elfstuck

anonymous asked:

can you write a guide to be as smart as you?

That is… really flattering, thank you. I think you mean you’d like tips for analysis? So here’s a couple principles I adhere to:

Read, Reread. The first time I read Homestuck, I managed to miss that the trolls created the kids universe. You’re not going to take everything in the first time, so reread. You will notice new things and make connections more easily.

If You Don’t Know What It Means, Look It Up. If you encounter an unfamiliar word, don’t settle for guessing what it means – use a dictionary. This is good for general learning, but also useful because actively engaging with the text makes it easier to remember. I found the cuttlefish thing because I had to look up “perforate” when Karkat said “PERFORATE MY BONEBULGE WITH A CULLING FORK”; the phrase was embedded in my head from looking, so I saw the connection to Feferi more readily than I would have otherwise.

By the same token, Write Down Things You Like. Plot isn’t everything. If a passage sounds really nice, or is really funny/clever, write it down so that you remember. Make a little comic out of the dialogue. Try to voice act the scene. The more you interact with the text, the more you get out of it. Hopefully, you like what you’re reading enough that this is fun.

Furthermore, Paraphrase Dialogue. Summarizing conversations piece-wise forces you to interpret the text and determine what was intended/accomplished by various sections. You don’t need to go line by line (that’s tedious); just create an answer for “what just happened” every once in awhile.

Take References Seriously. Stories drop these as thematic clues. References to other media generally, but not always, mean that there is a shared theme or idea between the stories. So look them up. Watch the movies and read the stories that are referenced, or else read reviews and analyses until you find some common ground. My entire perspective on Jake English was altered because of a Rolling Stone review mentioning that there was a necrophilia gag in Weekend at Bernie’s.

Look At The Images. If you are in a visual medium, not everything will be expressed through plot and dialogue. Look at where your attention is being directed and how, pay attention to color choices, and keep an eye out for repeated compositions. Images are a world unto themselves, and it’s too much to get into here. If you’re interested in some video essays on image composition in film, check out Every Frame A Painting.

Read Other People’s Analysis and Commentary. Or else discuss the story with other people who are reading it. Get out of your mind! The insight of others will expose you to points of view that will sharpen your perception of stories. I used to keep up with a lot of Homestuck livebloggers for this reason (also for the vicarious thrill of other people enjoying things). @elfstuck was responsible for me realizing that sylladices are abstract representations of a character’s mind/memory (x).

Those are the things that come to mind! Hope it helps.