Group Dynamics in Fiction – Ingredients part 1

There are some posts that I have to write on my main rig. I can’t keep my train of thought flowing reliably on a smartphone or tablet, and my netbook lacks certain resources, such as a wider work area, files that were created and kept on my desktop computer, and Wacom/Painter combination. This is one, but I also started it when I had only ten minutes in which to write. Knowing that I’ll have to break off in the middle made things a little harder. As did having to spend the entire day on TWO errands.

Anywho.

I usually write novels and shorts and even free-writing with a number of characters in mind. I like my groups. It’s not as fun to have someone who’s clever, funny, or tragic all alone. One of the my favourite methods of character development is interaction with others, most particularly others with whom the character in question shares a close relationship. (however compulsory that may be)

But in building a group, there are things to take into consideration. I find it interesting that in anime (promise not to rant this time), the groups tend to be made up of the same stock characters, even across genres. If there is a Stoic or Anti-Hero, there is a Jerk With A Heart Of Gold and/or Genki Girl. Maybe I’m still not considering everything too clearly, but there are certain tropes that must make the cut in an anime where the group is a central plot fountain. My example? It’s true of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, +Anima, and Slayers. Those are just the first three I thought of off-hand.

I’m not criticising. I merely find this interesting. The same is true to whatever extent you can find of any other culture. You can also infer character traits by putting together two characters. You have a cheerful, hedonistic freelance artist who (for whatever reason) works with a hard-nosed career insert-profession-here. It’s a fairly safe bet that the artist will be a fun-pusher, and the career whozit will think the world needs to take itself more seriously.

Some of it is life in media. Certain groups made up of certain ingredients will, like food, produce a certain result. Redundancy aside, I like cooking. I mean novelling.

But it takes something more than just gathering tomatoes, cheese, meat, and pasta to make lasagna. You could say that it’s talent, or a hook dependent on premise, a twist, a visual, whatever. It’s just not something that’s automatic. To me, it’s sort of like the difference between a dating sim and a movie or anime.

I was going to pick tropes for each ingredient of lasagna and write an example or two of a group dynamic-ing together, but I’m exhausted and can’t think anymore. I’ll try to do a part two tomorrow with my example(s?) and hopefully the rest of my point. In case I had one.

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One thought on “Group Dynamics in Fiction – Ingredients part 1

  1. Pingback: Rereading the WiP | Story Treasury

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