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What Is Reality?

January 9th, 2009

Writing reality means not denying the existence of something, even if you don’t necessarily discuss it at all. Batman The Animated Series and My Little Pony are both kids cartoons. But what makes Batman better than My Little Pony? It doesn’t deny the fact that people can be cruel and evil (like, Hitler Evil, not cake-stealing, Super Friends Lex Luther evil), or that stuff like drugs, guns, sex, religion and death exist. Maybe an entire episode isn’t spent focusing on pointing out that those kinds of things exist, but the show doesn’t go out of its way to say it doesn’t exist either. My Little Pony doesn’t have that; in that universe death doesn’t exist, neither do guns or hatred or drugs or… well, reality. That in of itself makes it a badly written (kids) show relative to Batman The Animated Series.

It isn’t limited to kids cartoons either. Fantasy and sci-fi stories can be great pieces of fiction, in spite of its fantastical form, simply if it reflects reality properly. Lord knows how many Star Trek episodes sci-fi stories were spent criticizing some of the backwards social norms of the 1960’s their times. Good writing means sharing observations about reality using the Quaagars as the pawns. Bad writing means… telling a story about the Quaagars; focusing on the Quaagars for its own sake denies reality outright.

Webcomics are just as vulnerable to this as much as anything else. So you have a gaming comic and you make jokes/stories about video games and stuff. A great gaming comic is one that doesn’t deny reality, to the point where its jokes/stories, even if they’re video game related, are ones that can be understood by anyone. And by that I mean, the joke/story is still understood when the video game references are switched out with just about anything else. You begin to deny reality when you start writing gaming jokes/stories that can only be understood by gamers; good writing takes the word “reality” and paints it in whatever color you wish, while bad writing is about the paint itself. Ooooh how’s THAT for Zen like?

So I guess the moral is…. don’t deny reality. You don’t really have to say something exists outright, but just don’t deny the fact that it exists. Write while taking into account all sorts of things–morality, addiction, hatred… as with one less piece of reality that doesn’t exist in your world, you’re taking one step after another from writing a good story.

2 Responses to “What Is Reality?”

  1. Tom sezzzzz:

    The reality appears to be that regular updates remain on hold…

  2. mayor of moose river sezzzzz:

    TOM: Yeah I know… I’m sorry… I’m gonna try getting back on that horse. I actually have been fighting a cold lately… too many people have been sick around me. I should be over it soon.

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Moose River
by Philippe Van Lieu
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