Page 1 of 1

An Idea of Mine

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:06 pm
by Mad_Ivan
I had an idea for a post-nuclear war, after the cold war turned hot...only, in Moscow. I don't think that angle has been taken before. If it has, please tell me, and tell me what you think.

Re: An Idea of Mine

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:57 am
by Chozon1
*Maybe* somewhat similar to Metro 2033. But you'd need to post more details.

That story/game was set in the Metro stations after a global thermonuclear war.

Re: An Idea of Mine

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:44 pm
by TripExistence
Protip: If you have a creative idea, there's a pretty good chance it's been done before. It's important not to get too hung up on that and concentrate on the execution rather than focusing all your energy into coming up with an "original" idea.

Re: An Idea of Mine

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:46 pm
by ArchAngel
Trip's right on the money. Ideas are really only valuable to the person who made them. Everything else is in the execution.

Re: An Idea of Mine

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:43 pm
by Sstavix
It seems like there has been considerable success in taking an old idea and giving it a twist so it appears to be fresh and unusual enough to sell. Consider "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" or the retelling of fairy tales lately.

If all else fails, throw ninjas into your story. Ninjas riding badgers.

Re: An Idea of Mine

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:51 pm
by Orodrist
Well on a far broader scale the mythic structure has always remained fundamentally unchanged. It's reducible, to quote Cambell, to: A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man

That's applicable from everything from Lord of the Rings, to the Gospels, to Star Wars, etc ad nauseum.

Re: An Idea of Mine

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:16 pm
by ArchAngel
Campbell's Monomyth/Hero's Journey has been a fascinating concept to me since I found it. It's mind-blowing how prevalent and compelling the structure is. Worth looking up and getting acquainted with it, whether or not you use it.
Ninjas riding badgers.
I was wrong. This idea is amazing.

Re: An Idea of Mine

Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:50 am
by Sstavix
Campbell's Monomyth/Hero's Journey has been a fascinating concept to me since I found it. It's mind-blowing how prevalent and compelling the structure is. Worth looking up and getting acquainted with it, whether or not you use it.
Joseph Campbell's works and interviews are amazing. Especially consider his interview series with Bill Moyers, called "The Power of Myth." Great stuff. It's little wonder that his works served to inspire George Lucas and helped refine the whole concept of the Force for the Star Wars series. Campbell is the one who got me started on the idea of comparative religions in the first place.
Ninjas riding badgers.
I was wrong. This idea is amazing.
It's also a good example of what I was talking about. Take an old idea - in this case, ninjas - and give it a twist. I have no idea how to use the image, but with a little creative application, I could shape a story around it (since I've been working on a D&D campaign, I'm already forming an idea of an elite cadre of gnome assassins dedicated to a small group of militant druids... better not say anything else, in case one of my players happens to stumble across this thread!)

Re: An Idea of Mine

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:35 pm
by selderane
As a would-be writer I take Neil Gaimen's approach to Campbell; I'd rather not know.

Re: An Idea of Mine

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:33 pm
by ArchAngel
Why would you not want to know? It's a tool you could choose to use, subvert, or ignore.
Why would not knowing be beneficial? I don't understand how a method of understanding myth can be anything but a detriment to writing.

Re: An Idea of Mine

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:19 pm
by Sstavix
Why would you not want to know? It's a tool you could choose to use, subvert, or ignore.
Why would not knowing be beneficial? I don't understand how a method of understanding myth can be anything but a detriment to writing.
I can understand both approaches.

First of all, by examining myth and - more importantly - the theory behind myth, you can get a greater understanding of what works. Why do some stories retain such longevity? Even if they are simply redressings of stories we've heard hundreds of times before? By getting a better understanding of the underlying foundations, you can improve your own telling of the stories.

But that also leads to a drawback, in some eyes. Through research and experimentation, a writer (or any innovator, actually) may adopt a mindset of "THIS is how it's done," even if it's on a subconscious level. Thus, education actually becomes a detriment to the type of insane, out-of-the-box thinking that pops up from those with no experience in the field. They try something completely random and it may work to stunning effect - and they tried it simply because no one told them that it wouldn't work.

I've heard it said that, when boiled down to its most basic elements, there are really only about a dozen stories out there (the number ranges from 7 to 36, depending on who you ask). If there are going to be any truly new ones out there, it's going to come from someone taking the latter approach, rather than someone who has done extensive research and is trying deliberately to craft a new one.

Re: An Idea of Mine

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:44 pm
by ArchAngel
While I agree, it shouldn't be taken an a required template for your stories, I'm a bit unconvinced that ignorance can lead to greater creativity.

I think the assumption behind that is that one starts out with creativity and it often gets dialed back by institutionalized methods. I'm of an understanding that it's a bit opposite (not saying an improper education hasn't constrained creativity, because it certainly has, but I'd argue it's done far more for creativity than its detractions). Creativity is not a font of originality, but rather a synthesis of experiences and ideas. An author who reads no books is going to be inferior to an well-read author, 10 out of 10 times. The more vast the resources, the more vast the ability to synthesize, and the more in depth in a particular field one's knowledge is, the deeper the creativity can go. The knowledge we gather are the building blocks for the structures we create.
If we look back at revolutions in art, I think we'll find it's often done by people who understood their current day medium, and found ways to rework it or to branch away. I don't think artists like Debussy, or Picasso, or Van Gogh, just started painting that way without an understanding of their medium, but rather knew the way artists of their day did things and took it in a new step. If it was any other way, children's art would fantastic, but it's not. It's terrible and we put up with it because we know they haven't acquired the skill or knowledge yet.

And specifically for the case of Monomyth, we all see the pattern over and over in the movies we watch and the books we read. If unconscious behavior is the worry, than it's already subconsciously in the mind. It's exists by examining the work of countless authors and coming to a subconscious pattern in the stories, and it was certainly continually used by many who are unaware of it. Studying it only let's you examine the literary tool that pervades much of literature and bring it to the conscious to analyze. Maybe to utilize more strongly, and maybe to branch away from.
I do agree, there is a danger for young writers to see it and believe that it's the key to developing a good story and stick to it too religiously, which is why it's important to emphasize it's importance as a tool and not the base.

I'm no scholar or art, and not an accomplished writer in any sense, but that's the opinion I've come to on the matter.

Re: An Idea of Mine

Posted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:16 pm
by selderane
Why would you not want to know? It's a tool you could choose to use, subvert, or ignore.
Why would not knowing be beneficial? I don't understand how a method of understanding myth can be anything but a detriment to writing.
Because I'm not trying to craft a myth. I'm trying to tell a small story that is meaningful to me. That's all I care about.

And I don't need to have drawn out for me how most of the elements I'm playing with have been done before, and done better than what I'm doing. I know that's the reality in the back of my mind, but I don't need to be shown the explicitness of it. Knowing it I then run the danger of turning left when the story wants to turn right because I know all of the stories turn right.

If the story wants to subvert convention then it'll do so on it own, naturally. Not because I force it to.

In this endeavor the story is driving. I'm merely reporting what it is doing and it's not my place to backseat drive.

That's about the best I can put it.