Topic: Exposition of stasis, not plot or characters

Stasis: The period of equilibrium or status quo that exists at the beginning of the story when all the forces are not yet in conflict.

Intrusion or Inciting Action: the single event in the story that sparks the main action. It is the thing that comes along and happens to upset the status quo or stasis

exposition, conflict, climax, resolution / denouement

Dialogue and plot are merely the means to get from here stasis to there resolution   Without purpose from getting from here to there, dialogue and plot are only white noise of things moving and making sounds.

Re: Exposition of stasis, not plot or characters

MacBeth Act I Scene I

When shall we three meet again?

Is stasis merely that the witches meet on some agreed upon schedule? I dare say that stasis is introduced in the second chapter rather than the beginning of the story.

3 (edited by Charles_F_Bell 2019-01-14 00:31:21)

Re: Exposition of stasis, not plot or characters

Kdot wrote:

MacBeth Act I Scene I

When shall we three meet again?

Is stasis merely that the witches meet on some agreed upon schedule? I dare say that stasis is introduced in the second chapter rather than the beginning of the story.

Indeed in Macbeth and Hamlet the story-telling of status quo ante is sprinkled through the plays, but this in a way tells us how not to write a novel.

I was going to make mention of this in a review of your Tia of the Stratosphere versus Legend One. I was able to glean more of stasis from one later (#30) chapter of Tia, not having read anything other than chapters 29 and 30,  than in 3  Chapters of a full episode of Legend.  I believe the word "episode" is crucial to understand that you are certainly writing Legend as if a movie or TV show and Tia not so much or not at all. To hold Shakespeare's Tragedies as "episodic" makes the point that plays, movies and tv are a form different than a novel, and it is a mistake to formulate a novel in the same fashion.  Suppose you sit to watch a movie and you see a black screen and dialogue starts up and runs for five minutes,  then flashes of scene and action, perhaps with dialogue, appear periodically for the next two hours still filled mostly with talking and blackness.  That is a novel with action and dialogue and no stasis.

Even though the play is older than the novel, Homeric story-telling is far older than Golden Age Greece plays. Homer clearly sets stasis in a mere 174 words (Butler translation), not about the Trojan War (which comes later) but about the heart of the story - which is to tell why Achilles is so upset, then later about the consequences of his pulling out of action, then later what brings him back in. 

In spite of the bromide show, don't tell in an age of TV & Movie, the art of storytelling for writing is telling.

Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles, first fell out with one another.

And which of the gods was it that set them on to quarrel? It was the son of Jove and Leto; for he was angry with the king and sent a pestilence upon the host to plague the people, because the son of Atreus had dishonoured Chryses his priest. Now Chryses had come to the ships of the Achaeans to free his daughter, and had brought with him a great ransom: moreover he bore in his hand the sceptre of Apollo wreathed with a suppliant's wreath and he besought the Achaeans, but most of all the two sons of Atreus, who were their chiefs.

Re: Exposition of stasis, not plot or characters

To hold Shakespeare's Tragedies as "episodic" makes the point that plays, movies and tv are a form different than a novel, and it is a mistake to formulate a novel in the same fashion.

I also have reservations about formulating a novel in a structure other than that of a novel. Won't stop me from massaging some words around the concept. Easily abandoned if it proves unworkable

Suppose you sit to watch a movie and you see a black screen and dialogue starts up and runs for five minutes,  then flashes of scene and action, perhaps with dialogue

Consider this StarCraft intro:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVbeoSPqRs4

Where is stasis here? I would hazard to suggest it is about three cinematics ago when Mengsk creates the Terran Empire. None of that matters here. It's just random violence and disjoint narration. Yet, the uninitiated viewer can spot the opposing sides. Make an educated guess who the protagonist might be.

Here, I question the traditional stasis-first concept. To what extent can a novel borrow from a video game? Can a novel launch with  a "Here's Bob and he's fighting for his life"? Can we infer the inciting incident from this mere statement? Certainly not - we merely know there was one and presume it will be related to us at some point.

Regarding Legend, I believe the stasis is not presented until the third episode. That's a rather long wait for such a complex world.

Re: Exposition of stasis, not plot or characters

A note regarding the video in case you've not played the game (also huge spoilers): The protagonists are the aliens - the defending Terrans are working for the evil Emperor Mengsk. In a sense, the video asserts a false stasis that the ensuing story will challenge.

6 (edited by Charles_F_Bell 2019-01-18 10:10:01)

Re: Exposition of stasis, not plot or characters

Kdot wrote:

To hold Shakespeare's Tragedies as "episodic" makes the point that plays, movies and tv are a form different than a novel, and it is a mistake to formulate a novel in the same fashion.

I also have reservations about formulating a novel in a structure other than that of a novel. Won't stop me from massaging some words around the concept. Easily abandoned if it proves unworkable

Suppose you sit to watch a movie and you see a black screen and dialogue starts up and runs for five minutes,  then flashes of scene and action, perhaps with dialogue


Consider this StarCraft intro:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVbeoSPqRs4

Where is stasis here? I would hazard to suggest it is about three cinematics ago when Mengsk creates the Terran Empire. None of that matters here. It's just random violence and disjoint narration. Yet, the uninitiated viewer can spot the opposing sides. Make an educated guess who the protagonist might be.

The fact the producers found it necessary to present some statement of stasis through dubbing in voice-over in a medium where it should not be necessary for an audience that does not favor narration, or certainly a narration that is inartfully and inaudibly voiced (Anthony Hopkins must have been unavailable) demonstrates the strength of the novel, as it ought to be, to build and present a universe by the written word. The novel concept for the English language,  invented through the mid-18th century Tristram Shandy, has had value through its power of the written word which I think should be preserved rather than replaced by these things so eminently presented here on TNBW, the  inartful proto-movies, -game, -tv scripts.

Here, I question the traditional stasis-first concept. To what extent can a novel borrow from a video game? Can a novel launch with  a "Here's Bob and he's fighting for his life"? Can we infer the inciting incident from this mere statement? Certainly not - we merely know there was one and presume it will be related to us at some point.

Presentation of stasis is not through a fixed manner, only that something of that be presented to the reader at a time before change of stasis. It can be a misdirection, as I have done in Remembrances and Reconciliation.

Regarding Legend, I believe the stasis is not presented until the third episode. That's a rather long wait for such a complex world.

Yes.  In a manner of sci-fi/fantasy style I wrote a chapter in Remembrance and Reconciliation (Pristine Universe) depicting a kind of insanity that must have had stasis before the reader enters it. It does in the entirety of what happens before it. There can be multiple statements of stasis in a novel. But when I took that chapter and converted it to a short story with an altered stasis (minimal) it does not really work as a self-contained story.

7 (edited by Charles_F_Bell 2019-01-15 11:42:24)

Re: Exposition of stasis, not plot or characters

Charles_F_Bell wrote:

  In a manner of sci-fi/fantasy style I wrote a chapter in Remembrance and Reconciliation (Pristine Universe) depicting a kind of insanity that must have had stasis before the reader enters it. It does in the entirety of what happens before it. There can be multiple statements of stasis in a novel. But when I took that chapter and converted it to a short story with an altered stasis (minimal) it does not really work as a self-contained story.

I thought it amusing when you found fault in review of Pristine Universe with the production quality of the audio version of a narrative segment I concocted using MS-Word synth voices.  Anthony Hopkins was unavailable then, too.