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Okay, herewegoitis THOUGHT EXERCISE TIME  
Hopefully, this will help us all think about what goes into a good story

SIX attributes of a great hero
FIVE characteristics of a great villain
FOUR features of a great adventure
THREE traits of a great romance
TWO parameters of a great tragedy
ONE necessity of a great story

As an interesting side activity, you could try asking your friends/family/comrades these questions, too. Who knows, you may learn something new about them.

A brief note to new watchers:
Most of what I submit goes quickly to the scraps, so if you aren't watching that I guess you could miss out on some things? You probably have your reasons to not be watchin' the scraps if you aren't, but I'm just. You know. Throwing that out there. Also, almost all of my journal entries ask obnoxiously personal questions or meta about story writing like this instead of serving as actual journal entries, so there's that, too.
  • Listening to: your heart, you will understand
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Nemonus Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2009
Hey, I feel kindof odd doing this because I've never seen you around on dA before and just came across your Avatar stuff. But as a writer, I sortof had to see whether I could, and might as well post it. Reply or not...

A great hero:
1. whatever their age, they don't really match it in mind. A child unusually experienced, a middle-aged or old person unusually skilled.
2. has consistent morals. If they're not going to kill, they don't even want to kill the big bad guy. This especially goes for female characters. If they're not going to give up sex to a random character, they're not going to give it up to the hero without a deeper relationship forming between them either.
3. balances humanity and supernatural or godlike abilities (definitly has to have a cool power.)
4. has a tie to something--their hometown, one of their friends, maybe even to a romantic interest--that keeps them sane when all the supernatural things that are surrounding the hero threaten to overwhelm them. This can be a talisman or a memory, and can be done very badly in fiction, but also very well.
5. just go read "A Cavern of Gray Ice" by J.V. Jones and write down all of Raif Sevrance's traits and put them here. I love that man. I suppose because he's tragic and very human.

A great villian:
1. is keep-you-up-at-night terrifying.
2. someone else said this in their reply to this journal and I really liked it; a great villian thinks they're a hero. I don't see enough of those in fiction.
3. A lot of fantasy villians have some sort of physical quirk that makes them cool, seemingly wounded, and inhuman at the same time--an eye like an animal's is a very cliche example. Something that sets them off. Again, this can be done very badly, but also very well. When done well, it can be a symbol of all kinds of things, such as the degradation of humanity and such.
4. has a characterization arc just like a hero. Gets steadily crazier (or perhaps steadily less villianous? I don't know if I've ever seen that done where the villain still maintains their badass evilness, but it's an intriguing possibility.)
5. badass evilness.

A great adventure:
1. involves both our world and a fantasy world.
2. changes the characters involved in ways specific to it.
3. has an aerial battle somewhere
4. has a cool creature or monster somewhere. (Yes, I am a combination of deep and glib. It works.)

A great romance:
1. Doesn't involve sex, or not much. Maybe I'm one of very few people who'd say that, but I thinks sex really cheapens the whole thing.
2. Leaves the reader actually supporting the pairing instead of wishing they were the one with the guy/girl (depending on your orientation) of the pair. Again, maybe this is just me. I don't write romance much.
3. Involves distance. The two can't be together because of something (not something cliche like "their families hate eachother". Something much more interesting, like "he doesn't know she exists" or "she's trying to kill him".)

A great tragedy:
1. involves revenge. I have a thing for revenge. It's so...full of momentum. And when it fails, it's like a semi crashing into a brick wall. Writers, harness that.
2. involves introspection. It's gradual, so that the tragic hero can muse on how s/he or people in general deal with tragedy. Because everyone has to deal with it at some point. Look, just go read Hamlet and bask in its amazingness.

A great story:
1. leaves you out of breath at the end.
midnightrain Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2009   Writer
SIX attributes of a great hero:
Funny, Realistic, Badass, cool weapon/ power or conversely, no weapon and power but just manages to scrape by, Quirky tendecies, MUST EAT! I hate when people write characters that go days and days without eating and sleeping and then act surprised when they faint, and then everyone's oh so concerned, because that character is SO loveable. GAG.

FIVE characteristics of a great villain:
Funny!!! Ability to be neither black nor white, Be skilled at something that the Hero can't match, entertaining companions, have a good reason for wanting to take over the world - or conversely NO reason because that's just hcore.
FOUR features of a great adventure:
Takes place in somewhere totally unknown, or (because I like saying this word) conversely in a setting that could almost be anyone's home town, a ragtag group, impossible odds, Rogues.
THREE traits of a great romance:
Humour, proper pacing, sweeping affair.
TWO parameters of a great tragedy:
Justice not being met, failed dreams
ONE necessity of a great story
Being true to what it is. Never talking down to the reader and understanding that the story is what it is. Be it a romance or fiction- just honesty.
DirtyPiGGuin17 Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2009
Also, I think all villains should consider themselves heroes in some way.

or victims, I think some villains consider themselves victims and they're trying to protect their own, you know? In their own twisted way.

I definitely don't think they should all have the same kind of motivation e.g. greed or the same kind of back story.
DirtyPiGGuin17 Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2009
6.a Humor. I dont like any character who isn't either I: funny or II: a total badass. That's it.
b. Relatibility/ ('m going to guess that's a word even though firefox is telling me otherwise *confidence points*). I guess every character needs a degree of relatibility, especially a hero. Not necessarily the "they're justlike me feeling" because 1.That's pretty much impossible and 2. The "everyman character gets boring." Just knowing what the inside of the hero's shoes is like is important.
c. Badass moments. Self-exfreakinplanitory.
d. struggle.
e. triumph.
f. A pimpass beard. Amirite? Unless it's a chick. Nevermind. GIVE HER A BEARD TOO!

5.a. hateability. You have to be able to hate a villian obviously. He/she has to make you want to do horrible things to him/her. You have to want them to be defeated.
b. B for badass. The villain has to be way more badasss than the hero until the end. One isn't supposed to like the villian, but one should definitely respect him/her.
c. Minions. Because the main villain is an obstacle that must be worked up to in order to show the heroes' growth.
d. more badass. It's like cow
e. a beard!

(note: many villains do well with a relatible story showing the logic of how they become a villain, or a good redemption story, the hint of returning/being an eternal evil, a satisfying death, etc. but none of these is as mandatory as a beard)

4.a. Explosions! A remnant of my childhood, I've always been excited by seeing explosions. Every adventure needs one.
b.whimsy. I like whimsical things.
c.dynamic ups and downs, surprises ,twists, etc. genuine ones. But I guess that's one of those given cliche type things. I mean emotion, death of an important, beloved supporting character, and all that is great but there's nothing worse than a story that takes itself too seriously. *cough*fucktwilight*cough*

[link] romance has to develop over time, not be all this "love at first sight", "we just met five minutes ago, let's screw, then let's get married" type of crap, it's unrealistic, impractical,stupid, and I hate it. *cough*fuckthenotebook*cough*
b. It has to be based on actual compatibility between the characters not just the random "you're hot" or worse "your hott" and then all of a sudden they're a couple. Or one sees the other across the room and all of a sudden becomes obsessed/retarded/suicidal upon separation from that person.*cough*fucktwilightagain*cough* They have to have a reason to like each other or at least tolerate each other
c. I guess it should be somewhat like the Pam and Jim romance from The Office (the good one

2a.It has to be unexpected
b. the readers/audience has to feel it, they have to love the characters that get messed up or whatever.

1. AN ENDING! A well thought out one that was planned since the beginning. This is mostly a problem with tv serials and the like, but it's really irritating nonetheless. People write stories with intriguing, well written beginnings to pull you in and then they play the "let's see how long we can keep this going" game and it starts to suck *cough*Heroes*cough*. When you write a story, plan to end it, and end it beautifully not with a (metaphorical)shark jump, nobody likes it anymore fizzle-out.(although if you can makean ending with a literal shark-jump, major props). The world neds more god endings.

Overall, I think the whole developed plot, minimal amounts of Deus Ex Machina, good writing, setup, believable scenarios/characters things are all given prerequisites. And I don't think any story's sole purpose should be a specific message/I don't think they should have too much of a blatant message. The actual story and characters should be the main focus. Norton Juster agrees with me on that too. (which made me happy because he's totally one of my favorite writers of all time)
DirtyPiGGuin17 Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2009
Darnit! I should really proofread my comments. I had planned to throw in a Benito Mussolini reference right when I said villains should not be liked but should be respected and then I was gonna do the ol' tie-in with "Mussolini had a beard".

It would have been art in motion.

I blame my freezy computer.
DirtyPiGGuin17 Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2009
Sure, maybe he didn't actually have one, but he does in my mind. That's all that counts.
DirtyPiGGuin17 Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2009
That is so totally not a link.
toerning Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2009
okay I'm going to try to do this BEFORE i read everyone else's responses, but i'm sure i'm going to come out remarkably lame.

6- LIKABILITY. this seems obvious, but i have come across too many heroes who are douches to not mention it. I think there needs to be SOME element of mystery there. Not a big one, or not even an external one, it could be as simple as not really understanding themselves or an element of their personality. But there needs to be, like, a big REVEAL moment that's a catalyst in character development etc. i'm trying to stay away from the ones everyone knows but it's hard. I think a really relatable hero is somewhat confused. Like s/he'll wake up and be like "wtf am i doing again?" a big part of a lot of hero drama is based on the idea that they sort of got thrust into their situation, and unless they have a very particular personality type, it's not too realistic for them to be 100% functional all the time. this is really hard. the other ones are obvious- has flaws, has driving obsession, etc. also you have to be able to have sexual fantasies about them lol. but i'm not joking at all.

5- I heard a really interesting definition of "evil" which is- (i'm paraphrasing here)
an greed so great that they would rather destroy everything they love than see it in someone else's hands.
of course this doesn't apply to anyone, i've read a great villain mother whose main priority was to protect her (revolting) children. I'm on a huge tangent here.
really awesome villains have motivations that make sense only when THEY explain them. their cronies follow them out of love and fear but they don't really understand cause it's crazy. but when the villain explains it, it makes sense.
they have some sympathetic qualities. they can't be all hate, they just wouldn't exist.
obvi, they have to have once been a real person, whatever that means. there has to have been a corrupting force (even if it was something internal like a mental illness.)
Truly effective villains force or blackmail the good guys into doing bad things for one reason or another. for example, in george r. r. martin's a song of ice and fire, the father kills his child's pet (direwolf lol) because the king has commanded it but the father believes that the person who declares the sentence should carry out the execution. the villain bends the hero's morals or sense of honor so that he has to make an impossible decision.

4- SEX. i kid you not. you know me.
misunderstanding. i despise misunderstanding but it wrenches my gut in a way that nothing else does.
A GOOD ENDING. i don't care how good the story is, if the ending sucks for whatever reason, it was a waste.
original element. obviously, the whole thing can't be original, cause then there would only be one hero story in the history of the world (in a certain way that's true,) but it has to have at least one original element.

3- I repeat myself, but SEX,
(also plenty of longing and regret, and the classic "am i doing the right thing?" conflict.)

2- there has to be a moment or period when the reader thinks it's all over and there couldn't possibly be any hope for the characters they love.
I do not like traditional tragedies cause they have sad endings but there must be some great sacrifice in any tragedy, not necessarily in the end which would be more traditional.

1- I couldn't possibly think of something as deep and conclusive as is required for this question. oh wait, i did,

i suck at this. Now i get to read everyone else's and wish i could delete my comment cause everyone's deeper than me. boo.
Aamilie Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2009
SIX hero.
well, first a balance between likeability and realism (in like. a sense. not REAL-LIKE, persey, but like. NOT FREAKING SHINY WITH PERFECTION.) although many greats defy this (i.e. superman, hercules, MULAN, countless moe people) i don't know.
second, uh. allies? interpret how you will. not necessarily friends, and they don't have to be friendly or whatnot, but they have to have one person on their side? tragic pasts/bleak existences are kind of ridiculous seeing as how
third. a weird mannerism. a quirk, if you want to be cute.
be it collecting empty tissue boxes or bathing in toilets or collecting banana recipes, THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING SPECIAL. unless they're special at being boring. i dunno.
fourth. errr. a good name? if it's a girl, not something like Beautiful Swan Flower India Sunshine. NO. pick something simple? or a nickname, if the plot requires a fancy/stripper name. like phil. orrrr uh. phil?
fifth. ummmm. a theme song(s). i don't know. not included in the plot or anything, necessarily. and their personality should be more fleshed out than just fitting into one song? buuuut. i don't know. theme songs are hip, i guess.
last. a handicap. different than a quirk? i dunno. like, incapable of romance. or ADD. or inability to grow boobs.


FIVE errr. villains, eh.
one. domination somehow. like, financial domination??? like a wife out to control the checkbook - the end of beer and chips as we know it? or like sexual domination. a villian who is out to make babies with our hero. or you know. the usual. world domination. pity those fools.
two. INTELLIGENCE?? be it outright, subtle, or deep deep deep deeeeeeep in their somewhere, may your villains be not complete doofuses. like. mojo jojo. OOPS MY TURN-GIRLS-TO-MICE-POTION DID NOT WORK HOW CAN THIS BE? orrr. on the other hand. intelligence completely nonexistant i.e. team rocket. because everyone loves t.r.
three. sexiness? WHY ARE ALL VILLIANS SO SEXY. human ones. i mean, seriously. zuko. sesshomaru. uhhh...voldemortpfft.
four. dark past? is this even necessary, because deep inside, i believe that there are evil people by nature out there THEY DON'T NEED TO HAVE BEEN RAPED WHEN THEY WERE YOUNG TO LIKE TO BULLY PEOPLE, OKAY. but still. you know, if there needs to be a pre-pre-pre-incarnate that was the king's concubine's unwanted daughter, so be it.
five. uhhhhhhhhhh. wicked costume, dude. like. if they're in fantasy, they can have like. red, black. purple. something that inspires fear at the sight of them? or not. maybe just something extremely distinctive. LIKE. i don't know. glass eyes. green skin.


FOUR adventure...
one. a gang of people. preferably a combination of unlikely persons (refer to cowboy bebop, samurai champloo, tokyo godfathers). LIKE. a girl with a deep-seated fear of shampoo, an old man who is stuck in his twenties in the second world war, a dog with a hob-leg, and a thirty year old man in debt collection chasing after an elusive baby boomer. I DON'T EVEN KNOW.
two. a vehicle of epic proportions (refer to avatar's BISON, little miss sunshine's MICROBUS). for example, the aforementioned characters may be riding caribou across canada. orrr maybe the old man is a school bus driver, and they go in that.
three. frequent stops that involve deeply philosophical implications. LIKE. perhaps the girl is a foodie so every burger pit is a must-see attraction. or maybe the dog compulsively drinks water so there are repeated stops to air out the carpets. i don't know.
last. happy ending? or in a sense. like. they reach their destination, BUT it ends up that they must flee because the old man/young girl fell in love and obviously must go to a country where pedophilia is acceptable. OR, alternately, they don't reach their destination BUT the thirty year old finds the baby boomer and the four of them stage a clever trap to capture this her/him.

i don't know.
i would comission you to write a story about that if i were not flat broke.
do it anyway?

THREE . ROMANCE oh i am so good with this stufff, not.
one. UNLIKELY COUPLEEEEEEEEEEEEE. such as your own fernando/ai. orrrrr doktor/sam??? orrrrrr i don't even know. forbidden love (janitor and world-famous lawyer? german and jew? microsoft employee and apple president?)
three: uh. extras: passionate make out sessions with OTHER PEOPLE (maybe same sex, because THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH AND IT IS HAWT??) ummm. love polygons. everywhere. drama, tragedies, seperations, heartbreak, and also ENOUGH FLUFF TO GIVE YOU A HEART ATTACK.

i dunno.

TWO parameters of a great tragedy
one: death. of something. because the ULTIMATE TRAGEDY is the loss of life. maybe poor little nemo died. or a relative. orrrrrr the death of a relationship?? like. jealousy and boyfriend-stealing and bitch-fights and whatnot. i don't know what i'm talking about anymore.
two: forbidden love. refer to ROMEO AND JULIET need i say more.

ONE necessity of a great story
uh. humor? good grammar? pick one.

so. i kind of waxed
eloquent there. what'd
you think.
androidgirl Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2009
SIX attributes of a great hero
-Willingness to endanger one's life! ... Or at the very least one's own financial security.
-A love interest to act as a reason for the hero's heroism. If said love interest takes the hero for granted and practically throws him/herself (typically herself) into danger, expecting to be rescued, even better!
-Bravery. Of course, being too stupid to not fight someone stronger counts too.
-The ability to come back from the dead somehow! Heros (and villains) seem to have the nasty habit of not staying dead.
-The Ability to think his or her way out of a sticky situation. ... Or being durable enough to headbutt out of it.
-An outrageous outfit! ...What? Think about it! It could be a tactical advantage! Shock the villains with your bad fashion sense! Blind them with neon colors! Or maybe your outfit is so spiffy that they can't help but admire and complement it!

FIVE characteristics of a great villain
-Ambition. Every great villain needs an evil plan. ...Or at least an excuse to be evil, so the hero can puzzle over your motives.
-The willingness to sacrifice complete strangers (as well as a few friends) for the sake of that ambition. And if you're too squeamish, just keep telling yourself that they all had it coming anyway.
-The creativity and inventiveness to carry out those plans! And if you don't have that, you can just steal someone else's ideas. And then sue them for plagiarism when you act on them first! Double whammy! Oooo! And when they produce evidence that they thought of it first, well it's just your own fault for not being thorough.
-Minions. Hard to take over the world all by your lonesome after all.
-An outrageous outfit! ...What? Think about it! It could be a tactical advantage! Shock the heroes with your bad fashion sense! Blind them with neon colors! Or maybe your outfit is so spiffy that they can't help but admire and complement it! (No, I did not just suggest that to the heroes. What are you saying? You must be delusional!)

FOUR features of a great adventure
-Fresh Fruit! (Points if you get the reference!)

THREE traits of a great romance
-More than one person. Do you have any idea how hard it is to have a romantic relationship with yourself? Ask Narcissus!
-Mushy moments. The kind that makes me puke.
-Heaping amounts of sparkles! ...No! Really! Watch! *mercilessly rips up Twilight into itty bitty little pieces and dumps them on a nearby couple making out* See? Isn't it so much more beautiful now?

TWO parameters of a great tragedy
-Something bad must happen. Or a series of bad things. Either or.
-Anything that can fix the bad thing must never happen. Unless it is only temporary and makes the situation a thousand times worse afterward. Mwahahahhahaha!

ONE necessity of a great story
-Content. If you disagree with me, I dare you to make a great story with absolutely nothing in it!
androidgirl Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2009
*-Bravery. Being too stupid to fight someone someone stronger counts too.

Shut up! It was late at night! And stuff!
RetroSushi Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009
I can't believe I just did that

- a great betrayal
- a great amount of blood (Hamlet or Antigone anyone?)

- a great ending! (I can't tell you how many times I've been sucked in by and awesome premise only to be disappointed when it all falls apart at the end, or even before the end...The end justifies the means I guess?)

ANYWAY that "(" after the great secret was supposed to be a quote from something but I couldn't remember that something. I was also going to have wonderful amounts of examples, but the deed is done! (Unfortunately....)
RetroSushi Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009
Everyone's formatting is so pretty. I can't top it. I thought about drawing it out, but then I remembered that I'm in an artist's block! Boo!

- a great set of secondary characters (because I usually like those better than the main person...)
- a great haircut (or fur if you're into that sort of thing)
- a great weapon/skill/quirk
- a great mode of transportation (like a huge goat or a cloud or something)
- a great desire to defy the norm
- a great change (because heroes who stay the same throughout are boring)

- a great motive (and not a cliche one, like say, taking over the world)
- a great haircut as well (Judge Ghis anyone??)
- a great band of underlings (preferably ones that make funny noises when they die)
- a great lair/headquarter/flying airship
- a great demise (like an explosion or getting trapped in an ice cube while chained to the ground)

- a great scenic view
- a great set of treasures
- a great chase scene (preferably with giant worms, or anything giant for that matter)
- a great conflict

- a great secret (
- a great number of mistakes (tension makes fictional romance so much more interesting)
- a great climax! :>

Nafaralton Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009
a great hero
• Plausible, plausible, plausible. Godmoding characters irk me, and should never be placed in the "great heroes" column. Rather, they should have flaws, as well as their strengths.
• Not 100% good. A great hero still has some evil within them, the likes of which causes them grief as they combat with how to define their own heroism. So, while they may not be totally good, they try their best to amend their faults, or at least come to terms with them.
• Like villains, they should have complex psyches. Why do they do what they do?
• They come from any background. This, I guess, can be applied to any character, but everyone has within them the ability to become a great hero, be they young, old, male, female, any social class.
• They choose to be a hero. Destiny may push, but it should not be the reason. Instead, they rise up to the occasion.
• They make you want to be a better person, to help. Heroism, if done correctly, should beget more heroism.

a great villain
• Gotta feel for them. Nothing's better than a villain you care about, even if you know they're the villain and they're dispicable and you should like them yet you do.
• Honestly, I love the webs. Be they lies, conspiracies, things that have nothing to do with each other! The villians have all the strings, all the backup plans; they're the ones in control, even if you don't know it. The villians who are intelligent and manipulative and have connections - that's where it's at.
• As much fun as the bumbling failures are, a great villain succeeds, to some extent. Their plans may be thwarted in the end, but parts of it go into play and you realize what they're really made of.
• Complex psyches. I'm a firm believer in the idea that there is no such thing as absolute good and evil, and villains should reflect that. Doing something considered morally heinous in the attempts to make the world better? Awesome. Tortured souls that have a skewed view on the world that, given their history, seems plausible through their eyes as well as your own? Even better. Villains who don't think their evil, villains who know they're evil and don't care? Both are awesome possibilities in the makeup of a great villain.
• The greatest villain is one that makes you question your own morals. Going back to previous points, the best villains make it seem like they're doing good, or their justifications seems plausible, even though, deep down, they really shouldn't, you still want to believe in them. I guess it's like the first point, but more about the ideas than the person.

a great adventure
• Not terribly over-the-top. I know that sounds weird, but I feel really inadequate with my life when an adventure is so fantastical as to never be possible. That's not so say that stories not set in this or a similar universe are not enjoyable, it's just that those that are should leave me with a sense of wonder and a wanting to go out into the world even if on a small adventure, rather than be depressed that nothing I achieve could ever be so great. If that makes sense, I'm not sure.
• Converging crossroads. The best adventure is one where you don't know where the roads cross or will end. I like those with several small(er) tales that come together for a reason, even if it's not clear at the beginning. Like, alternating viewpoints, or a setup with locations that, at first, don't seem to have any importance but really play a role later. It leaves you wanting to learn more.
• Destiny takes a back seat. I know that a lot of adventures involve chosen ones or something, but honestly, that's really trite. Bring in a twist! Like, hey, there's a prophecy but it ends up being wrong, or the wrong person is chosen, or destiny is only given a vague tip of the hat but otherwise the characters act on their own accord. The only time I'm okay with destiny is when it comes in the guise of choice - that's a fun mental exercise right there, pondering on whether his/her choice was one dictated by fate or by his/her own mental capacities.
• A mix of people. This doesn't necessarily mean different races, but I like to see a lot of different sides of life adding up to a grand adventure. People of different social classes, ages, genders, occupations, upbringing, etc. I don't like everyone to be youthful, or everyone to be secretly rich, or things like that. Variety is the spice of life, and any story should reflect that.

a great romance
•Oh god I don't read straight romance but I'll give this a shot. Whenever romance is in something I read it has to be... built up. I just can't read something that has people flinging to one another (actually this ticks me off in real life, too, how people pick out their dates on looks alone, one-night stands, and the drama therein) but rather, has a slow reveal. I'm not saying I don't believe in love at first sight, but rather it is a rarity.
• Honestly I could care less about the match up so long as it makes sense on some mental level. There has to be something that could bring two people together other than the whole "They're pretty and I'm pretty so we must be perfect for each other~" NO. For some reason, I like when people initially have a bumpy start because they have a lot that is not in common and it makes you wonder how it can work, but that's just me. It's not a necessity, it's just a personal preference.
• Since this is turning into a list of what I dislike of romance, let me close on my least likeable romance trait: friends from way back suddenly falling in love with each other. It's pretty much the reason why I stick to cartoons on the more kid-friendly channels. It's just so trite, and, while I'm sure it happens, it's horribly uninteresting. But, again, there has to be some lead-up to romance, I'm just saying that really long-time friends seems overdone. Meeting through mutual friends, or a bad/good incident where the two might meet is a far more interesting storyline.

a great tragedy
• Gotta make the characters convincing. I could care less whether the tragedy is the slaughter of the entire family or just someone mourning over the loss of their ice cream. If I don't know why the characters do what they do, or what their thoughts are, or anything about who they are, I can't feel for them and, therefore, I can't feel the tragedy.
• Catharsis. Pfffft I know I'm taking the Greek tragedy route, but by getting pulled into the story I can feel what I normal deny myself (I'm the kind of asshole who doesn't like to show anything other than... assholery, and the occasional act of kindness, towards other people) so this lets me get it all out without needing to be in a tragedy myself. Ergo, I can feel good about myself because I've fulfilled my monthly/yearly/whatever requirement of sadness with just one good tragedy.

a great story
• Psychoanalysis. I don't mean, like, copious amounts of it, but I need to know what makes someone tick, I just do. OF COURSE, it doesn't need to be provided directly from the story - if it's well written enough that you can draw your own conclusions about people from their past and choices, that works fine. Hell, that may even be better because it's open for interpretation and can generate discussion. I just need to be able to see what someone else sees every now and then, to know what it's like to be someone else.

P.S. I ALWAYS WATCH SCRAPS what are you talking about.

P.P.S. I DID THIS IN REVERSE ORDER CAN YOU TELL. Oh man, I spent way too much time on this, but... it was fun. It made me think why, exactly, I like what I like. I just hope that you can understand why I like what I like is all. XD;;;
tenthwit Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009
SIX attributes of a great hero
- distinctive identity (unique probably asking too much)
- does not suffer from good guys are boring syndrome
- realistically, not superficially, flawed
- not by default crafted to mirror generalized audience so they can experience heroism vicariously (ugh)
- heroic through actions, overcoming obstacles, etc, not because the story STATES IT OUTRIGHT

FIVE characteristics of a great villain
- some thought has gone into motivations, character is still treated as if they are human (if they are supposed to be human that is), believable villain is far more unsettling villain
- one that the audience knows is genuinely twisted, in it for the wrong reasons, gonna f that s up badly, whatever, but is nonetheless very compelling, scenes containing this person are eagerly anticipated
- intentionally dissimilar or similar to hero, contrast/lack of contrast between hero and villain lends itself to funtimes
- redeemable qualities make for more intensity and ambiguity, good/evil=black/white induces major eye-rolling
- magnificent bastard

FOUR features of a great adventure
- setting and plot very neatly and carefully constructed, but not forced into your face, aka yes I like how you did all that thinking but exposition does not deserve pages and pages (alternately minutes upon minutes, etc) of boring history or explanations on how magic works good lord
- NO FUCKING LOVE INTEREST SHOEHORNED FOR GOD'S SAKE (well written romance OK though, particularly when it's EDGY ooh) (by edgy I mean homosexual)
- contains beautiful friendship
- aspects of story left for interpretation

THREE traits of a great romance
- obviously you should obsessively want the in love to end up together/reach some kind of satisfying conclusion
- bittersweet
- love runs deeper than how perfect a person's facial structure is, how their body looks like it was sculpted by Michelangelo, or WHATEVER, ideally hyperbolic physical beauty is completely absent

TWO parameters of a great tragedy
- emotional investment in characters, plot
- context of tragedy is poignant, meaningful

ONE necessity of a great story
- good characterization, I can overlook an uninspired plot but if the characters don't have anything going on the plot had better be FUCKING AMAZING

it is possible I thought more about what should NOT go into a story hmm
Kundagi Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009
I agree with most everything here, Esp. the hero and villain parts. It's, just. Yes.
realistically, not superficially, flawed
YES YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES. I've read so many terrible books where the female's fault is she's too beautiful and so people hate her, or that she's cartoonishly clumsy, etc. I've noticed girls get the worst of this, maybe because there's such pressure to have strong female characters, that they're either given crippling, ridiculously melodramatic baggage or bullshit 'flaws'. Maybe that's 'cause I tend to pay attention to the ladies more, if you knowwadaimean.

I do tend to like gay relationships, but I am kind of a homo anyway so whattttev'. But shoehorning of romantic subplots into every story has got to go, that Aida song was incorrect, every story is not a love story. This is especially creepy if the story's main characters are pre-pubescent and already macking on each other like ain't no tomorrow.
tenthwit Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009
female characters
Yeah, part of the problem might be the pool of reference to draw from for legitimately strong female characters is kinda lacking (is it? I imagine it is) also hack writers but what can you do

Gay relationships are great (I meant good edgy not trite edgy, for clarification JIC), I won't lie if I hear a story has homos I am twice as likely to check it out.
rAdio-hEad19 Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009
A great hero
-someone who is strong, reliable but has flawss [no one is perfect]
-someone who cares for others
-someone who is dashing, courageous
-and other characteristics thats relatable to the reader. : >
A great villain
-a made genius with super cheesy jokes and is the only that laughs at his own jokes.
-has the best evil plans.
-you either hate him or love him. : >
A great adventure
-There should be wins in epic battles! But losses as well so the hero can grow and learn from them.
-A twist!
A great romance.
-Drama! [Fights/tension between the lovers; love triangles! and so much more!]
-Unexpected ending between the lovers.
A great tragedy.
-Unexpected betrayal. Someone/Something that would shock the readers.
A great story
-After reading/watching it, you feel inspired to create/write your own story; or it gives you a different perspective on life; or you just feel great after reading something so great. Major Satisfaction.
Kundagi Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009
V. Agree with the love/hate thing for villian. WITH GREAT EVIL COMES GREAT POLARIZATION, yesssssss. Though the most effective villians I know, I haets. But now that I think about it, that's true for the least effective, too. SEPHIROFFFFFFFFFFF.

I want a read a great story like that.
SeeNuanRun Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009
:rofl: Someone beat me to the punchline and it WORKS :dance:
Kundagi Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009
what was the punchline

I am dense
SeeNuanRun Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009
And/or shallow; but, let's not argue semantics :party:
Kundagi Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009
You're just a bundle of manners today, aren't you.
SeeNuanRun Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2009
More a bundle of nerves :w00t: They help me feeeeeel :crying: :flirty:
Sunshine-hime Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
SIX attributes of a great hero
-Someone who may have a tragic past but does not let that slow them down.
-Someone who isn't shallow. They can see past looks to a person's true personality.
-At least one quirk that makes them unique.
-Must be a three dimensional character that makes mistakes but grows over time. (No Mary Sues allowed)
-You can empathize with them, even if you don't agree with them completely.
-They are persistent and confident in their chosen path (they can doubt themselves once in a while but they must be able to pull themselves out of their depression).
FIVE characteristics of a great villain
-You can at least identify or understand what makes them tick, even if you don't agree with their methods.
-They have a convincing reason for being evil.
-A villain should be three-dimensional and should be fansinating (make the reader want to learn more about them).
-They pose a serious threat to the hero and are actually dangerous (comic relief villains are not true villains).
-They are somehow connected to the hero.
FOUR features of a great adventure
-A balanced adventure, one that is filled with humor, happiness, heartache, and horror.
-The characters grow and mature along the way.
-The journey is filled with hardships that test the characters and push them to their limits.
-The journey does not always have a point but it must always have a resolution.
THREE traits of a great romance
-The two characters are equals in the relationship. One character should not always depend on another and one character should not be verbally abusive or possessive. These are not healthy traits in a relationship.
-Their love is not perfect--they argue and fight but they always make up in the end.
-They truly love and support each other.
TWO parameters of a great tragedy
-That the downfall of the hero is caused by his hubris.
-The downfall results in the death of a cherished person.
ONE necessity of a great story
-A story that makes one truly care for all the characters and their struggles and makes you feel a certain emotion toward them (happiness, sadness, anger, or hopefulness are all examples).
Kundagi Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009

I agree with you so much on that last one. Like in the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, intellectually I know it's a pretty good story, and well told, but I just couldn't get emotionally invested in any of the characters so I came out of the theater cold. There are probably better examples, but that's what I thought first. LE SHRUG.
Sunshine-hime Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Thankies for replying! :D

Exactly! If you walked away from the theater not feeling anything for them then the creators wasted their time and yours. I believe that a mark of a great story is whether or not you feel emotion toward the characters and their struggle. Otherwise, you might as well have not bothered reading/watching it in the first place. LE SIGH.
kiusa Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009  Student Traditional Artist
i should do this..... when i have time 8__8
Kundagi Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009
chaos-sama Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009
GREAT HERO: A hero should be compassionate and flawed. S/He should be believable; s/he shouldn't be great at everything they do and be supah special awesome. The reader should be able to connect with the hro, and to empathize. Badasses are okay, but are best left to the antihero.

GREAT VILLAIN: A villain should not believe that what they are doing is wrong; they believe that they are doing is best for their self or for their people. A little bit of insanity is a nice touch too. Also, have a believable background for them; the reader should love to hate them, but also want to empathize with them. Kick ass outfits are musts; we all want to run with the bad crowd, and who doesn't want to look cool?

GREAT ADVENTURE: Adventure should be just that: adventure. It should be fun, but also dangerous at times. It should help our heroes grow as people, and to become stronger. There shouldn't be too many plotholes, but they are inevitable. There should be more than one climax; it would get boring if there wasn't.

GREAT ROMANCE: There should be tension. There's no fun to it if there isn't a little bit of tension there to spice things up. A history is okay, but not required.

GREAT TRAGEDY: Death, of course, and betrayal. Need I say more?

GREAT STORY: PLOT. There, I said it.
Kundagi Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009
OOoooh, anti-heroes. I am sick of their sass. Always with the sass. Just constant backsassing. Sass sass sass, all the live-long day.
Your villain sounds so cool. I want to see one like that.

You did say it, yes! IMPORTANT STUFF.
chaos-sama Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2009
I know, right? Just gettin' sassed from all sides.

Well, if you want an example, one could go with Magneto... I'm trying to find another good example here... DDDD:
prep-executioner Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009
SIX characteristics of a great hero
naive, optimistic, great inner strength, spidey sense, a cool costume and membership to a gym

FIVE characteristics of a great villain
cunning, bad upbringing, owns a cute kitteh, secret weapons hidden on person at all times, no morals

FOUR features of a great adventure
ninjas, some evil to be vanquished, magic, environment

THREE traits of a great romance
D cups, lingerie, silk bed

TWO parameters of a great tragedy
the naive hero not comprehending tha evil is evil
women cheat

ONE necessity of a great story
good writing ability
invertings Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009
SIX attributes of a great hero
-flaws to be overcome
-Jung's hero archetype
-four more that I don't know

FIVE characteristics of a great villain
-an unbuttoned shirt (OR NOT i am just shallow shut up)
-efficiency and/or intelligence
-truly irredeemable
-motives with which you can sympathize
-conviction in that they are doing what is right

FOUR features of a great adventure
-chase scenes
-a quiet moment
-a happy ending

THREE traits of a great romance

TWO parameters of a great tragedy
-Making the audience believe that it will all work out in the end BUT THEN IT DOESN'T
-a reason for the tragedy, not just for tragedy's sake

ONE necessity of a great story
BunnySmut Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009
SIX - Letting themselves be afraid sometimes. Making tough decisions. Having a sense of humor. Not getting distracted. Be above doing what he/she does purely for vengeance. And awesome hair forever.

FIVE - To not be ridiculously over the top evil. To be efficient. To not give away their plan to the heroes before it's happened. To have humanity, but ignore it. To not be afraid to cap someone in the back of the head right then and there, no hesitation, no counting down, done and done.

FOUR - Change in location. Exotic locations. Humor. Originality. <- (not original)

THREE - Dispute. Humor. Loyalty.

TWO - Looking back on what could have been had maybe one decision not have been made. For the heroes to accept it because they can't do anything about it.

ONE - Dare I say sticks?
Noirrac Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
SIX attributes of a great hero: A great hero stands up for what they believe in even if no one else will! They know how to laugh, smile, and have fun! They have a bit of a renegade attitude that helps them act in the face of adversity instead of shirking away. They're skilled in one way or another; they're badass at breaking faces, they come up with creative ways of felling badguys, or maybe they're just really lucky. Whenever something knocks them down, they know how to get up and come back stronger instead of laying there and crying about it. A good hero also has vices that they must overcome or face consequences for.
FIVE characteristics of a great villain: A great villain indulges in all the crimes and selfishness people are tempted to. They lie, cheat, steal, and look good while doing it. But they pay the price for indulging in evil: being hated, reviled, and stuck in a world where they have no true allies. A great villain has a human personality, and they have things they love and pine for as well as hate. They also have a totally awesome evil laugh!!!
FOUR features of a great adventure: AMAZING FANTASTIC LOCATIONS WITH V V SATURATED COLORS FLYING EVERYWHERE. A SENSE OF MYSTERY, AWE, AND MAGIC~~ A fun cast of characters that interact in entertaining ways and are cool enough to let you FEEL FOR THEM, MAN! A fight inside a character's heart that's just as intense as the fight against their enemies.
THREE traits of a great romance: Humor humorhumorhumorhumorhumor; real life is funny, man, and there's nothing more endearing than people laughing together!! I'M SICK OF PEOPLE GETTING THE IDEA ~TRUE LOVE~ IS NOTHING BUT CRYING AND PAINFULLY MISSING EACH OTHER WHENEVER YOU AREN'T SUCKING FACE. The best couples are pleasing characters that can stand alone, but come together in a way that lets them work beautifully together. Also, good romance builds up slowly; the chase is the most exciting part!! Irritating romance is love at first sight/knew we were meant for each other BS.
TWO parameters of a great tragedy: The loss of something loved by reader and characters alike. The best tragedies leave something to aid the heros and give them a small shred of hope.
wtFOOK Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009
SIX attributes of a great hero
FIVE characteristics of a great villain
-dastardli er... ness
-a sense of humor
FOUR features of a great adventure
-plot twists
-a great hero
THREE traits of a great romance
-pure, undiluted love
-make-ups and break-ups
-triumph over conflict
TWO parameters of a great tragedy
-relatable loss
-empathetic characters
ONE necessity of a great story
-good, relatable characters
objectsinmotion Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009   Writer

oh Kundagi, this is so nice. will you really read and respond to these all? i feel as if there is a fireplace before us~!
explosive-toaster Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009  Student
:bulletred:Strength (Emotional or physical)

:bulletgreen:Elaborate motive
:bulletgreen:Evil laugh (duh)
:bulletgreen:Some assets the hero DOES NOT HAVE.
:bulletgreen:Some kind of sick perversion to make the audience REALLY hate them.

:bulletblue:Well-developed buildup to climax
:bulletblue:TWEEST. No, seriously. Something unexpected.
:bulletblue:CRAZY AWESOME CLIMAX FIGHT. Preferably with several "oh shit" factors thrown in to really get the reader/watcher's adrenaline zinging through their nervous system.
:bulletblue:Satisfying ending that takes care of major loose ends, but leaves a little to the imagination, leave the reader/watcher wanting more and pondering your story for a while after.

:bulletred:Sweetness. A truly good romance is not about the unfunfunf all the freaking time - there has to be real chemistry and compassion between the characters.
:bulletred:Tensionnnnn~ Because everybody loves to fear a teeny bit for their ship, even if they don't admit it. ;)
:bulletred:The Tinglies. Seriously. Give your romance to somebody you trust, and if they say it gave them the tinglies, you've got it.

:bulletgreen:Sacrifice. Some great, super-meaningful sacrifice that has had its importance built up since page 1. A teacher and student's relationship, for example, and the teacher dies making some kind of sacrifice to help the student hero (Merlin, anyone?) the relationship MUST be built very well before the death.
:bulletgreen:Earth-shattering revelation that totally fucks everything over. Especially effective if everything seems to be going OK/really well.

:bulletblue:Establishment, establishment, establishment! A reader/watcher cannot truly get into or empathize with a story or character if they are not carefully constructed from Page 1.

HOO DAMN, that was fun! Got the creative juices flowing, that's for sure. :D
mickey098 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009
Aiight then. 8D
HERO: disturbed, sick, calculating, sharp, observant, unwilling
VILLIAN: motivated, wicked, batshit crazy, sadistic, nymphomaniac
ADVENTURE: humor, swashbuckling skulduggery, unfair fights, lost souls
ROMANCE: challenges gender roles (or completely throws them out of wack), rib-tearing passion, barrels of hatred
TRAGEDY: doing something sick to an infant, somebody (evil/ insignificant) gets what they want, even if the rest of the world does not
GREAT STORY: can't be safe. Needs something totally unreal and completely taboo.
AshHulain Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
A great hero- A great hero isn't easy to define. The virtues of a good person are humility, perseverance, respect, honor, love, sacrifice, truth, compassion, bravery, fortitude, generosity, and wisdom. These are the things that make a person great. But if all those characteristics are already in your hero than there's no struggle. To me struggle is what defines a hero, a constant struggle to do what is right.

A great villain- I feel a great villain is facing the same issues as the hero. In the mind of all of history's great villains they are a struggling hero. No one dose anything out of it just being evil, there's nothing compelling about that. A great villain needs great motivation for his actions. The reader should almost sympothise with him at times.

Adventure- The journey is the most important part. Both a physical and emotional journey for both the hero and villain. Again struggle is a major point of interest and this too goes for both parties. In a great adventure nothing should be what it was by the end, but everything that's transpires is important, it should all add up in the end.

Romance- Romance is an odd thing, we consider it as being love between two parties that ends in a physical exchange. But I like to think of romance and love as sacrifice. Two brothers that will give up everything for one another is a far more dramatic expression of love than a man and woman kissing in the rain. A great romance needs great sacrifice, and that's all.

Tragedy- I think tragedy is created by romance, it's a staple. You need the reader to truly care about the people being effected by the tragedy in order of it to matter. A romance between the story and the reader is most important. They need to feel the loss.

A story- All of the questions asked above should be answered by the events of the story.

Side note for Kundagi: A further example of my feeling on these subjects can be best answered by the script I sent you. You are a lateasourus.
JH-Kael Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
A GREAT HERO May screw it badly, but that makes saving the day even more awesome // Never betrays his/hers beliefs // No matter how little the odds are, a hero marches to danger with a smile on the face // It's not perfect, it's more like a everyman on 'roids // Needs to have at least one snarky remark before the final blow.

A GREAT VILLIAN Thinks is right, because it actually haves a decent reason to do whatever is doing // Knows well enough the hero to know where it really hurts attacking // Is always prepared for the worst // If its allowed a victory, it's only the glimpse of worse things to come

A GREAT ADVENTURE Never is a straight stream of victories, a backlash, a battle lost, makes it seem like the chance for losing everything is very real // features a moment where the unexpected help arrives at the decisive moment // Always have a moment that makes you laugh like a child // ..and a moment that makes you cry like a child

A GREAT ROMANCE Never is forced, if chemistry is avoided then why bothering // Has arguments, and hot reconcialitions // At its first stages, has that shy feeling of first love (i'm a cheesy boy, I know)

A GREAT TRAGEDY Is the fault/responsability of the hero, maybe for being selfish/overcofident/unexperienced/betrayed // comes whenever you least expect it

A GREAT STORY can leave you actually feeling something for the characters and its ficiontal world, maybe sadness, maybe empathy, maybe anger, maybe admiration
explosive-toaster Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009  Student
" If its allowed a victory, it's only the glimpse of worse things to come"
YESSSS oh my god, you hit it totally on the head!
JH-Kael Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
That's the kind of villian I remember the most, like Azula of ATLA
explosive-toaster Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009  Student
OutOfTheOrange Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
A GREAT HERO: Dashing good looks, supah powahz (preferably of the useful variety), courage, a great big heart, great love for children and animals (but not THAT kind of love!), and hot hot girlfriend.

VILLAIN: Wicked good looks, supah powahz (preferably of the destructive variety), obscene daring, burning hatred of children and animals, and a lust for the GREAT HERO'S hot hot girlfriend.

ADVENTURE: Pirate ships (hahaha I first typed "pirate shits" by accident; I guess that works too), epic danger, epic glory, and a magical sparkly object at the end of it all.

ROMANCE: Great love, great angst, and most importantly, great sex.

TRAGEDY: Something involving death, and something involving small children.

STORY: Epicness.
ghostcake Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009  Professional Interface Designer
a good hero should have compassion...empathy..idk are those the same thing? whatevvs. a good hero should be hot- no. umm.

a great villian should be selfish?
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