Monday, 6 August 2012

Story Logic and letters pages

Yesterday I saw the new Total Recall movie.

The story wasn't amazing, but it held up. The logic of the world was terrible, but it worked for the story. I forgave a lot because of some spectacular set pieces, including several excellently choreographed chase sequences.

It did make me realise a few things about story logic, and the universes in which we set our stories.

I will forgive universe logic - the glue which holds the world together within a story ("you'll believe a man can fly!", "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away!") - quite heavily as long as the story logic - the reasoning behind why a character performs an act, or why a certain motivating factor exists - holds up.

Picking fault in created, imagined realities has never made much sense to me.

Believing the acts of the characters is much more important.

I am planning to have a new printing of Hero Code issue one ready for Long Beach Comic Con in November.

One thing I would love to add to it is a real letters page. If you have read Hero Code and want to submit some thoughts, or would like a digital review copy and are willing to send an email that might be printed in the book, please let me know.

Also, pretty soon, I will have preview copies of Department O ready. If you are a reviewer, or a comic creator wanting one of these, again, let me know.

Finally, NASA landed the rover, Curiosity, on Mars last night. You can follow it's 2 year mission here.


ThornDavis said...

Agree that logic within the story is much more important than logic in the setting. Who even cares about universe logic? It's not like our current world makes much sense.

One thing I always find interesting is that whenever a piece of fiction starts explaining its characters' actions, it usually weakens the logic. Partly I think this is because writers only bother to do this if the logic is weak to begin with, and explaining it just draws attention to it. One example in a sci-fi context is Obidiah Staine in the first Iron Man saying "Oh, I don't normally do this kind of thing, but it's actually really fun" as he rampages around in the suit. You immediately start thinking "You know, this actually really is inexplicable behavior from him".

Javier Hernandez said...

Good thoughts here, Jamie.

I'd agree about putting more stock in the character's interactions to one another versus the probability of their universe.

One example I can think of is one of my favorite films, THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY. The likelihood of the various scenarios (a bounty hunter and his target forming a mutual partnership, Angel Eyes easily masquerading as a Civil War army captain, etc) happening is a stretch.

But the characters' interactions and relationship to one another, particularly the partnership between Tuco and Blondie, is well depicted by the actors, and comes off as seemingly realistic, or at least honest (what you call 'believable').

I once had a friend write me, after giving him my latest comic, that he liked the fact that even though my scenarios are founded in the fantastic, my characters' humanity still comes through in the story. That was about the best compliment I could have hoped for, as I think that indeed the characters have to resound with people on a personal level.

Sorry for the long-winded reply here, but your initial post inspired this!

Nathan Seabolt said...

Nice insight on the separate logic structures of character and universe! I have always found it really easy to accept fictional settings (even ones that break conventional wisdom and have more than one of those "miracle exclusion" things we're told about) as long as those universes feature characters with human personality that is relatable to myself or my experiences. Lizard people, bear people and semi-human robots all living in a vast but somehow homogenized and interconnected universe...and they all speak English, except when it serves comedic effect? Sure, no problem-so long as there's a fallible human(oid) who has to make decisions and live with the repercussions.

And I completely agree with what ThornDavis said about explaining the character's actions. Nothing says "he wouldn't do that" better than having someone say "I usually don't do this, but look at me do it"