OMG, I love this

  • Jul. 10th, 2012 at 3:23 PM
la_vie_noire: Anthy painting a portrait (Anthy painting)
The significance of plot without conflict.

In the West, plot is commonly thought to revolve around conflict: a confrontation between two or more elements, in which one ultimately dominates the other. The standard three- and five-act plot structures—which permeate Western media—have conflict written into their very foundations. A “problem” appears near the end of the first act; and, in the second act, the conflict generated by this problem takes center stage. Conflict is used to create reader involvement even by many post-modern writers, whose work otherwise defies traditional structure.

The necessity of conflict is preached as a kind of dogma by contemporary writers’ workshops and Internet “guides” to writing. A plot without conflict is considered dull; some even go so far as to call it impossible. This has influenced not only fiction, but writing in general—arguably even philosophy. Yet, is there any truth to this belief? Does plot necessarily hinge on conflict? No. Such claims are a product of the West’s insularity. For countless centuries, Chinese and Japanese writers have used a plot structure that does not have conflict “built in”, so to speak. Rather, it relies on exposition and contrast to generate interest. This structure is known as kishōtenketsu.

Oct. 25th, 2009

  • 6:04 PM
la_vie_noire: (Utena transformation)
Willow has some very interesting thoughts about the Twilight phenomenon.

Twilight & Other Creepy Thoughts:

And suddenly Edward Cullen made so much sense as a heart throb. I don't know if Stephanie Myer knew this when she wrote, or if he and that relationship really was more an unconscious product of her upbringing. But Edward Cullen is a boy who

a) does not require a girl give a performance of / have the persona of sexy

b) in having that requirement, thus allowed Bella to feel want and lust and yearning

c) saw nothing wrong with Bella having those desires, but respected/loved her and so wanted to wait (sex was not the end game)

It's startlingly to me to contemplate that Edward / Bella is the romantic story of the century (at least right now contemporarily) because the heroine is aware of, and is allowed to feel her own desire and have her own sexual wants outside of the social act of the new female/feminine performance of pretty and the hero gives a damn about it.

[...]UF, showing women they don't have to give up being sexual beings to have power, and that being a sexual being is about a woman's own desires, not her potential attractiveness to a man.

And I also pretty much like the conversation going on in the comments.


  • Jun. 7th, 2008 at 1:36 PM
la_vie_noire: (Wicked Cain by fuyou)
READ THIS. [ profile] oyceter on Wiscon's panel about gender, gender tropes, bodies in shoujo manga. READ IT.

I then went on a handwavy overgeneralization as to how I think US media tends to reward the "masculine" in that we have more women warriors and assertion and other stereotypically masculine traits but the men are not allowed to be "girly," whereas Japanese media may reward the "feminine" more in that the men are allowed to be more emotional and vulnerable and other stereotypically feminine traits but the women are not allowed to be aggressive.

Keep in mind Wiscon is an US convention - in my experience, the above happens with a lot of western media, but I overgeneralize too. Anyway, that quote was... insightful. As everything said there.
la_vie_noire: (KuroFay by seresunokokoro)
Hey, [ profile] usomitai? Remember that post you made about an author that said a character was more interesting when they were only based on grammar and not... on humans, or something like that?

I was reading this essay by Joanna Russ that I found on Feminist SF, I think you would like to read it. It made me think about that discussion, how language is a non-subject and how it could be mystified. It's a pretty interesting essay anyway.

This part is very relevant to that discussion:
Artists, like other people, respond to the day-to-day, moment-to-moment specificities of life which they, like everyone else, must live out. Nor is it possible to talk about such topics as "sensibility" (long a favorite in literature classes) and be anything but trivial without reference to the social and economic system that surrounds us and is inside us, as the fish is in the sea and the sea is in the fish. Nobody responds to an abstract view of the universe, whether in physics or theology, unless that abstract view metaphorically embodies a social reality with which the responder is intimately familiar. But avoiding social and political realities by the appeal to false universals is an old habit of the humanities.

(Keep in mind this essay was written in 1978.)


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