Abernathy - Garland Etc. Genealogy

Monday, February 24, 2020

Storium Basics: Narration Basics

One last article of "Storium Basics," here - this series has been focused on the player side, but I would be remiss in not addressing narration at least somewhat.

It's hard to spell out absolute basics for narration, and hard to really learn it without diving in and doing some narration. Unfortunately, there haven't really been good ways to get a beginner narrator game going the way we can for beginner players. But here, I'm going to try to give at least a general overview, and link to some articles that can develop things further. I highly encourage going through at least some of the articles I link to below, as there's just no way to adequately explore narration in one or more "basics" articles.

In Storium, a narrator is the person who is in charge of setting up the story, creating scenes, defining the story's focus, and in general guiding the story along. It is the narrator who creates the game's starting concept and advertises it to players, who selects the characters who will enter the story, and who creates the scenes and their challenges and outcomes to give players writing cues and situations to address.

Over the course of the game, the bulk of a narrator's time is going to be spent setting up scenes, and setting up challenges. Storium makes this pretty straightforward technically - it only takes a few clicks to set up a scene and start creating a challenge - but philosophically, it can be complex.

While scenes can be set up without challenges, the bulk of them in your average Storium game are going to focus on one or more challenges, and that's honestly how I encourage beginning narrators to think through their scenes: Focus on what challenges the scene is going to be about, and then work on the actual scene text. It may not work for everyone, but for me, I found starting out that starting with the mechanics and moving to the story text made my story text more focused.

So, let's start out with challenges.

I've always had a bit of a problem with that term: "Challenge." It puts Storium narrators in the mindset that these are things that are meant to "challenge" the players, in some sort of tactical sense. They aren't.

A challenge, in Storium, is simply a focal part of the story - a situation which can turn one way or another, and lead the story in different directions. One of those directions (the Strong outcome) feels better for the main characters or for the overall tale, and one (the Weak outcome) feels worse. There's nothing tactical about it. It's a writing cue.

When you set a challenge out, what you're saying is "this is the situation I want you to write about for this scene," or "this is the focus of this scene." Think about things in that mindset. You aren't trying to challenge the players - you're setting up something for their characters to deal with, but as far as the players go, you're just giving them something to write about.

A challenge can be one of two types: a Character, or an Obstacle. Mechanically, these work identically, and there's not much of a difference that I've found about them philosophically. I use the two types more to just keep things sorted than anything else. Conceptually, a character challenge is one that focuses on dealing with a specific character (or sometimes specific group), whether that be by communication or by combat or anything else. An obstacle challenge is one that focuses on other things that can get in the player characters' way or complicate the story, whether that be ancient artifacts, natural disasters, crumbling hallways, dangerous river crossings, corrupted magical energies, messy crime scenes, or anything else. Choosing the type of challenge you're making is more something to keep things sorted as you get a lot of cards, in case you want to pull out a challenge again later, and to highlight to players what the focus of a challenge is.

When you create a challenge, you're going to have to describe it. The challenge description will show up on the challenge card when players click on it in game. The purpose of the description is to give a basic overview of the challenge and help players understand its focus. If it is a character challenge, what is that character doing now, or what do they want now? How does the scene revolve around that? If is is an obstacle, what are its characteristics and how is it in the way? How does the scene revolve around that?

Once you've come up with a description (and, optionally, added a picture), you "Play" the challenge. This puts the challenge into the game, and brings up a new window where you'll set three things: points, strong outcome, and weak outcome. Let's take these in order.

The "challenge points" represent the number of cards which will need to be played on the challenge in order to complete it. One card equals one point, and a challenge can have anywhere from 1 to 9 points on it. So, if you set up a challenge with 4 points on it, the players will have to play 4 cards to complete it. This could come in various combinations - maybe 4 players each play 1 card, maybe 1 player plays 3 and another plays 1, maybe 2 players each play 2. What matters is that at the end, they've played 4 cards.

How do you determine how many points to put on a challenge? I think of two things.

First: the level of focus I want this situation to have. The more points a challenge has, the more moves it is likely to involve. If I set a challenge with a single point on it, no matter what, it will take only a single card to complete - which likely means it will be around for one move. If I set a challenge with three points, under default settings a player could complete it in one move, but it'd be a complex, multi-card move...and more than likely, it's instead going to be played across at least a couple different moves. If I set it as 4 points, under default settings, I'm guaranteeing that multiple moves will happen as no player can play that many cards in one move. And at 9? I've just defined it as a major, perhaps singular focus for the entire scene, a huge situation that will take many moves to get through and let players play a lot of their cards and explore a lot of elements of their characters.

The more points, then, the more focus the challenge receives in the story. If a challenge is important, if it provides a lot of opportunity for drama and interesting writing cues, and if the situation feels complex and fun to write about, add more points.

Second: the number of players I hope to see involved. I mentioned this a bit above, but by default, a player can play only 3 cards in a single move. What that means is that you, as narrator, can encourage challenges to involve more than one player - you just have to set the points at or above the upper limit of what a player can play. If you set a challenge at 1 or 2 points, you may end up with only one player playing it. If you set a challenge at 3 points, you're probably going to end up with more than one player playing on it - players, as they get more experienced, tend not to want to blow all their plays on one move. If you set a challenge at 4 points, you're guaranteeing  that more than one player will play on it, because one player can only play 3 cards. And if you set a challenge at, say, 7 points? Now you need three players to complete it. All by default card settings, of course.

The more points you put on a challenge, the more players will play on it - so, if things feel like they should take more group involvement to complete, or feel like good opportunities for character interaction among the heroes, put more points on them.

Be aware, though, that you have a point limit: You cannot put more points on challenges in a scene than the number of cards your players can play in that scene (because, after all, we want challenges to be completed). So if, say, you have 4 players who can each play 3 cards, you will have a point limit of 12 for that scene. If you put down a challenge with 9 points, that means you only have 3 points left for any other challenges you want to do in a scene.

Except...in my experience, it's actually not a good idea to use all of your points. If you do that, and one player is away or unable to play for a bit, you get yourself into situations where challenges can't be completed and you have to work around it, which can be detrimental to the game. So, my personal rule is to hold back one player's worth of points and not use it. At a basic level, then, if I have 4 players who can play 3 cards each, I hold back 3 points that I won't use: So instead of thinking of my limit as 12, I think of it as 9. So if I spend 9 points on a single challenge, then, I won't use those remaining 3 points that scene.

Now, once players have completed a challenge, they get to write the ending...and for that, they look to the appropriate outcome.

The outcomes, then, are the potential endings for the challenge. There are lots of different ways narrators have found to write outcomes, and I'm not going to delve too deeply here - suffice to say that you will find many of those in the links below - but let's look at the basics of them, in any case.

Your outcomes are the challenge's potential endings, and they come in two flavors on the challenge card: Strong and Weak. In both cases, what you're writing is a quick look at how the challenge ends...an overview of the ending, with room for the player to make it fit his character's actions and explore the specifics on his own.

You don't want to spell out every little detail here - you just want to give the players what needs to be in the story for that ending, or how the situation goes more in general. You want to lay out what's important, what needs to be specified, and let them play with the rest.

Now, as I mentioned, there's two different outcome types you'll be writing here: Strong and Weak. In general, the difference is simple: Strong is better for the player characters and the story situation than Weak.

Storium suggests that in general you use the following interpretation:
  • Strong outcomes mean that things worked out well for the players.
  • Weak outcomes mean that the situation was overcome but at a cost or with an interesting complication.
I agree.

This doesn't have to be what you do all the time, but it's a good philosophy to follow. Stories are most interesting when they keep moving forward, and they keep moving forward if, generally, the heroes are finding their way through situations. So, for Strong outcomes, I tend to write up outcome text that suggests an outright success for the heroes. Strong outcomes are pretty easy to understand how to write, honestly - I think we all get "the heroes succeed," right? The main thing to worry about for Strong outcomes is making sure to give them the proper amount of success - if it feels like something should be more involved and not fully resolved, that's fine - stories are full of really complex situations that can be resolved only in part. Just make sure your outcome text suggests that.

Weak outcomes can be more difficult to understand. For Weak outcomes, I tend to write outcome texts that still show the situation ending up resolved in their favor in some way, but with complications or costs, or that show the situation partially resolved in their favor but partially not.

This keeps the story moving forward, but perhaps even more importantly, it makes Weak outcomes often interesting for players - things they will intentionally decide to play towards at times. This is precisely what you want. You want your players to sometimes get Strong outcomes, and sometimes get Weak outcomes, and to be engaged with the story either way. An outright failure can be interesting, but more commonly, it serves as a brick wall that stops the story. If you outright fail to find evidence, well...where does the story go? But if you find the evidence just as the villain's big, burly henchman comes in to try to destroy it, and now you have to run away from him, well, that just added a new twist to the tale. Primarily use complications, costs, and partial successes, and you'll find that not only will the story move more smoothly, but the players will be interested in seeing the Weak outcomes come up.

The best experiences I've had in Storium, as a narrator, have been when I've played a challenge card into the game and players have looked at it and said, "Oh, wow - I hope this goes Weak!" I love that.

This is actually a technique that I've found in a lot of recent tabletop games. Fate uses it, and so does 13th Age, for two. You can find it under various names - Success at a Cost, Success with Complications, Fail Forward - but in all cases, the idea is that if the rolls don't go well for the players, the story should still move forward. In Storium, things are a little different - the players aren't depending on dice rolls or luck of any kind, and they may outright choose the Weak outcome - but the principle is similar: Keep the story moving forward, and keep things interesting for the players.

Again, this doesn't have to be your theme all the time. You can do a Weak outcome that's an outright failure on the part of the characters (note: the characters, not the players - never think of a Weak outcome as a failure on the part of the players, and never think of it as a punishment for them), and you can even do a Strong outcome that is a failure on the part of the characters, but a less painful one than the Weak. Those can and have worked for me. But by and large, stick to the philosophy above, and you'll have an easier time.

Now, there is one more outcome type: Uncertain. This comes up when the challenges comes out neutral, with equal numbers of Strength and Weakness cards played on it (or none of those, just neutral cards). When the Uncertain outcome comes up, it is your job to write an ending for the challenge, rather than the players'. This is easiest if you spend a little time thinking about things before the challenge starts, and leave yourself a little room "between" the Strong and Weak outcomes that you can use for your Uncertain, but that isn't the only way you can do them. Uncertain outcomes are a great chance to put in twists or send things a little sideways. For the most basic level, though...try to write something that feels "between" the Strong and Weak outcomes. You can get more advanced with these later and have more fun with them (see my article on Uncertain Outcomes for more on that!).

Now, it bears mentioning that you can have more than one challenge in a scene - either by playing more than one challenge to the game at once, or by playing a new challenge to the game as a continuation after the first challenge is resolved. The point limit I described above applies, but otherwise, it's up to you how you want to handle it. Just be careful: It's important not to have challenges that clash - if one outcome could prevent another simultaneous challenge from being resolved, they probably shouldn't be out there at the same time. And you don't want to undo the results of an earlier challenge, generally - so don't play a follow-up challenge whose outcomes will undo the outcome the players just got.

Once you've set up the challenges, then, it's time to write the scene's actual text. When you're doing that, use the challenges as your guide. What's going on? What's important? Those are the things you want to call out in the scene text. The challenge descriptions are the basics, but here is where you get to dress things up a little bit and make it actually exciting. If you've got a challenge about a charging army, for instance, you don't just write "the army charges" as your scene text. Delve into how it looks. How it sounds. How the army is equipped. How the player characters' allies, if any, are reacting.

What you're doing isn't just mechanically kicking things off, though that's part of it. What you're doing is setting the scene and giving the players things to use. This matters. Setting the scene with the enemy army charging, talking about how they're heavily armored and well-equipped, and how the players' allies look like they're about to break and run, is very different than if you describe the charge as that of a massive but untrained and poorly equipped rabble, and the players' allies as confident and heavily armored themselves. In the former, players are going to write moves about finding ways to blunt the dangerous charge or work around it and encouraging their side. In the latter, players are going to write about knocking back the charge and working with their confident allies. The tone of the challenge will be very different.

Your outcomes can affect this too, of course - I talk about this on the player side, but outcomes both describe the ending and set a range of things that can happen during the challenge - but your scene text is going to be a much larger impact.

Aside from just setting the tone, though, as I said...you're giving players things to use. Cues. A lot of narration is setting up cues. It's what you do in the challenge description, it's what you do in the outcomes, and it's what you do in the scene text. You leave openings for players to fill in the blanks. You give details that they can use to expand their storytelling. You lay the groundwork, the foundation, that they will build upon to complete the story of the challenge.

That's the basics of narration in a nutshell. Look...there's more, a lot more, but narration, at heart, is doing the above...over, and over, until the game is complete. A lot of the rest is style - there are a lot of different narration styles, a lot of different priorities, and a lot of different ways a narrator can make Storium work for them. I go into those a lot in the articles below.

Above all, remember: You are narrating to help the players draw out a story. It isn't your story...it's yours and the players'. Narrate to help them write. Narrate to make things interesting for them. Your job isn't to challenge them as players. Your job is to help them as writers. Have fun, be a fan of them, enjoy what they write, and look for ways to help them bring out the themes of their characters.

For more on narration, you can see the "Storium Narration" category overall, but here are some articles I particularly recommend:

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Good Outcome

What's going on everyone!?


I played some more ZIMP today on and off but figured I would play something different for this post..lol.

Today for the #2019gameaday challenge I played a game of Star Realms. Surprisingly I actually won! And by a pretty good margin! 

As always, thank you for reading and don't forget to stop and smell the meeples!  :)

-Tim

Friday, February 21, 2020

PUBG Mobile Erangel Map Is Getting A Redesign

About Erangel map:


Erangel map is one of the four playable maps in PUBG. According to a research, more than 80% of PUBG players love Erangel map. This may be due to the existence of high loot, good weapons, tall grass, good hiding locations etc. Erangel map has also a sad untold story.

Reasons behind the update:



Recently, PUBG Corp announced an update regarding Erangel map. This is because many PUBG mobile players have complained to the official PUBG support regarding Erangel map. According to them, they have experienced the following problems:

1.
 The increase of bugs and glitches in Erangel map.

2. The increase of lag while playing PUBG.


3
. The sudden crashing of the game while playing in Erangel map.

4.
 Famous loot locations like Georgopol, Sosnovka military base etc. have very few loots now. 

Understanding the problems of PUBG players, PUBG developers have taken a big decision. They decided that Erangel map will be redesigned to improve such errors. They are working on the development of Erangel map. They added that this could take a few months time to finish. 

Since loot locations are lacking loot so they assured that the new updated Erangel map will have proper loot locations. They mentioned that some parts of the Erangel map may be changed to make it more interesting for players. 

The PUBG team have also decided to work on bugs and glitches and lagging of servers and to improve gameplay.

Which parts will be updated?


An image went viral through a Reddit post when a user posted it claiming that the red dots in the image will be updated in Erangel map. The image is given below:

PUBG mobile erangel map update
Source: Imgur                       Erangel map update locations


The PUBG team responded to the image saying" As some of you inferred from recent leaks of a map image, we are working on new ways to balance loot and otherwise improve our maps, Erangel being the first. The addition of compounds is just one way we're testing internally, but is certainly not the ONLY way."

They later added that" Keep in mind that leaked images are usually just a snapshot in time and rarely represent the entire plane or scope of what's being worked on."

The above words said by PUBG Corp. may suggest that after the Erangel map update, the other maps may be redesigned too.

Release date:


As mentioned above, this update of Erangel map will take a few months time for PUBG developers to finish. The PUBG team has not officially announced any date.

But we expect to get this update after 0.11.5 update i.e  0.12.0 or  0.12.5  update version.

Are you excited about this Erangel map update? What are your thoughts about this update and what update you want? We are curious to know in the comments section below!


Thursday, February 20, 2020

PES Society Affiliates To MSSA

PES Society caters for all esports athletes interested in competing in the Pro Evolution Soccer game title.
Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA), the world's oldest national federation for esports, has just accepted yet another club into membership.

PES Society, based in Cape Town, and specialising in the Pro Evolution Soccer game title by Konami, has been welcomed into the ranks of member clubs. With the introduction of PES 2020 into International Esports Federation's 11th World Championships in Seoul, there is even a greater interest in the game title than before.

According to Sahil Ebrahim, "PES Society is a community of avid eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer players from Cape Town, South Africa with a passion for the game not matched anywhere across the globe.


PES Society has a handful of committed individuals who ensure that regular leagues and monthly tournaments take place and keep the ball rolling in the quest to put Pro Evolution Soccer at the top of the football gaming empire."

PES Society may be contacted on:

Email: info@pessociety.co.za
Web: www.pessociety.co.za
Facebook: fb.com/thepessociety

MSSA is confident that PES Society will have a long and fruitful association.

Also read:

Download Flash Mod For Gta Sandeas














to see the control go to discription

                                                                   discrription

to activate the flash press=TABE+QorE
to run faste press=w+x+space
to activate more contron see
F5: Toggle On/Off Power Level Control
F6: Show power bar
F7: Toggle on/off for Super Speed (press + to increase speed and - for decrease)
F8: Super Jump (no need to)
press Y or N: toggle on/off Walk on water
Tab: bullet time
To do wall-run: press W + Jump to the wall and hold
You can hold X:  to run faster without Super Speed ability (F7

F9:Flying Jump
F10 Fly
F11 Super Strength
F12 Heatvision
F4 to turn ON/OFF


               NOTICE: Please try this mod on clean GTA SA (no mod installed before)



plese first download win rar software (you coud not download winrar software your mod is not                                                                                                                                                            (working)
                                             




                                                                     get winrar from here




mod password is fulla1
click here to download flash mod= here







                                                                 




























Alumni Sian Knight Begins Job With Fat Kraken Studios.

Congratulations to our Alumni, Siân Knight for landing a job as an environment artist with Fat Kraken Studios!

Sian said,
'I am absolutely pleased Alumni Sian Knight begins job with Fat Kraken Studios and honoured to announce that I will be working as an Environment Artist at Fat Kraken Studios, who are working alongside Oddworld Inhabitants to create their latest upcoming title - Oddworld: SoulStorm!! 😱
I would like to thank all of the people who have given me opportunities along the way ever since the start of this year - I've almost given up several times... but you've gotta' be vigilant! Never give up!'

That's great advice.

Go Girl!



























Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Against Book Purism


DISCLAIMER:
Copyrighted material that may appear on this blog is for the usage of further commentary, criticism, or teaching within the standards of "fair use" in Section 107 of the Copyright Act. All video, music, text, or images shown, all belong to their respective creators or companies. I own nothing so…PLEASE DON'T SUE ME!!! (If you own any of the copyrighted material on this blog and oppose its presence, please be civil and contact me at sansuarobi@hotmail.com or sansuthecat@yahoo.com, the content will be removed ASAP).




Picture by Andy Mabbett







I have recently started watching the original anime adaptation of the manga Fullmetal Alchemist. I am enjoying it a great deal, but when sharing my enthusiasm with certain people, they are always sure to point out that it is inferior to the source material. In fact, I have been dissuaded from the anime on the basis that I should read the manga instead, or at least, that I should read it first. I even knew someone who wouldn't watch the anime of Neon Genesis Evangelion for similar reasons.


I recall similar cries of foul-up leveled against the Harry Potter films for not including Peeves the Poltergeist or Arthur Weasley's flamboyant entrance through the Dursley's chimney. Even writer Stephen King famously despises Stanley Kubrick's film of his novel The Shining because it's, "Cold. I'm not a cold guy. I think one of the things people relate to in my books is this warmth, there's a reaching out and saying to the reader, 'I want you to be a part of this.' With Kubrick's The Shining I felt that it was very cold, very 'We're looking at these people, but they're like ants in an anthill, aren't they doing interesting things, these little insects.'" (Gompertz, BBC)

I can't imagine the numbers of people who despise the Hunger Games for its lack of avoxes, Lord of the Rings for its lack of Tom Bombadill, or Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea for its addition of seal. Apparently, the Bible isn't the only holy text. There's this infectious idea among some that literature must be adapted as true to the text as humanly possible, and even the slightest divergence is a cause for criticism. I call this idea book purism and it can damage one's perception of an otherwise excellent film or television show. 

To deconstruct book purism, we must first understand what an adaptation is. One definition of the word adaptation, according to my Webster's Dictionary, is,

"3. b. a form or structure modified to fit a changed environment" (10)

So, based on this definition, fundamentally, making a visual adaptation that is completely true to the text is impossible. The literary and the visual exist in two very different worlds. One world unfolds in your mind, while the other is presented before you. One medium describes the scenery in a paragraph or a panel, while the other can show it in an establishing shot. So clearly, things change when your story is taken from one world into the next. Understandably, parts of a text will be lost during the transfer, but also, a film could bring dimensions to the story that it otherwise may not have had. I believe that a visual work and a literary work should live as independent entities, each one to be judged on their own merits. Their relationship should be like that between a parent and a child. Yes, the child and the parent are related, but both can live differently. So when Christopher Tolkien, son of Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien, said in an interview for Le Monde that, "They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15-25," he, being very close to author of the novels, tends to judge the films more by their differences to the book, as opposed to judging the films in their own right. I think that his critique, however, is more appropriate for the Hobbit films.


Now when I say book purism I mean a sort of blind worship to the text. So much so that any change, regardless if it improves the visual text or no, is inherently wrong. It is the belief that the book is always better than the film or show. This is not to say that there aren't ideas in the text that wouldn't make the film or show better, or that authors shouldn't care about how their works are represented in other mediums. We have to balance respecting the intent of the creator, while recognizing the variations of the art forms.

First off, the elitist idea that books are inherently better than films and television in every case. Now, being a writer, and something of a reader myself, I have a deep respect for the literary form. In fact, I would argue that reading is an essential activity to learning about human nature and the world around us. Much of our knowledge and much of the world's best storytelling was put down into books. Indeed, books, in their forms, be it novels, poetry, plays, or graphic novels, have very much enriched my life. However, man need not experience art through the text alone. I believe that movies are also very enriching, and to a degree, essential. 

In an interview for the Archive of American Television, Roger Ebert said on films, "They affect the way people think and feel and behave and they can be both a good influence on society and a negative influence." The same could be said for television. Books are a more challenging art form that require active engagement on behalf of the reader, whereas films and TV simply require you to sit in front of a screen for an hour or more. Since books have been around longer than films and television, they are seen as above them. In most cases, I agree, they often are, but not in all cases. Book purism tends to reinforce the idea that if one truly wants to enjoy an adaptation, they must do the so-called "busy work" of reading. Why do we punish people in this way? People should come to literature out of love, not force (though a little nudging here and there couldn't hurt). Since when did film and television become dessert and books the vegetables? (They're both treats as far as I'm concerned). Are visual arts, because of their easy accessibility, these sinful things that we should steer from unless we jump through all of the hoops? This whole ordeal reminds me of passage in Matthew 12: 41, "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgement with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here" (418, King James Bible). To provide some context here, Jesus is discontented that the people who praise the old prophets of God, will not lend that same praise to him, the messiah. Now the point that I'm trying to make here isn't that Jesus was the messiah, (that's up to you), but that simply because something is new doesn't mean you can't find as much, if not more value in it than an older thing. Yes, moving pictures are a relatively new way of viewing the world, considering that literature and paintings are centuries old, whereas films and television are little over a hundred. Yet this fact does not make the visual adaptation inherently inferior, but opens new possibilities that otherwise may not have been conceived. We have an abundance of moving pictures to explore, let's appreciate them without the stigma.

Second, a visual adaptation can improve on or add things otherwise unable to be conveyed in its literary form. Take Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was based on the Grimm Brothers' fairy tale. Now the original fairy tale is a fine one, but one of its problems was that the dwarfs were all the same, and this would be boring to see on film. So Disney gave each of the dwarfs distinct characteristics, and thus, they add some of the most entertaining humor to the story. Disney later did something similar with the fairies in Sleeping Beauty. Consider, also, Hayao Miyazaki's adaptation of Diane Wynn Jones's Howl's Moving Castle. In the book, the walking castle, while being a fascinating object, was, to my memory, more of a backdrop to the bickering romance between Sophie and Howl. Whereas in Miyazaki's film, the castle takes on this radical makeover as an organic steampunk chimera. It serves as a great centerpiece of the story and becomes something of a character in and of itself. It is a visual treat that you can't quite get by reading the book. In short, just think about this: would you rather read about a Quidditch match in Harry Potter, or see one before your eyes?

Third, for best results, the visual adaptation should respect the intent of the creator. This means understanding the soul of the story and expressing that through the visual piece. So when Stephen King says things like, "Shelley Duvall as Wendy is really one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film, she's basically just there to scream and be stupid and that's not the woman that I wrote about" (BBC), it means that Kubrick probably didn't understand what King wanted to convey, or for that matter, even cared. This difference in vision in The Shining is further elaborated by Laura Miller in her article "What Stanley Kubrick Got Wrong About The Shining." for Salon,

"King is, essentially, a novelist of morality. The decisions his characters make — whether it's to confront a pack of vampires or to break 10 years of sobriety — are what matter to him. But in Kubrick's "The Shining," the characters are largely in the grip of forces beyond their control. It's a film in which domestic violence occurs, while King's novel is about domestic violence as a choice certain men make when they refuse to abandon a delusional, defensive entitlement. As King sees it, Kubrick treats his characters like "insects" because the director doesn't really consider them capable of shaping their own fates. Everything they do is subordinate to an overweening, irresistible force, which is Kubrick's highly developed aesthetic; they are its slaves. In King's "The Shining," the monster is Jack. In Kubrick's, the monster is Kubrick."

I bring this up to demonstrate that while Kubrick's The Shining may be a poor adaptation of the novel, that does not necessarily make it an equally poor film. Yes, Jack Nicholson's performance is not much different than his others, and yes, Wendy's depiction as a nitwit damel-in-distress is sexist, but the movie still has a frightful visual presence hardly rivaled by most horror pictures. So it is important that when we judge an adapted piece, we are sure to distinguish between its success as as a good story and its success as a good adaptation. 

Now I think that Christopher Tolkien had a good point about the Lord of the Rings films, when he also said in Le Monde, "The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away." A similar criticism was also echoed by film critic Roger Ebert, who said in his review of Fellowship of the Ring that,

"The Ring Trilogy embodies the kind of innocence that belongs to an earlier, gentler time. The Hollywood that made "The Wizard of Oz" might have been equal to it. But "Fellowship" is a film that comes after "Gladiator" and "Matrix," and it instinctively ramps up to the genre of the overwrought special-effects action picture. That it transcends this genre--that it is a well-crafted and sometimes stirring adventure--is to its credit. But a true visualization of Tolkien's Middle-earth it is not."

Ebert and Tolkien both lament the darker and more action-paced tone than an epic picture like the Lord of the Rings would have in today's blockbuster Hollywood. I feel that Ebert, being a film critic, recognizes this as more of a reality for the film, than Tolkien, who decries it. Now I have deep affections for both the film trilogy and the book trilogy. The books, to me, felt more like epic fairy tales, with compelling characters and flawless descriptions. They also have degrees of subtlety in presentation and welcoming atmospheres in tone. The films, on the other hand, are incredibly shot, acted, and written. I really feel that they captured the heart and the scale of the novels, even if Tolkien doesn't think so. I will admit, however, that some of the subtleties in the text are lost on the films. Take the scene, for instance, where Galadriel is tempted to take the Ring from Frodo. In the book, it certainly had an ominous and dramatic atmosphere, "She lifted up her hand and from the ring she wore there issued a great light that illumined her alone and left all else dark. She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful" (410, Tolkien, J.R.R.). In the film, however, Galadriel turns into a glowing green monster whose lines were apparently dubbed by a female Darth Vader with water in her helmet. The event is so campy that it undercuts the seriousness of the scene. (The awkward close-ups throughout had a habit of doing that, too.) Tolkein's other critique, that Lord of the Rings is now a franchise to be sold in any way possible, is sad, but this is not really a fault on the films. It's a fault on our commercialized culture, in which the mass arts struggle to survive without compromise. Nevertheless, this is still, once more, a judgement on the films as adaptations, as opposed to them as their own stories. Now that is not to say that there isn't overlap in these analyses, but the influence of the book is certainly a stronger inclination in these criticisms. Ebert even admitted to this in his Fellowship review, "That "Fellowship of the Ring" doesn't match my imaginary vision of Middle-earth is my problem, not yours." There are so many different ways of seeing Lord of the Rings, in fact, that Marcel Aubron-Bulles of the Tolkeinist wrote a great article entitled "Why the 'film purists' and the 'book purists' will never understand each other – on how (not) to appreciate Peter Jackson's work". Okay, so I'm not the first person to use the term book purist, but getting back on subject, Aubron-Bulles wrote on the different perspectives that general movie goers, film critics, and fans of the book would use in criticism of these films. By the end of the article, he still loved the films, even if they were different from the source,

"I love the films, I love the books and I find it very hard sometimes to agree with all these positions brought forward – I am just a Tolkien fan who thinks that his favourite writer and his books are the best there are and if someone like PJ does films then they are amazing, too (even if they have nothing to do with the books.)"

Fourth, yes, mistakes can happen in adapting a work between the mediums. Horrible mistakes. We need to ask ourselves, should the story even have a visual adaptation at all? Some literary stories don't make good films. Has there been a filmed version of The Great Gatsby that's worthy of the status the book's reception apparently gets? For some reason, F. Scott Fitzgerald's story is just kind of boring when put on a screen. Perhaps it's a pacing issue. We should also consider how making the story animated or live-action will affect its presentation as well. Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland received a great animated version by Walt Disney in 1954, since the animators had few limitations in illuminating Carrol's colorful world. On the other hand, when Tim Burton took a crack at it in the live-action format, limitations in special effects were obvious and unable to produce the same believability that the 1954 version did. When Beowulf, however, got the animated treatment, it didn't look impressive so much as distracting and awkward at times. A live-action retelling of the poem would have been able to better convey the story's somber tone. 

Oftentimes, as the book purists will happily tell me, distancing oneself from the text is what can make an adaptation less satisfying. In the Hunger Games, for instance, Katniss's personal narration from the novel is virtually absent. This would have been an easy way to slip exposition into the film and show Katniss's relationship with Peeta was clearly one of convenience as opposed to an actual romance. At that point, anyways. Without the narration, this undercurrent to Peeta and Katniss is made unclear in the film, confusing audiences, while the lack of exposition will sometimes necessitate abrupt interruptions from the talking heads of Capitol TV which break the flow of the narrative. In the Guin Saga novels, the battle scenes are described with enough of bloodshed and gore to please Quentin Tarantino. This brought a brutal sense of realism to the story, and more tension to fights. In the anime (a medium known for its ultra-violence), the battles are completely toned down to almost Pokemon levels, and thus, the dimension of reality that the fight scenes once had is lost. These changes, I must emphasize, are only worth noting insofar as they affect the enjoyment of the film or show on its own. To illustrate, the exclusion of Peeves the Poltergeist from the Harry Potter films was not a bad idea. Reducing Cho Chang's development in Order of the Phoenix was. By the way, staying too true to the book has its own slew of problems as well. Take, for example, the decision in Catching Fire to include the white baboons in the Quarter Quell. No amount of CG wizardy could make that look any good.

In the end, the literary and the visual often oppose, but they can also complement each other. In an interview with Joseph Gelmis, director Stanley Kubrick had this to say about the filmed and written versions of 2001: A Space Odyssey:

"I think it gives you the opportunity of seeing two attempts in two different mediums, print and film, to express the same basic concept and story. In both cases, of course, the treatment must accommodate to the necessities of the medium. I think that the divergencies between the two works are interesting."

Indeed they are.
 
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll get back to watching Fullmetal Alchemist.







Bibliography

Aubron-Bulles, Marcel. "Why the 'film purists' and the 'book purists' will never understand each other – on how (not) to appreciate Peter Jackson's work." The Tolkienist. September 27, 2012. Web. http://www.thetolkienist.com/2012/09/27/why-the-film-purists-and-the-book-purists-will-never-understand-each-other-on-how-not-to-appreciate-peter-jacksons-work/

Ebert, Roger. "Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring." rogerebert.com. December 19, 2001. Web. http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/lord-of-the-rings-the-fellowship-of-the-ring-2

Gompertz, Will. "Stephen King returns to The Shining with Doctor Sleep." BBC News. September 19, 2013. Web. Video. http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-24151957

Kubrick, Stanley. "An Interview With Stanley Kubrick (1969). " Interview by Joseph Gelmis. Excerpt. The Film Director As Superstar. Garden City, New York: Doubleday And Company, 1970. Print. The Kubrick Site. Web. http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0069.html

Miller, Laura. "What Stanley Kubrick Got Wrong About The Shining." Salon. October 1, 2013. Web. http://www.salon.com/2013/10/01/what_stanley_kubrick_got_wrong_about_the_shining/

Rerolle, Raphaelle. "My Father's "Eviscerated" Work - Son Of Hobbit Scribe J.R.R. Tolkien Finally Speaks Out." Le Monde. July 9, 2012. http://www.lemonde.fr/culture/article/2012/07/05/tolkien-l-anneau-de-la-discorde_1729858_3246.html Trans. Worldcrunch. Web. http://www.worldcrunch.com/culture-society/my-father-039-s-quot-eviscerated-quot-work-son-of-hobbit-scribe-j.r.r.-tolkien-finally-speaks-out/hobbit-silmarillion-lord-of-rings/c3s10299/#.VC4VBRbp9EP

Rutkowski, Gary. "Roger Ebert On Film Criticism-TV LEGENDS." The Archive Of American Television. November 2, 2005. YouTube. December 30, 2008. Web. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FCVlQ_5aSI

The King James Bible. pg 418. Colombia: Tom Nelson, 1987. Print.

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring. pg 410. United States: Del Rey, 1954. Print.

Webster's Universal College Dictionary. pg 10. New York: Gramercy, 2004. Print.




Want to watch Fullmetal Alchemist, too? See it on YouTube through Funimation's official page: https://www.youtube.com/show/fullmetalalchemist


In this video, director Mick Garris discusses why the film of The Shining is a poor adaptation of the book. Warning: the clip shows scary images from The Shining