Thursday, August 28, 2008

What Reality Should Be

After ripping what some think reality is, I guess I should set some guidelines for what I would like to see in a reality-based script.

Relationships: I want to see relationships where neither partner is wrong all the time, and shouting isn't the only mode of communication. You need quiet moments as well as loud ones, and you need people caring for each other; if the only thing that they do together is yell, then why are they together? Note that I'm not saying that a group should be nice to each other all of the time; however, they shouldn't be in what amounts to a negative relationship just because it fits the plot. The relationship needs to be balanced to at least some degree or else your story itself will suffer later on at some point.

Crime and Violence: Obviously I'm not going to advocate against them; they are too important to good plots. Rather, unless there is a good reason for it, don't have more than you need. If you're going to use violence, use it only when you need to make a point; too much and it loses its impact. Crime is just a form of polite violence; it's a violation of the person's rights. Again, use it just when you need to make an impact, or it's going to lose its ability to make an one.

Victimization: If using violence too much will make it lose its impact, making all of your characters victims will create an even more ineffective character. Women as victims of rape is a cliche, and rightly so; not every female needs to be that violated. The same obviously applies to young male characters as well. The point here is that there needs to be a limit to how much victimization occurs; not everyone needs to be damaged goods, as that can get boring quickly. You should have no more than one or two severely damaged characters; any more than that and your story is going to be more likely to be filled with cliches, and that will generally bring down the entire story.

People in Black: Too many characters wearing black is boring. Boring! Don't do it. Period.

If you are trying to create more realistic setting, then please stay away from one with gothic or street sensibilities; it may seem more realistic, but you're more likely to hit cliches....and there are only so many stories that you can write about wannabe rappers or people standing around talking about how things are so angsty. Yes, I'm over-simplifying, but even Neil Gaiman has been known to write happy stories once in a while. You should try it as well....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


One of the most amusing things I see critics saying about various stories is that they are more "realistic". Worse, they say that is a good thing.

I disagree.

What they are referring to is that the comic is grittier than the average, with more sex, drama, and uglier characters. The world isn't all that pleasant, as violence is more common, women are raped, and young men are forced to humiliate themselves to get ahead, and racism and homophobia are part of everyone's make-up. The people aren't centerfolds, tend to ignore basic manners, and generally have some sort of sex or drug vice, usually both. The society isn't much better, as it tears down the heroic, elevates the evil, and tromps on the morally neutral.

It's not a great place to raise kids, and few do; the kids are usually orphans, latch-key, or selling themselves on the street, either as whores, hustlers, or drug-runners. And when they grow up, they usually find themselves in a private hell of dead-end job, loveless marriages, and barely keeping their heads above water. Eventually, they are either forced to become virtually homeless, retired without respect, or killed for no real reason.

I just don't find such a world all that realistic. Don't get me wrong; I don't think that the world is full of rainbows and lollipops; I don't think that good things happens to good people and bad ones are punished. I know that bad things happen randomly, and that even the safest places have their dark places. There is no question that real life has its warts and police records.

However...Even though anyone who has seen my yaoi scripts, or even looked at the Hinami Neon script knows that I can do dark as well as the next, that doesn't mean I don't get bored of it. "Dark and gritty" isn't necessary realistic; not everyone gets laid every Friday night, and there's a limit to even Murphy's Law. I want a world in which even the quarterback fumbles at love, the cheerleader has to cry on the nerd's shoulder without laying the kid, and a group of boys can sing along with disco with none of them being gay.

In short, a world of Norman Rockwell paintings would be boring, but so is a world where no one can succeed without that success being marred. When you write, it's easy to explore the shadows and go away from the light, but every so often you need to explore the place between the can probably be the scariest place for a writer to go.