Sunday, May 15, 2011

All good things must come to an end

I have come back here after quite a while of inactivity to discuss a couple of things. First and foremost is that I think I'm going to stop posting to my blogger pages. Primarily, I've just been keeping up with STC Literature, while, and letting my music blog, notes on a sidechain, and my flash fiction blog, splinters, fall by the wayside. And now, just shy of 100 blog posts on my writing blog, I'm getting things ready to swap over to a bright, new, better maintained, more appealing, more professional-esque blog. If you're wondering why I'm letting go of this blog, when it still functions perfectly fine, those are my reasons. Nothing else.

Part of this reasoning was that I had to create an entirely new web presence for my writing and new technologies class at uni, but part of it was that I felt like this blog wasn't reaching its desired audience. That's not to say there's anything wrong with the people that have been reading this blog. On the contrary, they are great people with lots of talent.

I started my new blog/s quite a while ago, and the reason why I haven't made this post earlier was partly due to my working on that/uni work and such, and partly due to the fact that it's currently being assessed, which means I can't change anything to it until I get my marks back. Which should be some time over the next week or so.

So, here's the blog that's replacing this one:
Its main purpose will be to talk about writing, and reviews and occasionally about what's going on with my writing. I'll probably copy across some reviews and things from here at some point. Basically, that blog will be a lot more open to discussion, as opposed to this one, which was only really a combination of writing, talking about my own writing, and talking about books. I'm still talking about books, and talking about my own writing occasionally, but also talking about writing in general, things that are going on, writing techniques and such, stuff that expands on to other ideas and such. And I'm keeping the creative writing in self-contained blogs linked from there, and what's not self contained I'll be pushing for publication. So there's still a section set aside where people can see my writing on display.
And these places are:
And on top of that, I will be contributing to the new bizarro central site:
And still on top of that, I am currently working on a choose-your-own-adventure blog for my writing and new technologies unit, which, if all goes to plan, will be up in a few week's time.

Yes, I've been doing a lot since I haven't been blogging on here so much. And while I haven't been able to use my new writing blog over the past couple of weeks, I'm pretty deadset on taking that one on as my main writing blog once I get my grades back and I can use it again.

Now, the other thing I wanted to talk about here today. What is likely to be the last topic of interest on this blog before I stop. Things that just don't end. You know that feeling when something is just so brilliant you wish it would never end? That won't last. I think the phrase is "flogging a dead horse". I gather that refers to a racehorse that's had a wonderful track record and instead of letting it retire as a beloved national treasure, they keep racing it past its prime and its standard slips and they keep racing it and it just keeps getting worse and worse and the jockey "flogs" it to get everything out of it and keeps trying, long after the horse can race no more, and thus, "flogging the dead horse". It happens all the time with tv shows. A show is popular, it keeps getting renewed for another season and another season, and the ratings start to drop and they try to pick them back up and they're left with the decision to keep trying or give it the axe. It's a lot better to quit on your own terms, rather than rush an ending that was never intended to be.

At least it's not so bad with sitcoms, which are cyclical in nature. Not too much changes from season to season, so it doesn't really matter which order you watch the episodes in, you still find it entertaining and you still find it making sense. But the thing is, then you end up with oh so much of the beloved sitcom on your hands, so much of what captured you into the show in the first place, and then you can't tell what's what and you feel like it's all overdone, the dead horse is well and truly flogged.

A tv series, or even a book series, since I like to talk about literature (I'm getting to that part!) has a much different narrative arc to a film or a novel, as films and novels have much different narrative arcs to short films and short stories. A series has a lot longer to set things up than a single text. At the end of the film or novel, everything has to be wrapped up and satisfying. The series can pull as many twists and turns as it likes, because it has until the end of the season to wrap them up. It's not uncommon for some series to leave loose ends, even major plot points wide open at the end of a season, to keep interest for the next season. Each episode has its own narrative arc, which is part of a larger season's narrative arc, which is part of the show's narrative arc. Which is sort of closer to the real world than movies or books that have a difinitive ending. So I guess that's why people like stuff that shows no sign of finishing.

But I've grown comfortable to the fact that when I read a book or watch a movie, I know that it will end. I know it won't play around with my emotions, teasing me, kicking me from plot twist to plot twist, which I start off enjoying, until I get to a point where I'm all like "fuck you guys, I'm sick of this teasing, I'm leaving!"

I got bored of the Simpsons, as I'm sure a lot of people did, when, after 22 years of the show (I have not been around/watching the show for nearly that long) I get bored of watching the same family living in the same house, interacting with the same people and behaving in the same ways more or less for such a long period of time. Sure, I can still watch it and laugh, but I think there's one thing sitcoms don't do as well as other series with larger plot-arcs, or novels and films with definite endings. It's that I can't watch whole seasons of the Simpsons like I can other shows. It's the sort of show I'll watch an occasional episode of and enjoy the fact that year after year, it's still in the same place. And I can say the same for Family Guy or American Dad, which I watch on a much more regular basis. But I think what we really crave for in a story is change. We want character development. Something to really latch onto and find ourselves caring about. Bart is still a little rebel, Lisa is still a little nerd, Homer is still a big fat dumbass and Marge is still a pestering housewife. Now, I haven't watched the show in a long time, but I'd be surprised if, on the larger scale (not on an episode by episode basis) these characters were anything different.

We are raised to believe that stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. And while I like to play around with those preconceptions myself, I can't escape that. I like stories with change and development. I like stories that are going somewhere. A little while ago, I read the first eight volumes of the graphic novel series, The Walking Dead. It's great, brilliant. Lots of character development, lots of great plot twists, and at the end of each episode, there's a gut-wrenching twist that keeps the tragedy of the zombie apocalypse going. Now, I'm faced with two options. I can continue reading volumeby volume to keep up with this story which has captured my interests, or I can wait until the next eight volume compendium comes out and read another bulk portion of the story as one. Or I suppose I can wait until it ends, although I have heard that the writer has no plans on finishing any time soon. This bugs me. Even in the eight volume compendium, there was no greater narrative resolution at the end. There was just more conflict, build up, climax, resolution, plot twist, conflict, build up, climax, resolution, plot twist. It feels quite formulaic for something that is so captivating. Especially since each episode is more or less the exact same length. From episode to episode, there's just no knowing when it will end. My best guess is when all the main characters die. But then throughout the series, more main characters are introduced, so probably a better estimation is when everyone in the zombie apocalypse is dead. And I have no idea when this will be, and as I have to wait for the writer/artists to figure that out for themselves, let alone write the ending, this upsets me greatly.

And with that, I shall let this chapter of my blogging saga come to a close. I will still check up on comments and such, should people still visit here and want to talk about stuff after I've moved over to the manifold for real. I'll probably eventually make a similar post about neverending stories on the manifold as a point of discussion. So, yeah, thanks for reading this blog for the past year and a half. I hope if you're reading this that means you're interested in what I have to say, and will follow me across to my new blogging home.

P.S. I apologise for the amount of unbroken text here. I promise, the manifold will not nearly be this long-winded and tedious. The times that I do write this much, the text will be broken up with pretty pictures.

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