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Monday, December 15, 2014

A Writer's Take on Trigun: Live Through (Writing Tip) + Conclusion

We’re coming to the end of my “A Writer’s Take on Trigun” post series. Thank you for all of the awesome comments and feedback. They mean a lot to me.

Here is one plotting technique to really get the feels of your readers. Figure out the absolute worst thing for your character, and make him live through it. I'm not talking about just physically the worst thing, but an event that rocks his identity, his emotions, and puts him through heck. For Vash, it's killing Legato. He can't live with himself with having done that.

The only reason, though, that it hits us in the guts is because of the all the work done in the set-up. Prior to that event, Vash spends the entire series protecting life, preaching to others the importance of saving everyone, and we see him go to great lengths to save criminals, innocents, bounty hunters, and enemies alike, because he believes no one has the right to kill another. He tries to save everyone.
So what is the worst thing that can happen to him?

Him killing someone.

How can he live with himself after that? Well, he can't really. He's tormented by it.

So think about the worst thing you can put your character through, and make sure to set it up appropriately for the strongest effect.

What I love about the example in Trigun, what I think kicks this technique up a notch, is that Vash's absolute torment comes from something he did, not something that was done to him. His worst suffering comes from his own actions. Really though, Vash killing someone? Genius.

It sounds like a simple technique, but it's a powerful one.


I just wanted to close my series of posts by saying that Trigun again testifies to me that a story doesn't have to be long to be powerful. There are only 26 episodes. If you look at the series, less than half the episodes deal directly with the main plot. It makes me think of some short stories that had a very powerful effect of me: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and This Way to the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski. Writers would do well to remember this keyword: condense.

The reason Trigun fits so much in such a small package is because the episodes dealing with the main storyline are packed with story. Every line, every scene counts. Even when writing a long story, you can have a condensed one, just make sure everything has a purpose, or several purposes, like Trigun did.

So these posts were just some of the things I love about the show, from a writerly viewpoint. I do have to say that when the Trigun movie came out, I was a bit disappointed with it. I mean, the animation was amazing, it was fun to see the characters again, the movie did stay true to the series, it even stayed true to the themes, and the action was fun, but I wanted something more, something deeper. What I would give to get my hands on that franchise and write my own Trigun movie. I don't know. . . maybe it could happen. . .

Also, for writers, don't forget one of the aspects Trigun nails: contradictions. Use them to your advantage. The show gave us loads of contradictory character and conflicts.

Next year, I do want to dissect The Hunger Games, so if you are into that, stick around.

Other than that, I'll be getting back to posting writing articles in general and reviews.

Winner of the giveaway will be announced later this week on my social outlets, so watch for that. Thanks!

The Giveaway

Every time you like or share or reblog or retweet any of my Trigun dissection posts on my Tumblr, Facebook, or Twitter outlets, you will be entered to win a Trigun decal. You can pick out of the ones below. Obviously you can stick them on things other than iphones and mini ipads, like laptops, car windows (you can get them in white), whatever. This is an international giveaway. You must be a follower to win.

If you win and don't want the prize (you just wanted to like and share my posts), just let me know, and I'll select another winner.


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