Trahearne has every faith that Ive is capable of punching out all manner of eldritch abomination. Or at the very least he expects that Ive is involved somehow because he knows that he’s a complete danger magnet and why wouldn’t he be involved.
He also apparently is never surprised by anything. Or at the least is mildly surprised. In a very proper and calm manner.
So about sometime last school year, I drew a pepe in the class
and this kid from another period liked to draw over it and as each day passed, he kept drawing on it and i kept trying to draw it back to how it was, but then it sort of progressed to where we would sent messages to each other
I didnt document the first ones
He asked for an army AND OH BOY DID I BRING HIM ONE
The teacher had let me print a bunch of pepes and we built our “army”
Then I put them literally everywhere in the classroom (including the books bc the teacher let us know what page they were going to work on)
The main focus was the table where the guy sat in. We spent all period attaching pepes on doors, windows, walls, stools, tables books, everything
This kid had the class for first period while i had it for sixth so the teacher told me he was going to tell me the reaction at the end of the day. HOWEVER, I got the reaction sooner than I thought because as i was passing to second period I saw this
THIS KID HAD THROWN PRACTICALLY ALL MY PEPES TO THE FLOOR FROM THE THIRD FLOOR
We later on met and honestly, this whole thing will be the highlight of my life and I hope to be remembered for this.
They didn’t know for sure if they succeeded.
Chirrut and Baze died hoping that Bodhi managed to get in touch with rebel fleet.
Bodhi died hoping that rebel fleet managed to break the shield and that Cassian and Jyn managed to transmit the plans.
Cassian and Jyn died hoping that anybody listened to their transmission.
All they had is hope that their death wasn’t in vain. That they made a difference.
The rebellion is built on hope.
What chance do we have? The question is what choice? Run, hide, plead for mercy, scatter your forces? You give way to an enemy this evil with this much power and you condemn the galaxy to an eternity of submission. The time to fight is now!
a gift, for one of my best friends out there. for all those past years, and for as many as we can get in our lifetime
If you’ve been doing this writing thing for more than one day, you’ve likely experienced the following worry:
“What if my story idea ISN’T ORIGINAL?”
And if my experience is any indication, things spiraled downwards from there: “What if it’s cliche? What if there’s nothing new here?! It IS cliche. It ISN’T original. I’m a failure! ALL MY WRITING NEEDS TO BURN!”
Calm yourself. There’s a way to make sure that your story concept is unique.
First, what IS a story concept? It’s the initial idea that made you want to write the thing. It’s the “What If” question that starts everything off. Later, it will be the promise that hooks the reader or audience, and makes them want to experience the story.
So for example: What if Cinderella was a cyborg? What if a rat wanted to be a french chef? What if a fish had to venture across the ocean to find his son who’s captive in a dentist’s office aquarium?
All great concepts. All of which seem to be comprised of two elements: something that we already know about, a set up that establishes expectations, and then something contrasting and surprising, which creates irony or surprise. So the first element of a successful story concept is FAMILIARITY.
Establishing expectations? Something we already know about? Familiarity?! That sounds like the definition of UNorginal.
Hear me out.
What do readers do when foraging for a new novel at the bookstore? Certain readers gravitate to certain shelves. Some go to mysteries, some to crime, a whole lot to romance, and the rest to the other genres that are too numerous to list.
Why is this? Because genres give them a pretty good idea about what they’re going to get. Readers already know the conventions of the genre. They’ve already put in the work of learning, accepting, and enjoying these conventions.
Genres give both reader and writer something to go on right away. For the reader, genres are expectations for story events, setting, character, and more, which are automatically enjoyable to them. For a writer, it’s a set of expectations which can be flipped to create something remarkable and unique.
It’s like telling a joke. Without a setup, there can’t be a punchline.
The genres are the setup, the individual twist the author puts on that genre is the punchline. Or in other words, readers truly do want the same thing –only different.
To illustrate this, let’s take a look at one of the most successful stories of all time.
With space ships, interplanetary travel, sentient robots, and aliens running amok, Star Wars LOOKS to be the kind of story that requires the audience to expend lots of mental energy to comprehend and believe. At first glance, it seems that imaginations are going to have to stretch a great deal, and there won’t be anything familiar to ground us – this SEEMS like an uncomfortably new, unwelcoming world. But I doubt if anyone has ever felt uncomfortable or unwelcome while watching Star Wars. And the reason for this can be summed up with one ellipsis-ended sentence:
Suddenly, all is clear. This isn’t the hard-to-imagine future, this is the PAST. We’re not being asked to imagine and believe a totally new world; we’re being taken to the realm of “far, far away”, a place we’ve known since childhood. Isn’t “a long time ago” just another way of saying “once upon a time”? Yes, it is, so we know where we are now. We are in a fairy tale, a myth.
The familiarity of fairy tales sets us at ease and sets our expectations in place. Expectations which Star Wars meets with flying colors: A farmboy who must become a knight. A princess imploring for aide. A mystical wise-old-man mentor. Sword fights between good and evil. A magic that operates like religion. A dark lord and a dark side. Star Wars was built upon something we already know, something timeless, something we’ve always enjoyed.
And once those well-known expectations were set, Star Wars was free to add the unexpected and create one of those most memorable story worlds ever. Think of a story you love, and you’ll probably be able to identify the something-already-known aspect of it.
How about Harry Potter?
When we hear “boarding school”, mental images and probabilities are instantly conjured in our minds. We picture classrooms, dormitories, a campus with very old buildings, kids in uniforms, a giant place for meals, living through a schoolyear with a bunch of kids your age, etc. Even if we don’t know much about boarding school, we all know what regular school is like (even us homeschoolers over here *waves*) and our expectations for that are nearly identical from person to person.
So what does this prove?
It proves that one half of your story’s concept must be grounded in something we already know, and know well. These are the expectations you are going to establish for your reader, before the second element of your concept upends everything and creates something wholly unique.
You need FAMILIARITY. You need to ground your concept in something WELL-KNOWN. Only then will you be able to create something ORIGINAL.
Where can familiarity be found?
1. Genre Conventions
3. Well-known stories
The possibilities are not limited to these categories, of course. Familiar subjects can be found within many other areas. However, Familiar elements seem to share certain qualities …
⦁ Provides a rough timeline
⦁ Conjures imagery
⦁ Sets expectations for events, characters, opposition, etc
⦁ Has natural potential for conflict
⦁ Serves as a goal-oriented backdrop for the plot
To see how this works, let’s look at Harry Potter again:
Familiarity: Going to boarding school. (An occupation)
Timeline: A school year (which Voldy always lets Harry complete before trying to kill him again, bless him.)
Story Expectations: When we hear “school”, we know what we’re going to get.
Imagery: Boarding school conjures tons of possibilities.
Conflict Potential: It’s a thousand kids living in one castle with a handful of adults – there’s going to be conflict.
Goal-Oriented: School is inherently goal directed. You want to graduate. And in the case of boarding school, you want to win the house cup.
But of course, this familiar environment is only HALF of the concept for Harry Potter. The other half, of course, is WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY. Which brings us to the 2nd element of a successful story concept, which will be the subject of the next post.
How many cookies would it take to bribe you into telling me a story, Bucky? They're homemade, and any story will do.
all of them. i will tell you the story while i wait for all of the cookies.
once upon a time, a little shit decided to go fight nazis.
usually when i start a story that way, its a steve story. but this time its a me story.
i too fought nazis, my friend, and it was not fun at all. it turns out nazis dont like being fought, and will fight back. this caused us a great deal of stress and trenchfoot.
as you may or may not know, my nazi fighting buddies were called the howling commandoes. we had a reputation as being ‘howling mad’ which most people assumed is where our name came from.
it is not.
so shortly after we’d signed up as steves unit, we got sent out on a sort of breaking-in mission. it was supposed to be a pretty routine just-behind-enemy-lines gig, mostly to see how we’d do as a team. at that point, we were the first ‘integrated’ squad under american command, so they wanted to be sure we were up to snuff. basically they sent us a few miles into a relatively lightly-fortified occupied area to blow up a few supply trucks. it went pretty smoothly. we were still getting to know each other, a bit. we’d met in the hydra camp in austria and bonded pretty well there but it wasnt like we were sitting around doing icebreaker questions. so on that first mission we spent a lot of time chatting, getting a better feel for each other as people. like summer camp, but with more potential for death, and shooting of nazis, explosions, and overgrown science experiments in spangly pants.
so maybe not like summer camp at all. i wouldnt know, i never went to summer camp.
anyways, we blew up the supply trucks and we were headed back towards base when we came across a nice little stream. most of us were pretty dirty, so we agreed to take a few minutes, strip down and wash up. the area we were in was supposed to be secure; it was a slightly disputed border area, but it had been safely in allied hands for months. probably it wasn’t the smartest call, but sometimes you get dirt places you never wanted dirt and are willing to literally risk death to get rid of that dirt.
we left our gear in a little stand of trees on the far side of the stream and washed up.
at this point, dumdum dougan was establishing his reputation as the Toughest Guy Ever, which was a rough gig when one of your squadmates is captain america, who literally walks off bullet wounds like a moron. nevertheless, dumdum had the mustache and was determined to be the manliest man around, so when the rest of us got in, clean, and back out as fast as we could manage, because the water was freezing, dumdum decided to prove how macho he was by pretending he wasnt cold at all, and the rest of us were wimps.
naturally, the rest of us thought he was ridiculous. we were all pretty much dressed and good to go, and dumdum was still sitting in an ice-cold stream in april, bragging about how tough he was. i, being a little shit, covertly suggested we play a little prank.
so the rest of us finished gearing up, then grabbed his things and started running. his pack, his gun, his boots…all his clothes except his hat, which was hanging off the handle of a knife he’d stuck in the tree. we knew he’d stop to get the hat, and that gave us a head start.
as soon as we started running, dumdum came out of the stream after us, and as expected, stopped to get his hat and knife. we had a decent head start, and he was yelling at the top of his lungs after us. we were all laughing our heads off, because he looked like a complete idiot, running after us brandishing a knife, in nothing but a bowler hat.
unbeknownst to us, a nazi squad had been sneaking through the woods ahead of us, and were setting up an ambush on one of our transport trucks. they were all tucked away in the underbrush, waiting for the transport to get close enough, and had just popped out of the shrubbery and fired their first couple shots.
which was approximately when a ragtag-looking, still-wet group of cackling maniacs led by the bastard child of paul bunyan and lady liberty burst out of the treeline, being chased by an angry naked man in a bowler hat with a knife.
there was a very long moment when everyone stopped shooting at everyone else and stared at us.
and then everyone went back to shooting at everyone else. but the ambush was angled to ensnare the transport coming up the road. we came from behind them, and they had pretty much no cover from our angle. as soon as we realized we’d run into a combat zone, we dropped the gear and started shooting. steve used the dinner platter of justice and cleared out about four nazis at once, and dumdum got the worlds unluckiest nazi with his knife. poor guy. there’s not a whole lot worse than your last sight on earth being a naked dumdum dougan.
we’d unintentionally provided a perfect distraction, and the transport had time to regroup and return fire. between us, the ambush was taken care of in a few minutes.
but the thing was, we’d broken protocol by stopping to wash up, and as a shiny new unit still on probation, the last thing we wanted was to tell anyone what had actually happened.
so instead we told them that we’d known about the ambush and had decided to provide a distraction, and were just crazy enough that we thought the best way to do that was run howling straight into it. dumdum’s nudity was explained as a personal preference: the man just likes fighting nazis naked, sir, and you cant say it wasnt effective??
naturally, the story went everywhere and got bigger each time it was told. probably we should have gotten in tons of trouble but the story was such a morale booster that they let it slide.
and thats why we were called the howling commandoes.