-Z- (Z@Gundam.Com)
Sat, 29 Jan 2000 14:20:09 -0800


At 08:07 1/29/2000 -0800, you wrote:

>question: how much repetition of story is enough
>before the formula goes stale? how much repetition of
>saga is good and how much before it becomes "the same
>old same old"?

It's not repetition per se that kills a idea, because there are really only
three story types, all geared around conflict and resolution: Man Vs Man,
Man Vs Nature and Man Vs Himself.

But the answer to your question centers around one word: formula.

A story becomes stale the moment it becomes a formula.

Formula should not be confused with format, which is the collection of
elements that define a series of stories.

Here's a format with which you're all familiar:

"The USS Enterprise visits different planets and encounters new ways of
doing things, many of which conflict with the beliefs of its crew, who are
sworn not to interfere by the Prime Directive."

Here's a formula:

"Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to a planet and get get cut off from the
ship, which is now in danger of being destroyed. Kirk must find a way to
save the ship without violating the Prime Directive."

It's within the purview of a series format to set up the same sort of
conflict as existed between Amuro and Char in each installment. It's
formulaic to have characters who are little more than copies of Amuro and Char.

>i ask that question because on one hand, you have fans
>who want something new. on the other hand, you have
>oldschoolers who grumble whenever something is
>changed.
>make up your minds, will ya? :)

As per a previous discussion, this is the bane of all writers. If you give
them more of the same, you're derided as "same-old, same-old"; if you given
them something new, you're derided for being "untrue to the original"....

-Z-

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