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The General SOTF Discussion Thread
Topic Started: Apr 4 2012, 08:54 AM (25,022 Views)
BROseidon
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I pretty much agree with what Toben said.

That said, I do prefer longer, more introspective scenes (and therefore the posts of those scenes). But long, introspective posts in the middle of a fight make no sense.
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Badb
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My post length varies tremendously. I like to think that each post is as long as it needs to be, but that probably isn't true.
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Outfoxd
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Always short when I'm posting. Even long solo posts seem tiny compared to other people. Can't write much at a time. Is problem.
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Ghost Of Ravenstar
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I'm curious, what would people generally consider to be an example of an excessively long post during an action scene? If they were writing one, how would they form it?

Personally, I enjoy fine detail. That might be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the scene. But in general terms, expect some creepy loving description to be put into any fight scenes that I write.
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Outfoxd
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Short, choppy, rhythmic sentences and quick scenes can make for tenser action, since everything will be happen in a short span of time.

Then again, detail is good. I'm the guy that spent a paragraph and a half describing a punch.
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MurderWeasel
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Excessive length for an action scene is when stuff becomes long enough that it disrupts the flow or strains credibility. That largely depends on the handlers involved and the scene.

For example, if there is no GMing going on, one handler having a post double the length of their thread partner's will often be disruptive, simply because it will end up looking like one character is sitting idle while someone tries to kill them. Excessive thought (especially in the form of internal monologues) can also be distracting. There's a big difference between breaking down a character's reasons for acting as they do (which is usually cool!) and providing super extensive commentary on the events of less than five seconds (which can be questionable).

Also, longer fights on the whole tend to have issues in that there's only so far that high schoolers trading blows without getting hurt is feasible. Handlers tend to be reluctant to let their kids get beat up too badly unrolled, or they basically ignore injuries after fights beyond occasional "That hurt" statements. Basically, what Dodd talked about a few posts upthread.

So, in short, an action post is too long when it a. is disruptive by comparison to other posts in the scene, b. is unrealistic in terms of ability to mull things over to a great extent and provide witty commentary while also getting torn up by machine gun fire, c. requires the kids to manage to not get hurt for long periods of time despite that making very little sense.

EDIT: Also, monologues during fights. Those basically never come off as anything but absurd.
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Hunt11
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As a writer my stuff end up being somewhat on the short side as I feel I have issues writing a long post that sounds about right. In general though I think as has already been mentioned it all depends. For conversions I feel that the posts should be kept relevantly shorty to help with the pacing, but everything else very much depends on the individual situation.
Edited by Hunt11, Jan 18 2013, 07:20 PM.
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MurderWeasel
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Change of topic!

A thing I've heard discussed a lot, and have mentioned in the past, has been how different versions have different feels, or atmospheres, about them. This isn't really a measure of quality, just a way in which they're different. I've been thinking about that, and my thoughts are as follow:

I think V1, in many ways, felt like Battle Royale, the manga, the RP. It had a lot of similarities, and in some ways it benefited from that. As a smaller game, with a looser setting, there was lots of room to experiment. There was also a lot of surprise, with many characters, even fan favorites, dying unrolled because it was narratively appropriate. While some handlers were trying to win, for sure (once winning was a thing that could happen, I mean), many more were there first and foremost for the stories, and would kill their kids off when it seemed dramatically apt. The game had an edge of unpredictability because of that.

It also had breadth and scope. Lots of characters would make alliances and come up with detailed plans and do silly, trivial things, and it often felt like real journeys. More than that, the journeys in question felt natural, because they were by and large created on the fly.

V1 also had a, um, gonzo edge to it, with the ridiculous premades and crazy happenings and such. This is probably what it is most infamous for, but it does have a sort of charm when viewed out of the context of everything being strictly literal canon.

V2 was polished in many way, and it also saw SOTF establishing its own identity. It's probably the version I'm least familiar with, but its legacy seems to be as the quintessential SOTF game. While retaining some of V1's weirdness, it added a lot more characters who seemed to matter and stack up as actual factors in the game. Notably, the game ran right, with nothing weird added in.

I think, on the whole, it felt very cohesive in a way probably not seen since. A lot of characters had very dedicated followings. Some of them are remembered fondly today.

V3 was the first version I had experience with when it was running, and to me it feels very dark. V3 saw gore and violence and shock tactics scaled up a ton, though not really for the better in many cases. It was also cohesive in a different way than V2, being largely built around a predetermined plotline that took over a tenth of the characters out of circulation for a long while.

V3 also saw the beginning of the realism revolution, where being "awesome" took more of a backseat (I'm not implying that realism was entirely unvalued in past versions, but V3 saw it ascend to a much greater degree than before).

V4 was big. Because of that, it didn't have as cohesive a tone as past versions, where I think a much smaller group of handlers working together produced a setup more likely to have everyone on the same page. What I think V4 excelled at, though, was individual stories. It was the version of greatest depth, I feel, because all the kids were in from the start. There was a good chance the dude randomly foddered on the second day had actual pregame time under his belt, a story and friends and such. Any character alive at the halfway point had been through stuff, not just in a referenced way, and so you could track their journey. At the same time, I think this has made it a pretty difficult version for casual reading, because there are a lot of things buried under the surface, a lot of excellent characters who just never broke through to the general consciousness.

This got a bit rambling and diverted, but I'd be curious to hear other perspectives on the different versions. You don't need to be an expert in them to comment; I'm basing most of my V1 and V2 experience on reading Dodd and Riz. How does everyone think V5 is likely to differ from past versions? Anyone else see any interesting comparisons to draw?
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KamiKaze
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Alright, PSA time, since v5 regs are up and I want to get this officially out of the way.

Some of you may have noticed that whenever the topic comes up in here, I tend to be somewhat dismissive of "gory scenes". This is not always the case; I personally love looking at gory fiction with the right mood. Mortal Kombat fatalities make me crack up, I used to watch a lot of horror movies which often contain gore, and under the right circumstances I could enjoy a bloody, violent scene.

Emphasis on "with the right mood" and "under the right circumstances".

Even I, as an admitted gore hound, get bugged right the hell out whenever I see a ridiculously violent scene in SOTF. Like, I don't know, something like castrating someone and feeding their balls to Kenny. Or breaking each and every single limb with a hammer and then forcing them to choke on their own puke. Or... close to anything involving the genitals. Or ripping their guts out and choking them with their own intestines. Or anything like that. Probably you get my point; I don't like reading overly violent stuff in SOTF.

"But Kami!" you say. "I thought you were an admitted gore hound!"

I am! The thing is, I like my gore with context. Not just context, either; if there's a good reason for there to be gore, I'd be up for it. A lot of handlers use gore more for shock value than for storytelling purposes. And frankly, I can tell. If SOTF had been a story that the point was to be as shocking as possible, like, I dunno, an exploitation film or the above noted Mortal Kombat, I wouldn't mind it being a deliberately shocking death. But it isn't. And that's what bugs me; the point is to show these kids surviving (or not), and being twisted into horrible versions of themselves. I get Battle Royale had a lot of gory scenes, especially in the manga, but that doesn't justify something completely and utterly gory without good reason.

One of my issues with such things is that it's tasteless. I know it's an odd concept; there being such a thing as gore in good taste. Problem is, it comes off as very trashy whenever I have to read something like a girl getting her limbs ripped off and then her head repeatedly punched against the ground. While it does make me cringe in some cases, and it can be written effectively if you're a very good writer, most of the time it makes me cringe for the wrong reasons. It just comes off as, as I said, very trashy.

Another issue I take with such scenes is, well, it's a blatant attempt to get attention. Gore gets you a lot of attention, obviously, so a lot of handlers love to get this by engaging in it. The issue here lies in that it's actually pretty easy to tell when someone's trying to be shocking for attention, rather than using gore for storytelling purposes. In case you're curious; it's the tone that sets me off when gore is used as exploitation. In the cases of gore used as storytelling, it's often used in a way that flows well, and the tone stays consistent with the rest of the story/character, even if nothing like that happened before and possibly won't happen again. In addition, there's still a bit of sympathy left for the victim; they still have their own agency, even as something as horrible as being ripped apart by wolves happens to them.

Now with gore clearly used to exploit, there's a theme of objectification. The emphasis is less often on both of the characters' personalities and dynamic, and more on the act itself. Very rarely do characters who get this sort of death get a good one; it's clear that it's to establish the attacker as a HORRIBLE PERSON, rather to end someone's story in an appropriate manner most of the time. Keep in mind that when you are writing the person inflicting these things on someone else, that you are basically writing someone's last scene, and there's a good chance that a reader is following that someone and wants their story to end nicely. If they really like a character, it can come off as really insulting when they go out by someone ripping their spine out and it's treated in a very objectified and deliberately shocking way, rather than "Oh no. I liked Alice, and she got her spine ripped out!".

Yet another issue I have with this is that it's actually not as effective a method of horror as many people claim it to be. Sure, gore can make people cringe, and it can cause nightmares. But the issue here lies in the fact that we as a culture see a lot of it already. Just pop in a horror movie, for example, especially of the slasher genre. Those things are violent as hell. Or yet again, Mortal Kombat. Or even shows where you wouldn't expect gore; sometimes gore pops up in places you don't expect them. Point is, we live in a naturally violent culture to begin with; even this very site in itself is an example. What's the problem? Desensitization is the word here. If you've been seeing a lot of gore, then it takes more for you to be shocked by another instance of it. If you show gore, it's just gore, and while it can make some people cringe, others like me will go "meh, another example of someone getting their head chainsawed off".

I can list several things that can and would scare the shit out of me personally most of the time rather than gore, in anything. Gore isn't that frightening to me unless there is something else about the whole thing, after all. Psychological themes if done well? Certainly. Things that make me feel paranoid? Of course. Atmospheric horror? Definitely! The kind of horror that doesn't pop up until you think about it? Awesome! Gore alone? Eh, can make me squeamish, but it needs more meat to it to really keep me awake.

Finally, it ignores the fact that often "simple" injuries can actually be pretty brutal once you look them up. Things like gunshots, stab wounds, burn injuries, and so on can still be pretty disturbing if you do your homework. It comes off as redundant to write an overblown death scene when you could have a similarly disturbing effect by looking how brutal real world injuries can get, even if it's "just" a stabbing.

Keep in mind, however, I'm not against gore if it makes sense in context. This is a handler who wrote her self-insert's guts being shot out, after all. What I'm saying is, I dislike gore for shock value.

PSA over. You may now go about your business.

Also, I'm in a Mortal Kombat mood lately. Can you tell? : D
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Cake
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(Moved from random thoughts to here, cause Random thoughts is for the Random and this is Sotf talk)

For some reason, I haven't been excited enough for v5 as much as I feel I should or expected to be since registrations for the game proper first opened. Yet, I'm perfectly content as usual on mini. No idea why.
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Espi
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KamiKaze
Nov 29 2012, 06:16 AM
*Stuff about gory deaths*
Well, for one, I totally agree. Gore for gore's sake is generally not meaningful in any way. But something that I think should be added is the fact that a lot of the gory stuff (choking someone with their own intestines, etc.) doesn't make any sense in the setting.

What we need to keep in mind with those kinds of deaths is the thought, "would Susie be in-character if she stabbed a guy in the groin?". For the most part, no. In Main, almost certainly not. The only reasoning I could think of is, "pre-made psycho in SoTV who wants to be remembered and goes out of his/her way to do gory deaths so people remember him/her."

Outside of that specific context, most teens, no matter how crazed or violent, are not going to commit chainsaw-horror movie-style murders if a simple gunshot wound would do it.

On a related (but different) topic; what do you think is a good means for a death post?

Of course, we had a BDA, but is there a particular style of death that people like? Gunshot wound, describing them dying immediately (brain/bone/blood blast optional)?
Or perhaps some dying thoughts and words before they slip away to an afterlife?
Or simply implying what happens, then they die (a recent example being Emily Barnes, where her death simply says, "she landed hard", before she dies)?
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Slam
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I'm going to disagree on the generalization there, since we can't go saying how every single character is going to act in SOTF regardless of the setting. Some people might just go outright mad and act on the one too many horror flicks they saw in their childhood for all we know.

More to the point, would we even want everyone to act the same way when they go in the killing direction? Lord knows I'd get bored if every single character behaved identically, so I'm not going to condemn someone who gets elaborate with their killing if they can justify it. Gore for gore's sake is dehumanizing, agreed, but well used gore, as Kami said, works rather spectacularly.

As for styles of death:
Dying thoughts that happens just before they slip away, I find, tends to be a really crappy way to do it. If they're dying in someone's arms or just bleeding out somewhere, then that's one place it can work because they actually have time to reflect on it, but if it should happen whilst someone is choking them or beating their head in with a blunt instrument, then their sudden clarity and serenity throughout the situation is really quite jarring, I've found.

As for all the other deaths, I find the post just has to be something that will work in the situation, rather than a specific type of death, that will pull off dying nicely.
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MurderWeasel
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I like deaths that are interesting and different. That can be through minimalism, a unique take, a new chain of events, etc. I like deaths where handlers remember that most stuff doesn't kill you right away. I like deaths where the characters are scared, upset, maybe in denial. I am not a big fan of "dignity deaths", that is, deaths where the character dies like a martyr, feeling happy and peaceful and it's all framed like as good a thing as it can be. Unless it's really justified, those make no sense and upset my sense of realism, 'cause these kids don't want to die.

Umm... hmm... I like deaths that actually tie into a character's story, that keep them in character and are not rushed.

That's what I can think of off the top of my head.

(Also, I'll disagree that repeat kill styles are boring. They can be, yes, but if handled well the same physical action can carry very different emotional weight, consequences, etc. Also, shooting someone in the head and in the gut produce rather markedly different results, each traumatic in a very different way for the person being shot and the one doing the shooting. Also also, kids can try to shoot someone and fail and then end up locked in a struggle to the death. Basically, I like unique kills to come about naturally, be that as a result of the character's psychology or through them screwing up their attack or whatever, just not at random.)
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MurderWeasel
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Okay, new thing of the moment.

I hate hate hate when "young" is used as an adjective to describe students in SOTF. I'm not too huge for cycling adjectives in general, but young holds a special spot for being completely pointless because, by our very premise, every character in the game is young. It's about as useful as describing a character as "the human". It doesn't give phrases any more punch, and is actively disruptive to narrative flow, yet I'd say probably a quarter of the characters in the game get it at some point or another.

Anyone else have little things like that come up bafflingly often but don't do much for writing?
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Ruggahissy
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I dislike those descriptors in general. It comes up A LOT and I've noticed it more especially during read-o-thon . I can't tell you how many times Bridget was described as "the red head" or "the red haired girl." Similarly Maxwell was CONSTANTLY referred to as "The young Brit" "The ambitious young murderer/killer."

I just don't understand it. Girls especially tend to get identified by their hair color. "The blonde" "the brunette." Foreign kids will get called wherever they happen to be from. It drives me crazy. What's wrong with "Suzy went to the bus stop." Or "She went to the bus stop." I'd much prefer a name or a pronoun to some descriptor, especially since they tend to get over used.

Descriptors are fine if it's to emphasize something about the state the person is in. If someone just got the pulp beat out of them, sure, go with "The injured girl hobbled to the bus stop." Otherwise, just use a name or a pronoun. S' just my opinion
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