It's not finished yet...
Please look forward to it
It's not finished yet...
Please look forward to it
tôi đã ở đây cả ngàn năm
mắc kẹt trong nỗi cô đơn cùng cực
chờ, mong, rồi thất vọng cả triệu lần
đợi một điều không bao giờ đến
thậm chí chẳng biết có thực hay không
am I wrong?
I'm working on unlearning all the limiting beliefs that were forced onto me. The beliefs that were forced onto me by society, my parents, grandparents, teachers etc.
I'm setting myself free.
I am my own person and that is my power.
You guys remember that bit in Book 3 when June leaves? What if she didn't turn back, and comes back a few days later with good news about the radio and everyone is gone :)
Sokszor azon agyalok miért is szerettem beléd. De erre nincsenek szavak...
“When this world caves in, and the only remnants of it left are you and I, I will whisper this in your ears once more, as the last things uttered from my lips ever again: I am yours, my love. Always and forever.”
this is a post about manipulating time with various modes of storytelling! unfortunately I have to rewrite this post because Tumblr deleted it when I resized my window.
Jackie @baeddel was telling me about Umberto Eco’s concept of mimetic prose - basically a blow by blow ‘real time’ account - and diegetic prose (from the Greek for reciting) which summarises and skips over large spans of time.
she wondered if there are examples when the prose goes slower than ‘real time’ - an extreme form of mimetic pose. the example that came to mind was the device of saying (several, a number of) things happened very quickly, and then narrating mimetically with the sense that the prose can’t really keep up with what it’s describing...
this device goes back to the 1800s. it’s not especially common compared to simply saying [something more specific] happened very quickly, but it’s definitely got a presence
you can see plenty of examples. a typical deployment can be seen in the 1901 novel The Crisis by Winston Churchill - not that Winston Churchill, the other one:
Sometimes the device is spelled out explicitly, as here in Emilia’s Inheritance (1874) by Emma Jane Worboise:
Most of the time this phrase is deployed in advance to cue the reader to imagine the next bit of description in slow mo. Funnily enough, this actually opens a small space for devices that are hard to deploy in a fast action scene, like a digression or even slipping into ‘diegetic’ prose. Here’s an example which proceeds mostly in summary, from On Guard: A Novel (1865) by Annie Thomas:
So that’s one way to achieve a ‘slow motion’ effect in prose. When I thought of it, I imagined the case of a sci-fi robot like one of the spaceships in the Culture novels. I don’t know if he used this exact phrase, but Banks could get a similar effect by describing things as taking tiny spans of time.
A similar example is deployed to very strong effect in Chainsaw Man. A terrifying monster called the Gun Devil attacks Japan, and this leads to an issue of the manga that is narrated second by second as a dry report with long lists of casualties over scenes of massive destruction. Similarly to the prose example, this opens with an explicit span of time:
It also uses some comic specific devices like repeating a panel to imply almost no time has passed in the intervening one.
Comics are much closer to film, and speeding up and slowing down time is absolutely part of the art of pacing a comic. You can accomplish this by, for example, varying the size and spacing of panels: an unusually large gutter often functions as a scene boundary. A panel broken up into smaller vertical pipes can imply a long time has passed.
What about film? At first glance film is by default ‘mimetic’, with one second of screen time equalling one second of narrative time. However, almost all films will elide time with a cut: why waste viewers’ time and filmmaking budget watching a character travel from place A to place B if nothing important happens on the way? In prose, this is equivalent to a scene break. But it’s also the case that, in editing, individual shots comprising a scene can be overlapped for the sake of continuity, or given tiny gaps (and after all they are rarely filmed sequentially in real time). An important event may even be shown several times from different angles, though I think this is now pretty rare. (And that’s not getting into overcranking (slow mo) and undercranking (time lapse), since those are fairly obvious exceptions :p )
No doubt Eco discusses this, I haven’t read him, but it also occurs that like, almost all novels, comics and films silently edit out the ‘dead’ time - the ums and ahs when someone is thinking about what to say. A novel is always selective in what it chooses to describe - you could say ‘Bryn typed in a post to Tumblr’ and that would count as mimetic prose, but you could also say, ‘Bryn tapped the shift key, followed by the B key, and then the r key, the y key, the n key, the space bar, the t key...’ This reflects how our brains and memories process the world: we tend not to even notice the natural stumbles and errors in speech unless they’re especially pronounced, and we can easily let long sequences of similar actions like walking happen on ‘autopilot’ without conscious consideration.
So by suddenly not performing this elision, we can ‘slow down’ time. If I suddenly start talking about a character’s breathing, that means they’re paying close attention to their breathing, giving a sense of an adrenaline pulse. If I start describing each step they take, it implies that taking these steps is noteworthy, perhaps because they have become a struggle. So it seems that ‘mimetic’ prose and ‘diegetic’ prose exist on some kind of spectrum in which you choose precisely how much and what to elide at any given moment.
You can do a lot of this in film too. By cutting the music and turning up the sound of breathing, you can draw the audience’s attention to the voice.
One thing I find interesting though is that, in animation, you really can’t get away with this trick! At least not to the same extent. Every single blink, twitch and head turn requires conscious effort to draw. Now, we can still do a certain amount of drawing attention: our eyes are drawn to movement, so if the focus of a shot is in one place, you should put the most movement and interest there and keep the other characters relatively still. But you really can’t leave a single image on screen for too long without it becoming noticeable, so you have to spruce it up with e.g. partial animation, a minor action like a stretch or scratch or blink, or (the classic) clothes and hair flapping in the wind (which can be looped!).
Part of the art of finishing an animation then is working out how to most efficiently perform this work - what motion is necessary to sell the illusion that these characters are alive, what’s the maximum amount of time you can leave them sitting still. But the more effort you put into animating these minor actions, the closer you approach the elaborate performances of ‘full’ animation full of big expression changes and exaggerated gestures, the more ‘lively’ your characters end up feeling. So this is one case where two mediums are actually quite different!
It’s not that novels never do this, of course. If you ruthlessly expunge every minor ‘irrelevant’ detail you’ll have a very dry and not especially characterful novel. So in a way they end up converging on a similar place: you want to draw or describe the actions that do the most ‘work’ in establishing a mood, conveying character, etc. etc., all the goals you’re trying to achieve.
In this animation (cw gore!), the main element of the ‘story’ is simply A-ko cutting B-ko’s face. However, it wouldn’t work nearly as well if I didn’t spend several seconds before that having A-ko gently stroke B-ko, and then raise the knife, building up both a sense of their relationship (what sort of warped affection is this? why isn’t B-ko flinching to see a knife come out?) and ratcheting up the anticipation for the actual act.
How would you do this in a novel? Actually pretty much just like that: you’d describe the same motions as I animated since they’re all important. But you would also have other options to drag out the moment of anticipation: descriptive passages about the way the light catches the blade, say, which might work better than simply describing B-ko’s eyes moving.
In writing action scenes in VECTOR, the major goals were to create a sense of the kind of frenetic, tense battles portrayed in late Kanada School animators like Hiroyuki Imaishi and certain videogames, while situating you in each character’s head. I don’t know how far I succeeded. But my method, before I had actually started animating, was definitely to envision how I would film it, and then try and create the desired cadence with a mix of long compound sentences (to create a sense of flow, actions flowing into each other too fast for a full stop to interrupt them) and sudden abrupt one-word exclamations (for contrast and to mark moments of surprise). In animation terms that’s, flashy sakuga sequence then held pose. I think it mostly succeeded on this front, but it did leave relatively little room (at least at my level of writing skill) to get into the characters’ heads.
I suppose a lot of this comes back to the old argument about ‘showing’ (mimetic prose) and ‘telling’ (diegetic prose), but hopefully we’ve all realised at this point that you need both, using it to direct the reader’s attention where you want it, highlight aspects of character, speed up and slow down time. A better maxim might be to say, if something is important to what you’re trying to do, give it the appropriate emphasis with whatever tools you find appropriate; implication and elision are often useful, since the process of working out the implication makes something stick in a reader’s mind, but they can be used in both types of prose.
It’s not the case that passing over something in summary de-emphasises it either. It depends on how surprising it is. The original NieR gets a lot of work out of a very simple ‘4000 years later’; it would not have worked better to try and display these four thousand years passing in a time lapse or narrate what happened in the meantime, because the abruptness is surprising. Of course, it then spends the rest of the game exploring the consequences of stuff that happened in the meantime!
Jackie was telling me about the opening scene of Madame Bovary by Flaubert:
the first sequence of Madame Bovary btw
i think its
the way he moves from
diegesis, summary w/ witty commentary
to a specific scene of the guys life at school
in perfect mimesis
in close perspective, etc.
but only for this scene and then
goes back to fast paced diegesis, skipping to when he's an adult
this one scene is
illustrative of his whole childhood
how clean this transition is
its just immaculate
which must be like, a perfect example of using this kind of mode switch to draw particular attention, in this case to an illustrative example that very efficiently adds a lot of texture.
I believe E_____ told me this way of jumping from extremely detailed mimesis to extremely large jumps with diegesis was very characteristic of the novella, back when that was a specific genre/tradition of writing rather than simply ‘prose of a certain length’.
anyway that’s all I got. I don’t think you should be thinking about these concepts all the time, you will most likely quite naturally switch modes as the story demands. but I think it’s useful to have them in the back of your mind, and maybe pull them out for conscious consideration when editing.
kinda been mostly writing on discord, so if i haven’t been on here much, its mostly because of that. it’s not strictly to just ygo, i have a large muse list of characters i can write as
Someone right now is doing the things you wish you could do, not only because they can do it but because they built up the courage to do it. The only question is why cant that person be you?
The bane of greatness
If this past year has taught me anything, it's that bravery does not equal fearlessness, and apprehension is the bane of greatness. We're so often surrounded by the achievements of others that we tend to underestimate ourselves. We are so much more capable then we realise.
O’ merciful rose, how thee stand
So tall, so proud
Regal in every sense, and
Magnificent in every way
Thy petals, soft as silk
Smooth as a newborn babe
Yet delicate; Thy beauty
Lies in thy fragility
Blood drips from thy
Petals, as rain from the
Heavens, or tears of those
Betrayed by thou, rose
Thy stalk, of richest green
Hoists thee towards the
Sky, with posture
Befitting of thy regality
Thine form of splendor,
‘Tis a marvel to behold
Nary an imperfection can
Be found upon thine form
Though no rose is without
Thorn, as no trust is
Free of doubt, and of
O’ rose, thy sickly sweet
Nectar doth flow, as
Is your nature to betray
Those who grasp at thy beauty
Thy elegant poise, and thy
Delectable poison, merely
Serving as two hands, a
Promise of love and pain
O’ merciful rose, how thy
Thorns lie dormant, and thy
Loyalty doth shine through
Illuminating the path forwards
They said I was barren,
could not birth the sun.
A vulture, an enemy,
from the sky on earth.
People come and mourn,
their fate, their children.
I offer a hand to learn,
od death and a life beyond.
every day i open my ao3 inbox and just read through old comments for my fics just for some self-validation