02:50 PM
Thanks everybody for super C&C! Yeah, the actual story starts in the ending, as he is on his way home. The rest is just... I don't know like an explanation or a backstory thing. I agree with everything being said, and it is wonderful to have such super input on your stuff. Thanks again!

Nigel B
01 January 2005, 08:16 AM
I just read the entire piece, and let me first say that it is a great piece of creative writing. one of the first (and hardest) lessons that i had to learn when i transitioned from creative writing to script writing, was one of the points made earlier, that we are saying what is going to be seen, and through the visual medium, telling a story. As you say, you have not written enough for anyone to get a full idea of where this is going, but one thing i am sure of, you know this character very very well. Now, what I would like to see is where do we go from here? Are you going to create a story, a game, a TV serial, where to and have you come up with the premise that this character is going to go through etc.

For my part, i think you should continue to develop this, your ability to express this characters needs, thoughts, emotions and desires is awesome, now you just have to continue creating the story.

Good luck.

01 January 2005, 01:12 PM
Thanks Nigel B. Thank you very much.

In all fairness, this was supposed to be a synopsis for a school assignment. And for that it is generally way too lengthy, and for a regular story it is way too underdeveloped in parts.

Where the story ends a fairly openended game starts with some 5-6 story strands taking you on a ride from there.

I was just generally fascinated by that thought, what is stronger? Brains or brawn? Pen or sword? Is it possible that somebody can undergo a transformation, which essentially takes place mentally, that enables him to win in physical situations despite his physical limitations. It is quite an interesting experiment. And I believe it is possible to some extent. It stems from a conversation I had with "Thomas" about that, and then I just extrapolated it into extremity from there...

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