A question was asked over at the Sci Phi Journal website.
I was wondering if anyone out there could shed some insight onto the following question: How do you make a serialized series that intends to go on for at least two decades, have large epic plots that still manage to make cogent philosophical points?
I ask because it seems that most tales that do make cogent philosophical points most seem to be one-shots. Even the Twilight Zone, as chock to the brim with far more insight than both recent live-action Star Treks combined as that show was, was an anthology, or a collection of one-shots with little to no serialization.
Though I love to make philosophical one-shots and read such one-shots, I must admit that my heart lies in making tales with long plot-threads, as it was such shows like, everything in the DC Animated Universe, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and Avatar: The Last Airbender that got me into wanting to be a writer in the first place.
I think that it’s not impossible, as those three things I mentioned above somehow managed to do it, but I’m just curious as to how one accomplishes such a thing and how difficult it really is, because I seem to be finding it’s mighty hard.
Let’s begin with a little parable. A man wishes to build a support frame in his garden to hang a swing for his children on, but finds that he needs to drill holes in the beams so they can be bolted together.
He is on good terms with his neighbour, so he walks over to the fence between their two gardens.
“Hey, Bill. What is it?”
“Could I borrow a drill?”
“I don’t have one, but I can borrow one from Jim next door.”
Frank walks across his garden to the fence on the other side and calls across: “Hey Jim!”
“Hey, Frank. What can I do for you?”
“Could I borrow a drill?”
“Hang on a sec, I’ll go and borrow one from Greg next door.”
Jim asks to borrow from Greg, who asks to borrow from Mark, who asks to borrow from Neil… You get the idea.
The English word ‘immaterial’ has an interesting couple of meanings, based on two different meanings of their root word, matter. One meaning of matter, that of physical substance, has it’s root in the latin word materia, ‘substance, timber’. The other, that of the subject or problem under discussion comes from the word mater, ‘mother’, i.e. what gave rise to this discussion. These two roots give rise to the two meanings that at first glance may seem highly related, especially given the materilistic slant of much of Western popular philosophy, that
1. Something immaterial is something that cannot be physically interacted with, which has no resting mass,
2. Something immaterial is something that is irrelevant, something that makes no difference to the discussion at hand.
Some people seem to act as though one meaning is the same as the other, that whatever cannot be physically interacted with is irrelevant and makes no difference, effectively (or literally) not existing at all.
Let’s look at that for a moment. Think of your favourite story. What is it, materially? Continue reading →
My apologies for my last entry, it was too disjointed and got too bogged down in the technical details (ironic, I know). Here is a rewrite:
Talking about flowing water in the last post in this series reminded me of this scene from Prince Caspian (starting from 1 minute 12 seconds into the video below):
Let’s imagine I witnessed these events in the flesh and described them to you like this:
A temporary and constantly changing arrangement of water molecules came sweeping down an open flow channel, interacted with and modified structures composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, calcium, iron and other trace elements, then carried them various distances downstream. It was amazing!