5.10.17 / ap hell is finaaaally over… i forgot how to breathe!!!! now, I’ve gotta catch up on the 4 projects I’ve been pushing off because of ap testing. these four projects are all due in less than a week. I’m tryna chill but life is testing me!
also that ap macroeconomics exam today kicked my ass. the dude sitting next to me in the testing room started to stack the gajillion pencils he brought because he had ~20 minutes left to spare on the FRQ portion. We played jenga with the pencils for the remaining half an hour until the proctor called time.
I'd like to ask, how do you know when fight/smut scenes are necessary? Or how to make them effective & not simply as fanservice or just for word count? Usually, I find myself skimming through fight scenes as a reader, bored. As a writer, I'm inclined to just 'fade to black' and imply stuff at the next chapters. I'm not really a fight/smut-scene writer, even though my characters know & need to fight. Thanks for keeping this blog. :D
A good fight scene (and a good smut scene for that matter) always works in the service of the narrative. It works toward the cohesive big picture.
From an entertainment standpoint, violence is boring.
You need your audience invested in the characters participating in the violence, in the actions and events leading up to the fight, in the aftermath and how this will effect the character’s overall goals.
In a narrative context, if you’re bored during a fight scene or a sex scene it’s because the build up to that moment failed. The scene itself may also have failed. However, your foundation is what makes your story sing.
Think of a story like building blocks. You’re playing Jenga with your reader on a homemade house, they’re slowly pulling out the pieces and you’re betting you built your blocks well enough to withstand scrutiny. You’ve got to keep them interested long enough to get to the end before the whole thing comes tumbling down.
A fight sequence which works in concert with it’s narrative is enjoyable, doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, and ultimately works to build up the story it’s telling. Fighting isn’t fighting, you see. Combat is a form of problem solving, the fight itself is an expression of the character’s individuality. Everything we’ve been learning about them, their goals, and their behaviors are being put in a pressure cooker and dialed up.
You should be learning about the character as the fight progresses, the fight working on multiple levels in concert with its narrative to get the story where it needs to go. Often, a first fight is like an establishing shot in film. You get a feel for who this character is when under pressure, who they are. Peril can be a great way to get the audience invested, but its up to the author to prove why they should.
Poor fight sequences don’t tell you anything. They’re there to establish the character as capable of fighting but don’t even do that because their concept of combat is generic.
The combatants aren’t individuals expressing themselves, the fight isn’t proving anything except fighting, it doesn’t have meaning except for its attempts to prove the narrative’s poor concept of badassery. This often happens with no regard for the setting’s rules, the aftermath consequences, what the character’s actions will effect in the long run.
It doesn’t mean anything and, while violence is shocking and terrifying in real life, in fiction violence has to mean more than just an exchange of blows.
How many times have you read a book where several mooks show up to get their ass kicked by the protagonist? They limp off at the end and while they’re often in a perfect position to be seen again due to their connections, we never do.
In even just a moderately competent narrative, those same mooks are characters. We’ll see them again in bit roles. They’ll play a role, either to help or hurt later as an aftermath consequence of the protagonist’s earlier actions. These are callback characters we can use to remind the audience of what happened previously in the narrative, and offer up some catharsis.
In a really well written scene, these mooks serve an important purpose when it comes to establishing the protagonist’s character in a quick snapshot. Like the moderately competent character, they come back later to the aid or the detriment of the protagonist. The mooks’ response actions are a direct result of their encounter with the character, often acting as an inciting incident. The protagonist suffers direct consequences as a result of their actions, whether its injury, loss, or the attention of the villain which causes them to lose something. In these fight scenes, you can see the story’s trajectory because it acts as another way to get to know the hero, the secondary characters, the tertiary characters, and whoever else is participating. It’s working on five different levels.
What you often see in a good fight sequence, whether it’s in a written medium or film, is the culmination of a great deal of hard work on the part of the author. A smut sequence is a reward, it’s a way to pay off on the reader’s investment in the relationship between these two characters and the narrative’s investment in them. It doesn’t matter if that’s hardcore sex, or a Victorian hand touch, or a knockout blow to the jaw, the end result is the same. It’s entertaining, satisfying, and even cathartic.
A poor sex scene is just dolls bumping bits. A poor fight scene is just dolls trading blows. Nothing occurs, nothing happens, there’s none of the underlying satisfaction or catharsis in the outcome. You don’t have any investment, no consequences, it overstays its welcome and tells you nothing about the characters.
You’ve no reason to care, so you don’t.
As a reader, you don’t owe a writer attention when reading their work. They’ve got to earn it. If they aren’t, then it may be that the story isn’t for you and that’s okay. Take into account your tastes,
It takes practice to choreograph a fun fight scene. Writing sex and violence is mostly about learning to find your limits (i.e. what you’re comfortable with writing), and overcoming embarrassment. Determine the difference between need and want.
Are you avoiding writing these scenes because you’re scared of being bad at them or because they just don’t interest you?
These are two very different issues, and it’s easy to hide from the first behind the second. Be honest with yourself. If it is fear, then don’t give into it. The easy solution if you’re afraid of being bad at something is to practice. Start looking critically at the media you consume, when you start to get bored during a fight scene or a sex scene, when you want to skip ahead, ask yourself, “why?”. Check out the sequences and stories where this doesn’t happen, and try to figure out the differences between the two.
When it comes to the mechanics of both violence and sex, the more you learn the better off you’ll be at writing it. The more you practice writing violence/sex/romance then the better you’ll be. Like with everything, it’ll probably be pretty terrible in the beginning but the more you practice, the better you get. Writing itself is a skill, but its also a lot of sub-skills built in underneath the surface. Being good at dialogue doesn’t mean you’ll be good at action, having a knack for great characterization doesn’t mean you’ll be good at writing setting description. Putting together great characters doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be good at worldbuilding.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
All it takes to figure out whether or not the time to fight is right is by listening to your gut.
Remember, the best scenes are based in narrative cohesion and emotional investment. They’re a pay off in and of themselves for your audience, dessert after dinner. They aren’t the meat and potatoes. If you set out to just write a fight scene or write a smut scene then it’ll get gratuitous. Then the focus is on the fight or the sex itself, hangs entirely on their shoulders, and you’ve just upped the ante for how entertaining you need to be.
It’s not “how do I write a fight scene”, it’s “how did my characters get to this point and why are they fighting”. If you start from a character place, it gets easier. The same is true with romance. “How do my characters participate in a romance (sex or not)”.
Make it about the individuals, that’s when it really gets fun.
And, if you get too stuck, try writing fight scenes with characters who don’t know much about how to fight. Sometimes, it’s easier to get into it when you begin at the beginning. There’s a lot less pressure convincing an audience with a character who knows nothing than one at the top of their field.
There’s a lot less stress about “is this right?” when you’re trying to get a feel for the flow if you’re dealing with a character who doesn’t know jack shit. Fight scenes with characters who know nothing can also be really, really, really fun. They’re wild, improvisational frenzies where all you have is the character sorting through their alternative, non-fighting skills trying to figure out how to survive.
Believe it or not, this will help you because you don’t get to cheat with the idea that your character already knows what they’re doing when you don’t. It’ll help you tap into the character, seeing scenarios from their perspectives, and writing to that instead of “generic fight scene”. When you’re unsure, characters who know nothing about the subject matter they’re engaging in but still have to engage are great. They teach you how to write from the standpoint and perspective of the individual. You need those skills just as much when writing characters who are professionals or at the top of their field.
If you don’t think you can write an interesting fight sequence with a neophyte, then that might be a part of the problem. A character doesn’t need to be good at something to be entertaining. A smut sequence where everyone’s fumbling, knocking into each other, embarrassed, stuck in their clothing, cheesy, corny, and laughing can be just as fun (if not more so and more honest) than the ones that generally get envisioned.
For me, good is entertaining and the entertainment is based in humanity but you need to define “good” for yourself in your own writing. Be honest with yourself about your fears and you’ll find a way to bridge yourself to the kind of writing you want to be doing.
Freeing yourself of your own internalized preconceived notions will help a lot, and produce stories that are way more fun.
There’s this Bangtan Episode for Bangtans’ first birthday party in that video Jimin and Yoongi are decorating a cake, on their way back to the dorm Yoongi starts complaining that Jimin doesn’t like him, so Jimin scoots really close to him and says “Hyung, I like you Hyung” in a very low voice and everytime I think of that I yell on the inside.
During an Inkigayo Fanmeet Yoongi was explaining the reason that he teases Jimin so much is because he really loves him and he’s cute, he then asks Jimin for a hug and everyone else in Bangtan starts screaming from the sudden affection coming from Yoongi. (:
When Bangtan was playing Jenga in a Bangtan Bomb they switched up the rules and decided that the loser would have to kiss someone else, at the end the loser ends up being Jimin and Jimin decides to ask Yoongi “Would you like to kiss with me?”, everyone else in Bangtan gets excited about this as they loudly start chanting “It’s Suga-Hyung!” and Taehyung even starts to lightly hold him down, when Jimin starts walking towards Yoongi, slowly removing his jacket, the fact that Yoongi just sat there waiting for it was something to scream about.
Another one of my favorite moments was during Kiss The Radio, when Yoongi was asked if he was composing any songs lately, he then answered that he was and that he was thinking of giving a song to Jimin because he’s a really hard worker.
During BTS FESTA 2016 each member had to answer questions about another member to see how much they knew about them, for Jimin’s questions it said things like “Thigh Measurement?” and “Ring Size?”, after Namjoon finishes answering all of Jimins’ question Yoongi then said “I would’ve easily got all the answers right if I did Jimins’.” if that doesn’t scream Yoonmin to you, I don’t know what does.
There was this radio that Yoongi did on VLIVEand it was his birthday, he had called Jimin asking where he was to which Jimin replied “I’m in your heart hyung.”, a few seconds later Jimin came out and surprised him with a cake,he had also gotten Yoongi a sweater for his birthday that Yoongi had immediately put on. Towards the end of the stream Yoongi asks each member to say something to him because it’s his birthday, Hoseok and Taehyung both say something along the lines of “Thank you” but Jimin just looks at Yoongi and says “You know” to which Yoongi replies “I know”. The whole stream was just screaming Yoonmin to me.
Also I think that Jimin during Yoongi’s ISAC basketball game deserves a spot on this list too. In this video you basically see Jimin at Yoongis feet, doing whatever he can to make sure that Yoongi is not feeling any stress before and during his baskteball game. Jimin even takes it up a notch and starts cheering for him really loudly, catching everyones’ attention.
1. Treat your significant other with respect. This is key. This is essential, and this is way overlooked. When they are in the car with you and they are playing their favorite music, don’t, DON’T YOU DARE tell them their music sucks or that you’re “sick of listening to this shitty music”. Let them be happy. Let them smile. If they are into watching a show that you just can’t get into, don’t insult it. Don’t put a person down just because you don’t get it. Watch the happiness int their eyes as they watch and listen to things they love. You’ll watch that disappear after you chose to insult their likes.
2. Talk. Communicate. Share memories. Share stories. Share songs that make you believe in love. Share movies that inspire you. Tell them what’s going on. You failed your test? lets talk about it. You’re mad at your mom? Why? Talk about your past, but don’t forget to ask what they hope for in the future.
3. Establish a good relationship to the people that they are close to. Meet their family. Hang out with their siblings. Be friends with their friends. Take their dog on a walk around the neighborhood with them.
4. GO ON DATES. This is underrated but essential. Take them places. Go on adventures. Take them to dinner. Go do something fun. Show them off. That’s your person, embrace it. Hold their hand at the mall. Cuddle them close at a scary movie. Kiss their forehead at the park. Walk hand in hand at the beach. Compete against each other in laser tag. Go to a drive in movie theater to do something new.
5. But also take those nights in too. Cuddle up and watch a movie on netflix. Kiss while you’re playing a video game. See who’s more strategic at a game of chess. Laugh as you play a game of jenga and the entire thing falls down. Bake cookies and sing and dance to your favorite songs. Sure, going out and having something to do is fun, but nights in with your babe are irreplaceable. They aren’t boring if you don’t make it boring, or if worst comes to worst, be bored together.
6. Help them grow. Don’t judge them. Everybody is different. If they are having a hard time in school, don’t yell at them, but encourage them to do better. Be there as a helping hand and a good influence to help guide them. People get lost sometimes, and it’s important that if they feel lost, they do not feel alone. Support their decisions even if the career they want doesn’t make $80,000/year.
7. Don’t compare them to other people. Do not say that you regretted choosing them over somebody else. That hurts, and when you hurt somebody in that kind of way you’ll never get the same person back. Don’t talk up somebody of the opposite gender to make them sound better than you’re boyfriend/girlfriend. Make your bf/gf feel most important.
8. Show affection. It’s not old school. It’s not gross. It’s not over done. It makes the relationship. Make your boyfriend/girlfriend feel happy to be with you. Make them smile. Make them laugh. Make them blush. Give them compliments often so they don’t question their worth to you. If they are important make them and their feelings a priority. Don’t be afraid to hold their hand or kiss their cheek if somebody is watching. Don’t underestimate the power of appreication, because it goes a long way. Issues in a relationship will disappear if you remind them of the little things you like about them. Build them up. That’s your baby. Never be afraid to make them feel good.
9. That’s your boy/girl. Period. Don’t leave room for the opportunity to make somebody else make them feel better than you do. Don’t let another man tell your girl she looks beautiful today before you tell her. And ladies, don’t let another girl have the opportunity to tell your man how sexy his new haircut looks before you do.
10. Lastly, love them unconditionally. Love them even if they break down and cry sometimes. Be there and calm them down during an anxiety attack. Be there for them at 2 in the morning when they’re falling apart and need somebody to talk to, but be there for them when its 3pm and they love thier life. Love them even if they sing a little loud in the shower. Love them even if they find stupid tings entertaining for funny. Love them if they need help with homework. Love them if they fail a class because they don’t know what they are doing. Encourage better, but don’t not love them because of it. They are hard enough on themselves, especially those who have a hard time loving them self. Love them. Love them even if they overslept and missed church on Sunday morning. Love them even if you’re fighting. Love them if their hair is a mess. Love them in the morning before they put make up on or btrushed their hair or teeth. Love them even if they accidentally burn the toast in the morning. Love them when they don’t love themself. Love them if they get a speeding ticket. Love them and give them everything you have. Love with your whole heart or not at all.
And this, is how you should be when you date somebody.
5 or 6 assorted piles of cards, shuffled (one pile for each color, roughly 20 cards each, and 1 pile for colorless if you choose to have those)
A jenga set with colored blocks
You play normally except that at some point during your turn you have to play a turn of Jenga. If you successfully move a block and place it on top of the tower then you get to draw a card from pile of cards corresponding to that block’s color. Play your Jenga turn only any time you could cast a sorcery. You retain priority until the end of your Jenga turn, when a draw trigger for the appropriate color pile goes on the stack.
The above set is the one I have. Yellow is white cards and purple is black cards. Each pile has generally powerful cards that would be useful to just about any deck of those colors. So you want to draw a card from a pile that you could potentially play.
The catch is that if the tower falls and you were the last one to touch it then you lose the game immediately (alternatively you could just get a major set back, like discarding your hand, destroying all nonland permanents you control, losing half your life rounded up, etc. You could make a small chart and roll a dice for these if you want people to potentially stay in the game after the tower falls).
Get it? Unstable? The tower falls?
Alternatively (how I’m likely to play the first time I try this) ignore the colors and just have some booster packs handy. Successfully completing your Jenga turn means you get to draft one card from a booster to put directly into your hand.
Another alternative – have the piles of cards in their own sleeves that are readily distinguishable from everyone else’s deck. Cards in those sleeves can be cast as using mana as though it were mana of any color. So the color isn’t a restriction but rather an indication of what kind of effects you have a chance of getting. Need a destroy creature spell? Try to draw from the black pile and hope for the best.
@flavoracle I think you’ll appreciate this and would also love input from you or anyone else. This seems pretty fun to me but if anybody thinks of something that might put it really over the top I want to hear it!
mc: oh hi yoosung yoosung: oh hey mc mc: mc: wait yoosung why are you here at this hour? yoosung: what are YOU doing here mc? mc: i was getting water. and i’m married to saeyoung. yoosung: oh yeah mc: don’t avoid the question yoosung: I was playing jenga. mc: jenga? yoosung: with saeran. mc: what? yoosung: human jenga mc: what does tha- saeran: *yelling from the bedroom* YOOSUNG YOU LEFT YOUR PANTS HERE yoosung: i have business to attend *runs away* mc: ahh… i see