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  #1    
Old July 26th, 2013, 12:31 PM
matt0044
 
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I've been watching Transformers G1. I'm not a fan but they're a good watch. I particularly notice how the story in each episode moves so damn fast to the point of it being rushed. The Legend of Korra shows this trait but I feels that it's better handled and comes of as "not wasting time" rather than "rushing." Compare that to the likes of Yu Gi Oh that drag the Duels out with sidelines chitchat and exposition on the cards (necessary, perhaps but the flow is often mangled because of it). Even the Pokemon Anime falls into this trap.

It made me wonder how to properly pace a story so it doesn't seem like you're rushing and so it doesn't seem like you're meandering too much. Like if you finish a story's outline, how would you trim the fat (so to speak) and know when enough is enough for sure? I'd hate to fall into these traps.

So, your thoughts? Examples perhaps?

(P.S I would appreciate if you'd leave your thoughts on Transformers, Korra, etc out of this discussion. I don't want things to turn messy if you'd be so kind. Pretty please.)
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  #2    
Old July 26th, 2013, 01:09 PM
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For those shows, it's usually all about what the network gives you to work with.

Sometimes, they only give you about 13 episodes and you have to pack all of the elaborate storyline into that small timeframe (like K or Sword Art Online). Sometimes, they tell you to stretch a relatively small series into a hundred episodes or so (like Yu-Gi-Oh or DBZ). Sometimes, it's not the creator's pacing, but rather the network's demands.

With that said, the best way to handle pacing is a tough one. You see, you can go by many methods.

One method is something I call the day-by-day method. Imagine how the story would go day-by-day. For example: You have a war going on. On the first day, you have the initial attack which instigated the war. The second day, you'd have the official declaration of war. The third day, you have the first strike. And so on and so on.

What you do next is find the first most climatic point in that arc (in this case, the declaration of war, since the instigation was sudden) and you build the story up to that point. Accounting the days involved, you'd know if you were moving too fast by how many days have passed. This can also be done week-by-week if your story is long-stretched. Of course, the downfall to this method is that it's a bit difficult to pull off for those who haven't managed their major events by days.

Another method is the roleplay method. Imagine yourself in the situation. How fast does things move for you? That's the pacing that you want. If you can imagine yourself being in that war, think about how long that battle drags out. It's only been minutes, but it feels like hours. Everyone is worried for their lives, that adrenaline causes you to process things faster, thus slowing time down. Of course, the problem with this method is the difficulty of imagining something you never did yourself. Not a big deal if you've watched shows/movies or read books on the subject.

Both methods are fairly effective and only two in a list of possibilities. Pacing is something that even some professional writers can't always capitalize on, so it's a growing study.
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  #3    
Old July 26th, 2013, 01:14 PM
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To keep things from meandering, I'd suggest to include only what is strictly necessary. You don't need fluff to make any story longer, because that will only drench the effect and make things boring. Try to keep it moving from one event to the next, and allow the events to hold and fall depending on how they need to be handled.

On the other side of the boat, you don't want to cut out anything that would further develop any characters. A good story is one driven by the characters, you just don't need to make them all give their own input on things. Let the situation enact itself, put a little space between situations to give a breather and allow the characters to even talk about it. It's no good to keep pressing event after event after event because then it just becomes a little ridiculous, and people will forget the things that are happening amid the situations.

In short, keep the important stuff in, but don't let it all happen at once.
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Old July 26th, 2013, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thergox View Post
To keep things from meandering, I'd suggest to include only what is strictly necessary. You don't need fluff to make any story longer, because that will only drench the effect and make things boring. Try to keep it moving from one event to the next, and allow the events to hold and fall depending on how they need to be handled.

On the other side of the boat, you don't want to cut out anything that would further develop any characters. A good story is one driven by the characters, you just don't need to make them all give their own input on things. Let the situation enact itself, put a little space between situations to give a breather and allow the characters to even talk about it. It's no good to keep pressing event after event after event because then it just becomes a little ridiculous, and people will forget the things that are happening amid the situations.

In short, keep the important stuff in, but don't let it all happen at once.
I would argue that the best way to prevent it all from happening is by including said fluff that you mentioned.

As long as the scenes are well-placed and related to the characters in the story, it brings it's own sense of character development. And although it's not necessarily going to be related to the story, it can build an audience's connection to characters while slowing up the pace (ex. Maes Hughes in FMA Brotherhood).
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Old July 27th, 2013, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by dudebot View Post
I would argue that the best way to prevent it all from happening is by including said fluff that you mentioned.

As long as the scenes are well-placed and related to the characters in the story, it brings it's own sense of character development. And although it's not necessarily going to be related to the story, it can build an audience's connection to characters while slowing up the pace (ex. Maes Hughes in FMA Brotherhood).
In that case, I wouldn't call it fluff. I said that things that would bring out the characters' personality should be things to leave in, as good stories are character driven. I think fluff would be more like unnecessary things like bumps on the wall or the chimp and the monkey -- unless the character ends up examining or reacting to these things, then it isn't quite fluff anymore.

The thing about fluff is that you shouldn't have a lot of it. It's okay to have some, for, as you say, it slows down the pace. But people also want relevant information, which doesn't always need to come lightning fast, but they don't want it at a snail's pace, either. Used wrongly, it can even break tension, and thus kill a lot of good things in the story. True, I could have used better ways to explain whatever it was I was explaining, but that was what came out in the end.

I've never seen FMA Brotherhood >_< In fact, I've barely seen the original. I finished the fifth episode and never got farther than that, so I'm sorry to say I have no idea what you are talking about.
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  #6    
Old July 27th, 2013, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Thergox View Post
The thing about fluff is that you shouldn't have a lot of it. It's okay to have some, for, as you say, it slows down the pace. But people also want relevant information, which doesn't always need to come lightning fast, but they don't want it at a snail's pace, either. Used wrongly, it can even break tension, and thus kill a lot of good things in the story. True, I could have used better ways to explain whatever it was I was explaining, but that was what came out in the end.
A good example of this that I've seen in the Pokemon fandom is the season Johto League Championships for the anime. It was had a lot of filler episodes, where the heroes met character-of-the-day with Pokemon-of-the-day. Potd had a problem that the heroes helped Cotd solve by Team Rocket attacking and Potd used an attack, got some confidence, and nothing of importance happened.

Things like that are what you want to avoid in your own story. If you need to slow down the story's pace with filler, make sure that something happens in it. That's pretty much how I make sure there's no fluff in my fics. I read over scenes and ask if they add any importance to the overall plot/character development.

Quote:
Sometimes, they only give you about 13 episodes and you have to pack all of the elaborate storyline into that small timeframe (like K or Sword Art Online). Sometimes, they tell you to stretch a relatively small series into a hundred episodes or so (like Yu-Gi-Oh or DBZ). Sometimes, it's not the creator's pacing, but rather the network's demands.
This is true for shows. For instance, the first season of Digimon was originally going to be thirteen episodes. It was extended to fifty because the network wanted more episodes, so the writers had to continue on the story.
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  #7    
Old August 9th, 2013, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Astinus View Post
This is true for shows. For instance, the first season of Digimon was originally going to be thirteen episodes. It was extended to fifty because the network wanted more episodes, so the writers had to continue on the story.
I heard that was just a rumor of sorts.
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Old August 9th, 2013, 04:23 PM
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Looking it up, it is actually just a very persistent rumor. Thanks for making me look up the truth, and now I'll know for next time.

Still, there is executive meddling in Digimon that hurt its story, particularly in the second season. (Poor Daisuke.) That's a topic for a different thread, though.
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 10:27 AM
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Things in the story have to escalate at a reasonable pace. You have to prepare the writers for what's coming, and you can't do that with chit chat and character development, otherwise sudden development in the story might be baffling and have a negative effect on readers.

It might be different for movies, anime or comics. They have a certain time limit (the episodes have to end sometime) they must follow and squeeze their story in it, that's why sometimes they seem rushed. Perhaps that happens because of scenes such as interaction or other elements that aim to hit sentimental spots, that have to be removed from the script as just 'fat', to fit the time limit. Good authors are able to choose this 'fat' and remove it, leaving only the muscle. Bad authors remove so much of that 'fat' that in the end, the story feels rushed, when it was otherwise good. This happens in books as well.

Of course, there are those who like this type of fast plot which throws you right into action. I'm not a fan, personally. If I was to make a story of world saviors and with a grand plot to go with it, I wouldn't squeeze it in minutes, nor in 10 pages.
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