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Writing Help

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Writing Help

Postby Universal Prime » Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:10 am

Motto: ""So long as I'm still standing I am fit for duty.""
Weapon: Lightning Rifle
So, I have a question on how to slowly degarde a character's mental fortitude, without actually ever having him go crazy.

For the record, it's from excess forced adventuring.
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Those hands, I can't forget those silly, delicate hands. Always spinning and dancing and cutting away, spinning and dancing and crushing away, twirling and whirling and warping around and away. No escape, no escape. Every time I close my eyes they come back. Any serenity I gain is lost by their image. No escape, no escape, nothing can get me away from those dancing, enthusiastic, delicate hands and their diamond fingers.......
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Re: Writing Help

Postby G1 Smoketreader » Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:21 pm

Motto: "Continue building from within,attack your designated target,defend everyone."
Weapon: Double-Barreled, Armor-Piercing Particle Beam Cann...
Universal Prime wrote:So, I have a question on how to slowly degarde a character's mental fortitude, without actually ever having him go crazy.

For the record, it's from excess forced adventuring.



In his outlook is one place to lay out all the changes. The reader who follows the characters thoughts will begin to recognise when they are changing. A dramatic change could go sar far as to incorporate an enemy view point (or a part thereof).

Next is tolerance levels. Complex decisions become more complex, the character may even proctastinate if affected by either guilt or ethic. Simple decisions become simpler.

This eventually effects topics overall. The character may become selective in topic- tolerance: Kill 'em all-easy! Risk your life for a complex command assisting, grunt killing dead end objective- don't wanna know.

Then priorities change. Some equipment gets disregarded, other gear gets picked up. Command might have a problem with this which will cause some friction.

The "new" character, slowly changing internally, is being eyed by some friends and has gone unnoticed by others. Since the team-mates are drifting to different levels, the time delay between the old communication system and the new ones' stabilization re the "new" characters attitude may cause gaps in communication (periods of isolation) and maybe even new influences, sometimes rotten.

Eventually the character emerges with his new philosophy intact.If he has the balls to speak out, he'll go his seperate way in time, or else find a new place in the team (berserker?) whilst if speaking out is inappropriate, he'll start to get bored or tired during particular actions that he now hates (or fears).Basically, the degeneration gets physical, and as my homemade Night Planet Autobot: Preypacer says-"A team is only as fast as its' slowest member", so it will affect everyone relying on him.

Eventually the rest of the team will lash out at the tardiness. If the character in question can't handle the backlash, his breakdown will come faster.

Hope something there helps.
"Everyone has a hobby.Even people who say they don't still have one under another name.If we're sick,injured, we still go to it and get down to see how it is.If it needs something, we bring it,make sure the attention is perfect.It exercises our care and protection and gives us back philosophies.It's a living thing to us,and is the most perfect way to teach a young person how to be towards a living thing. It's something that should never be taken away."
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Re: Writing Help

Postby SlyTF1 » Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:47 pm

Motto: "Destruction is the ultimate freedom."
Weapon: Plasma Beam Rifle
I'm having problems with this too, while I'm writing my script to my 3 hr stopmotion. I'm writing and it sounds good while your doing it, but then you realize that their motives changed too fast!!! With no progression its just "damn...I'm here."
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Re: Writing Help

Postby Kohdok » Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:13 pm

Motto: ""Spider-Truck, Spider-Truck...""
What you wrote, smoketreader, sounds more like a change in character rather than mental degradation.

With excess forced adventuring, they mostly face problems with fatigue and battle-weariness. This can show itself as despondency and irritability. When tired enough, they might lash out at others and get lost in themselves. Kinda like someone who only got three hours of sleep each night for a week; they'll be pretty grumpy.


As for a change in motivation, that's a different article altogether. If the view is changing towards the situation, show something that challenges their beliefs. A Hannibal Lecture can have a similar effect.

Also, three hours?! I'm sure there's a way to cut that down. 3 hour screenplays tend to be reserved for book adaptations and high-level blockbusters. I'd advise you to see if that script can be chopped up a bit...
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Re: Writing Help

Postby G1 Smoketreader » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:04 am

Motto: "Continue building from within,attack your designated target,defend everyone."
Weapon: Double-Barreled, Armor-Piercing Particle Beam Cann...
Kohdok wrote:What you wrote, smoketreader, sounds more like a change in character rather than mental degradation.

With excess forced adventuring, they mostly face problems with fatigue and battle-weariness. This can show itself as despondency and irritability. When tired enough, they might lash out at others and get lost in themselves. Kinda like someone who only got three hours of sleep each night for a week; they'll be pretty grumpy.




Yeah, I guess you're right.

I translated mental degradation as 'decay in mental fortitude'(as opposed to emotional fortitude). What I was thinking is that if counselling wasn't available fast (because everyone was stuck on 3 hours sleep for a week and couldn't chat)or sleep wasn't foreseeable, these reserve fortitude systems/files would start coming out to bolster the characters overall mental stamina, but as reserve philosophies they would be different to the standard 'observed' attitude profiles of the character.

A 'mental' breakdown wouldn't necessarily happen unless the character was predisposed/pre-inclined to the method-of-venting, but an emotional destructuring and reconstruction would happen as the character settled in to acceptance of this new lifestyle, (and again when the lifestyle was over and the character went home).

Older faiths and memory-treasures require 'mental shielding' that takes up energy, which the inner will demand to reroute towards the current demands on the internal energy supply and therefore attempt to appropriate from the characters existing daily thought/musing cycle. It can lead to a battle between the person and his surroundings, or even between the body and the mind.

Therefore, a character who has identified himself as being treasured by his wife for being a pacifist, will have to double-think before he just stands up straight and starts marching like a combatant, which is an energy saving solution for the 3xdaily patrol, rather than walking like a good man.

A character who volunteers to fight to save his factory will initially let himself get lost in the platoon.When the platoon is whittled down, he'll have to fight harder, start sticking his head out more often, start forcing himself to act like a veteran in order to make sure the rookies know what he wants them to know, since his priority WAS to stay hidden amongst the platoon long enough to get back to his factory,he needs the rookies to keep platoon numbers up where he needs them.Once he gets steeped in his new 4x daily patrol lifestyle, he has to force himself to start abandoning his thoughts of home and adopting the battlefield as his new home,to focus on where he is.

Furthermore, after a good kill, he'll replay the memory and start to remember the adrenaline surge, which will serve to keep him awake in some small ways, but will also cause him to start walking away from the old him who was relying on numbers to get him back home. He becomes a battlefield native and starts thinking about the enemy. If he actually manages to know the enemy in a zen way, he becomes more confident to fight, and the hunt keeps his tired mind/body focused. Since he has found this new way to charge up, being told to wait might tire him double-fast. If he hasn't the rank or the rest of his team don't have the fortitude to stay in pace with him, he'll start to hate his job, tho he'll appreciate his new awareness of when and how his job should be done.

Anyway, I guess you're right.

Other ideas could be 'niggling injuries' eventually left to grow wild, environmental factors like hammering rain, an exposed bunch of circuitry from a previous fight, yielding a gap in the armor that needs repanelling tho there's no mechbay anywhere on the planet. Noisy or badly trained helpers. An unknown fighting style enemy who needs to be studied in order to be countered but again with no armory around, just the weapons the group has on them. Then there's the reward system as well- no reward for the hero but rewards for others could be troublesome.
"Everyone has a hobby.Even people who say they don't still have one under another name.If we're sick,injured, we still go to it and get down to see how it is.If it needs something, we bring it,make sure the attention is perfect.It exercises our care and protection and gives us back philosophies.It's a living thing to us,and is the most perfect way to teach a young person how to be towards a living thing. It's something that should never be taken away."
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Re: Writing Help

Postby Kohdok » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:36 am

Motto: ""Spider-Truck, Spider-Truck...""
Autobot Smoketreader wrote:
Kohdok wrote:What you wrote, smoketreader, sounds more like a change in character rather than mental degradation.

With excess forced adventuring, they mostly face problems with fatigue and battle-weariness. This can show itself as despondency and irritability. When tired enough, they might lash out at others and get lost in themselves. Kinda like someone who only got three hours of sleep each night for a week; they'll be pretty grumpy.




Yeah, I guess you're right.

I translated mental degradation as 'decay in mental fortitude'(as opposed to emotional fortitude). What I was thinking is that if counselling wasn't available fast (because everyone was stuck on 3 hours sleep for a week and couldn't chat)or sleep wasn't foreseeable, these reserve fortitude systems/files would start coming out to bolster the characters overall mental stamina, but as reserve philosophies they would be different to the standard 'observed' attitude profiles of the character.

A 'mental' breakdown wouldn't necessarily happen unless the character was predisposed/pre-inclined to the method-of-venting, but an emotional destructuring and reconstruction would happen as the character settled in to acceptance of this new lifestyle, (and again when the lifestyle was over and the character went home).

Older faiths and memory-treasures require 'mental shielding' that takes up energy, which the inner will demand to reroute towards the current demands on the internal energy supply and therefore attempt to appropriate from the characters existing daily thought/musing cycle. It can lead to a battle between the person and his surroundings, or even between the body and the mind.

Therefore, a character who has identified himself as being treasured by his wife for being a pacifist, will have to double-think before he just stands up straight and starts marching like a combatant, which is an energy saving solution for the 3xdaily patrol, rather than walking like a good man.

A character who volunteers to fight to save his factory will initially let himself get lost in the platoon.When the platoon is whittled down, he'll have to fight harder, start sticking his head out more often, start forcing himself to act like a veteran in order to make sure the rookies know what he wants them to know, since his priority WAS to stay hidden amongst the platoon long enough to get back to his factory,he needs the rookies to keep platoon numbers up where he needs them.Once he gets steeped in his new 4x daily patrol lifestyle, he has to force himself to start abandoning his thoughts of home and adopting the battlefield as his new home,to focus on where he is.

Furthermore, after a good kill, he'll replay the memory and start to remember the adrenaline surge, which will serve to keep him awake in some small ways, but will also cause him to start walking away from the old him who was relying on numbers to get him back home. He becomes a battlefield native and starts thinking about the enemy. If he actually manages to know the enemy in a zen way, he becomes more confident to fight, and the hunt keeps his tired mind/body focused. Since he has found this new way to charge up, being told to wait might tire him double-fast. If he hasn't the rank or the rest of his team don't have the fortitude to stay in pace with him, he'll start to hate his job, tho he'll appreciate his new awareness of when and how his job should be done.

Anyway, I guess you're right.

Other ideas could be 'niggling injuries' eventually left to grow wild, environmental factors like hammering rain, an exposed bunch of circuitry from a previous fight, yielding a gap in the armor that needs repanelling tho there's no mechbay anywhere on the planet. Noisy or badly trained helpers. An unknown fighting style enemy who needs to be studied in order to be countered but again with no armory around, just the weapons the group has on them. Then there's the reward system as well- no reward for the hero but rewards for others could be troublesome.


...Dang, I need to read more war stories. That was a very in-depth analysis on the hard road from rookie to veteran. There's also the whiplash that occurs once this hardened veteran finally gets to return to the factory like he desired in the first place. Now that he's so ingrained in the life of a soldier, he'll have a difficult time settling back into his old life and dealing with the impulses he developed simply as a means of survival on the battlefield. This can certainly be frustrating since he was previously pining to return but now that he has, he seems inept at it. Merely the transition back to normal life has been the subject of entire stories in themselves.
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Re: Writing Help

Postby Universal Prime » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:05 am

Motto: ""So long as I'm still standing I am fit for duty.""
Weapon: Lightning Rifle
That was really helpful. Part of how his incidents show their effects for the character is a more and more dogged refusal to use normal weapons. Sounds odd, but I wanted the character to have a childish air to them, while still being a matured being. In effect, a child soldier. But Smoketreader, your advice will have to be one of the best tips I've ever gotten.

Also, this isn't a transformers fic per se, but it is helpful for the main transformers fic idea I had.
http://heroicc300.livejournal.com/

Those hands, I can't forget those silly, delicate hands. Always spinning and dancing and cutting away, spinning and dancing and crushing away, twirling and whirling and warping around and away. No escape, no escape. Every time I close my eyes they come back. Any serenity I gain is lost by their image. No escape, no escape, nothing can get me away from those dancing, enthusiastic, delicate hands and their diamond fingers.......
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Re: Writing Help

Postby Me, Grimlock! » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:56 pm

Weapon: Stinger Missile
I haven't been able to read over the whole thread yet, but I will later when I have more time. For now, a tip I could recommend is to read Spider-man comics, especially circa Amazing Spider-Man 50 (yeah, yeah, I hear you, not exactly accessible to everyone). He's always dealing with responsibility versus living his whole life, comics or movies. It's almost his frigging hobby. Re-watch Spider-Man 2 and see how the superheroing he forces on himself dmakes him more pissed off and, when he finally snaps, how the character is contrasted.

If the reader is supposed to empathize with him (or her), remember to make it look as if his forced adventuring is getting in the way of him leading a normal life that we take for granted: his rights are being eaten away (right to happiness, right to love, right to hold down a job, etc.) Watch how Raimi does this with Peter Parker in Spider-Man 2.

If the reader isn't supposed to empathize, make sure to withdraw him and make him, as said, irritable and antisocial, even breaking his own moral code. Make others withdraw from him, worry about him, or be scared of him. As much as you might not like the movie, watch how Raimi does this in Spider-Man 3 with emo-Spidey. Emo-Spidey takes the same personal downturn as regular Spidey, but we boo and hiss it in Spider-Man 3 whereas, in Spider-Man 2, we feel for him.

But if you're worried that the change is too quick or too drastic, that's what feedback is for. You won't get it all right in the first draft. As blunt as it sounds, you'll probably have to rewrite portions of it if this is an area in your writing you've never before gone through.
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Re: Writing Help

Postby G1 Smoketreader » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:43 pm

Motto: "Continue building from within,attack your designated target,defend everyone."
Weapon: Double-Barreled, Armor-Piercing Particle Beam Cann...
Universal Prime wrote:That was really helpful. Part of how his incidents show their effects for the character is a more and more dogged refusal to use normal weapons. Sounds odd, but I wanted the character to have a childish air to them, while still being a matured being. In effect, a child soldier. But Smoketreader, your advice will have to be one of the best tips I've ever gotten.

Also, this isn't a transformers fic per se, but it is helpful for the main transformers fic idea I had.



It's gratifying that I could help. Whenever I post there's always the little fear that I might be spamming and am just being useless.I've served in 2 armies so I've seen a little bit of what there is to see about changes like this.

The Spiderman films are really excellent storytelling in my book.I love when Aunt May takes her hand away from Pete, when he tells her he was responsible for the Uncles' death.It's his whole world considering what to do with him.

For Childlike, I suggest Winnona Ryder as Call (Alien: Ressurection) and the Bishop guy (Alien 2,3,4) as character studies; Then there's the original Ewok adventure movie (Caravan of Courage-loaded with Ewoks, who might not be children, but who are from a 'sinless' society and therefore mature differently to us), The Dark Crystal(two fae kids in lead role),Harrison ford movies 'Regarding Henry' (Study fords character) and 'Mosquito coast' (Fords character motivation-Study of a childlike obsession in a besieged environment),the little kid in the "I see dead people movies", the redhead from fifth element,the guy who plays Peter Parker in the Spiderman films FOR SURE,any movies about Queen Elizabeth the first, Good morning Vietnam.

Other people with childlike qualities,(but not in combat situations [anymore]):
*Nelson Mandela (expression when speaking after considering subject)
*Robyn Williams (the comedian)(a painful pleasure that shows on his face often-he loves his life and his world)
*Drew Barrymore (let her show you, no sleaze intended in comment)
*Goldie Hawn (laugh, stance, body language when providing attention)
*The Spanish(?)lady Tom Cruise is married to (facial features)
*Whoopie Goldberg (reaction during possible threat,interpretation of humor)
*Kate Bush (lyrics, voice,'aura'-prefers to see beauty even in pain or corruption)
*The mute guy from 'A fish called Wanda'(prefers innocence)
*Rick Mayall (Drop Dead Fred) and The Young ones (hilarious interpretations of violence and what to do with it)
*All three of the three Amigos
*Mike Myers (everything except Cat in the Hat)

Hope something here helps too! Have fun!
"Everyone has a hobby.Even people who say they don't still have one under another name.If we're sick,injured, we still go to it and get down to see how it is.If it needs something, we bring it,make sure the attention is perfect.It exercises our care and protection and gives us back philosophies.It's a living thing to us,and is the most perfect way to teach a young person how to be towards a living thing. It's something that should never be taken away."
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Re: Writing Help

Postby G1 Smoketreader » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:37 am

Motto: "Continue building from within,attack your designated target,defend everyone."
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Kohdok wrote:
...Dang, I need to read more war stories. That was a very in-depth analysis on the hard road from rookie to veteran. There's also the whiplash that occurs once this hardened veteran finally gets to return to the factory like he desired in the first place. Now that he's so ingrained in the life of a soldier, he'll have a difficult time settling back into his old life and dealing with the impulses he developed simply as a means of survival on the battlefield. This can certainly be frustrating since he was previously pining to return but now that he has, he seems inept at it. Merely the transition back to normal life has been the subject of entire stories in themselves.



Every soldier has his body first and then his kit as company. Whenever we were fresh we spoke like pals, about anything from pc games to gardening. During 'quickenings' (high intensity periods) we spoke like animals.The shortest sentence possible, the softest voice, the most direct message.Four of us would eat from one piece of bread. Eight of us would drink from one coffee.

In the example of the marching good man: a dude who learns last learns most. Just about walking in unfriendly terrain (like heatwave or slick mud) you learn how the boot plants itself and how the foot sits inside the boot.You learn to 'tell' at which angle the foot muscles are resting and at which they are stressed and conserve energy on the move.You adjust the laces to act as a pressure-badage if muscles are sore. A mini experiment like a very small jump from slick ground to slick ground teaches the walker volumes because that's what he's thinking about-walking comfortably and properly (the defenition of meditation is to turn something over and over in the mind until it's familiar from all angles).Next thing you know, he's this fully maneuverable 4 wheel drive footman and he's way ahead of everyone else in the team, who are slipping and sliding everywhere.The problem happens when he calls for backup- it's only 2 wheel drive.(I've seen guys jump off bridges with tarpaulins as parachutes-no I didn't and no I'm not planning to).You learn how to sleep standing up.You learn how to lean on your body armor whilst standing up and rest your torso.You modify EVERYTHING within arms reach, even logs and tree trunks.You hug your rifle like a teddy bear and smile at it proudly.You're always watching your buddies for signs of weariness and wish to high heaven that troublemakers would just get lost.Your mates wives are like sisters and if two mates' wives' can't connect, it's painful and saddening for all the guys.They feel that they have to apologize to each other. Your mates children are like yours, or even like a pert that grew from you.

Soldiers who get back home are the ones who feel like citizens and legal co-creators and co-contributors to their society. Personally, after being conscripted in the Greek army (every male must) I revel in shouting at the dude who throws his cigarette butt in the street-because I have the right to be his equal now, see? I can finally be a pillar in my community, even tho the argument is paltry.I wouldn't look my girl in the eyes and talk "big" until I was conscripted, and wouldn't propose until the letter came.Until then I was just 'trying' to ask her away from the rest of her suitors, later I just stepped in announced that I wanted to be one (tho in actuality we were already together I just felt wrong by her).

Furthermore, soldiers who get back home remember their most intimate relationships to be with people who 'know' them, inside out.One example of what the soldiers don't get is that they are now free to make snap decisions (each of us is always capable but not always free) and assume that their intimate loved ones 'feel' the decision immediately, which they don't. This causes HUGE confusion, because the wife remembers, for example, a Husband who avoids being violent because it's a distasteful experience with dragged out legal consequences, and a bad show to the kids-now he avoids being violent because he KNOWS how effective and total violence is.The issue is that so does the next guy (in a world where both were conscripts, such as the Autobot world),so he'll confront the 'next guy' immediately, and where he once would have stated 'how could you do this/I can't let you do this' there's now a kind of discussion in a secret language (sort of) that only the two get, to the effect of 'You know what I'm about to do, why did you even begin this problem/we've been through the same-all you had to do was call out and I'd have come with fifty other helpers'.
But the wife/intimate loved ones don't get the secret language, just the dragged out legal/civilian scenario, and proctastinate, so when the husband goes to the confrontation alone, he remembers the military environment more fondly and as something more welcoming and, in a twisted kind of way, a more realistic social system.

After that, he conserves energy everywhere: Gardening, cooking, sleeping, worrying, partying-everywhere.He continues to cook 'strategically healthy gourmet grunt food' which is funny, and avoided by normal people.

Thanks for letting me relive some of this, it was fun for me. I will now shutup. ;)
"Everyone has a hobby.Even people who say they don't still have one under another name.If we're sick,injured, we still go to it and get down to see how it is.If it needs something, we bring it,make sure the attention is perfect.It exercises our care and protection and gives us back philosophies.It's a living thing to us,and is the most perfect way to teach a young person how to be towards a living thing. It's something that should never be taken away."
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Re: Writing Help

Postby prowl123 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:32 pm

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It all depends on the perspective.

If it's told from the character's point of view, make him see things differently before. Make him see people trying to help him as people trying to control him. Make him forgetful. Make him have low self-esteen. Give him terrible thoughts.

If the story's told from the point of view of another character, have this one notice the degration. Make him/her notice all of the things I said above.

I hope this helped! :D
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Re: Writing Help

Postby prowl123 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:41 pm

Motto: "If your house burns down... it's my fault."
Weapon: Sniper Rifle
SlyTF1 wrote:I'm having problems with this too, while I'm writing my script to my 3 hr stopmotion. I'm writing and it sounds good while your doing it, but then you realize that their motives changed too fast!!! With no progression its just "damn...I'm here."


Sly, this has happened to me with every story I've eve written. The characters rush into things, and the story appears to make no sense. It's because it takes longer to write than it does to read, so if you think you're writing as fast as you're reading, your writing will actually be shorter than that.

That made no sense. Sorry.

When you're writing a story, you have to drag out conversations and motives until it's almost unbearable for you and you want to throw the piece against the wall and scream "I can't do it!" Drag it out. Make it seem endless. Give good, solid reasons behind the characters' motives, and before you even start shooting the stopmotion, make sure that the script lives up to your expectations.

3 hours? Holy crap! I would love to see that.
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