Friday, June 22, 2012

5 Reasons to Love Brave

So, Brave is out today. I saw it last week with my daughter because I'm cool like that. But my coolness is not the point here, Brave's coolness is in fact the point here. Lots of people are going to be talking about Brave, and already have started. Slate takes issue with Fiery Redhead Stereotypes, Jeff Gomez says in Bloomberg Businessweek that:
“This is not a feminist development... It’s a generational development. The people seeing these new movies find values more aspirational than gender.”
Unsurprisingly, I agree with Jeff, though Feminists and humans overall should be excited that there is FINALLY an animated film with a living mother in it and a female heroine and that it has been produced by the distribution Juggernaut that is Hollywood without taking away the joy that can come with those features.

The most important review comes from my daughter and her best friend (both 5); both agreed that it was quite scary, but also amazing, beautiful and that they loved it.

With all that in mind I'm going to try and write a few reasons I enjoyed the movie without using Spoilers or breaking into tears. Spoiler: This movie may very well bring you to tears, I cried, my daughter cried, we all cried, it was awesome.

1. A Highly Resonant Mother-Daughter Story
It is really hard to remember an animated feature where a mother actually plays an active role in the story. Heck, it's hard to remember a live-action feature where the mother isn't at least some sort of horrific harpy or a total non-entity.

If you can think off some offhand, throw them into the comments because I have been struggling to remember some.

The fact that Queen Elinor is as central to the story as Merida is refreshing and needed in the story landscape that kids are exposed to and both the mother and daughter came off as nuanced and honest, both flawed, both trying their best and both loving, caring creatures.

2. A Legend without a Messiah Complex

A problem I often find when people discuss legends is that, especially when writing them, the protagonist seems to fall into the position of "the most important person who has ever lived or will ever live in this story world." Merida is amazing, her story is great, but it fits into a tapestry of myth and legend larger than any one individual story and this is also fantastically refreshing.

This is not to say Merida isn't the hero of her own story, she is. Or that she doesn't profoundly change the world around her, she does. But she doesn't have to be a unique superhero to do it. Fate has conspired to give her her position and skills, but she's not the only person with any inner strength or power.

When secondary characters are off-screen, their lives continue. The world of Brave has a past, present and future and it is filled with interesting ideas just outside of view. As a personal point of order, I want to point out that some of the stories being explored in publishing are adaptations of the film, and some are other stories about Merida. These seem to be mostly baby steps in transmedia storytelling, but it is a start, and Brave has a lot more paths to explore.

3. A Magical World without Overbearing Explanation

You know who loves a thorough, in depth magical system in a fictional storyworld? Me. I would go out on a limb and say I am one of the people in the world MOST interested in how magical systems exist in story worlds and how they're executed and the minutia of their development and internal narratives. I literally will read thesises on these. But, when I'm watching a movie or reading a book or enjoying a story, sometimes it's more important to know that something is important because the characters do. Sometimes, often, you don't need to pause the plot to elaborate on the ethnographic impact of a specific mythical creature.

There are ways to look into those details later. For instance, Wil o' Wisps and Stone Circles have reams and reams and tomes and tomes of legends and analysis and fantastic stories you can read to learn about them. You can do that homework outside an 88 minute feature. Brave doesn't slow down the story to explain what it's doing, it lets the world exist and be explored without belaboring the point (which I just did), and the story is much more mysterious and exciting and thrilling for it. 

4. Secondary Characters who are Silly without being Stupid

Brave has a very clear protagonist, and a central storyline that revolves around two women.  Vital to their lives and the fantastic lushness of the story are the men in their lives and the characters around them from the wider world. The core family includes a wacky Dad, who genuinely cares about the ladies in his life but also seems realistically on both of their sides. The little brothers are 100% competent even though they have superhuman pastry-thieving skills and pull together in trouble, protecting and aiding those around them.

These characters are funny, they're playful and at times wacky. The characters from the wider world play on clear stereotypes, but unlike many secondary characters, the manage to all have some nuance and motivations and desires all their own. Beyond their silly exteriors they all manage to be able to make their own decisions and to have lives outside the immediate sphere of the main character.

While I am highly interested in some male perspectives on these characters, the reality is that these characters were well considered and came off as silly, but none of them did anything that came off as blatantly idiotic or even worse, out of character for plot's sake alone. 

5. Setting that advances the story without telling the story for you

While there is plenty of action in Brave, my daughter didn't crawl on my lap for support because of a violent battle. She got scared because the amazingly beautifully animated setting made excellent use of the moody mists and twilight. The mood set tones rather than overpowering the story with its grandeur. The land is one of myth and legend where it clearly looks like there's a magical creature in every glen, but also, a place where you can imagine camping and hiking and living.

The world is one that is realistic despite the stylised animation and the moods established prove that Pixar is still at the leading edge of visual storytelling above all others.

I loved Brave, I'm so excited that this story is in the world. I'm really looking forward to hearing what other people think of it and to argue with me on points that they disagree on. That said, I couldn't be more pleased that Merida and Queen Elinor were characters I got to share with my daughter while she's still young.

Monday, June 18, 2012

"It's a Metaphor," No, It's a Dead Horse: Thoughts on Grammar

Many times when hearing someone speak about the metaphors they are developing for their script or game or "thing" I feel myself pausing and asking myself... "are we really talking about metaphors here?"
Meet a Meaningless Metaphor

Metaphor as a word is overused. There are many devices that exist in the English language and metaphor is arguably the most powerful. (Eat it, exclamations!)


[met-uh-fawr, -fer] 
1. a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in “A mighty fortress is our God.” Compare mixed metaphor, simile
2. something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else; emblem; symbol.
Metaphors are the big ticket items, the Lamborghinis of phrasing. Elegant, Sleek, desirable and sexy; That's right people, sexy grammar.

Pictured: Grammar
There's a lot of excellent talk on metaphors in Metaphor: A Practical Introduction and frankly, I don't have time to write an entire book right here, though I suppose that was the whole point of this blog once upon a time... 

Metaphors become the short form phrases that give greater meaning to those disjointed strung together words.  How do you get from sentences to metaphors? The greater expression of meaning relies on the references that are understood, in the metaphor above, we all have to know what a fortress is in order to understand it, but we live in cultures with many, many stories and reference points to understand "fortress" and its associated meaning even if you don't live near a castle.

When a cultural entity has boiled down over time and repetition enough to be immediately recognizable and meaningful without the context of its story "A White Knight," a "Red Herring," even the "fortress" above is a concrete metaphor. While in the early middle ages, a White Knight may have required a more complex explanation, most westerners get the symbol immediately as it has been distilled into our collective memory through a plethora of stories about chivalry and heroes.

A Frankenstein, is a metaphor grown from a narrative.
Other than the literal "use me in a sentence" metaphor, there's conceptual metaphor that describe a more abstract concept as target and a more concrete or physical concept as their source. "Love", "Idea", etc... these are much more complex and often ask us to defy a single sentence or fragment to explain them, these are ideas and concepts that are still emerging into cultural consciousness and while someday may be able to boil down to single phrases or words, these concepts are being developed through story.


1. a narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale.
Our most common definition of story discusses their instructive intention, whether we're attempting to convey an idea, experience or emotion, stories are the way humans communicate with one another these complex concepts.


1. a story or account of events, experiences, or the like, whether true or fictitious.
2. a book, literary work, etc., containing such a story.3. the art, technique, or process of narrating
Narratives imply an even greater level of construction, that they are crafted carefully to convey stories with a clear intentionality.

We often talk about narratives as being metaphors as well. Grammatically, they aren't really, but narratives are the building blocks of metaphors yet to be fully formed. Metaphors are conglomeration of mutually understood meaning, and the way that cultures define meaning are through shared mythologies. These stories are the articulations of emergent conceptual metaphors, they make use of existing concrete and conceptual metaphors to get their points across. Parts of them may be metaphoric, but a well-built narrative usually has layers of meaning and theme and message that may encompass a variety of these points to build a conversation in the mind of the audience that may, someday, through the work of many storytellers, distill into one or several culturally poignant metaphors.

So, why am I harping? Storytellers in many industries hem and haw about metaphors all the time, but building a story made entirely of metaphors is like building a house made entirely of L-joints, you could, but let's take a step back and see if that's the most efficient way to make our point? When looking at our creations, we should probably take a hard look and determine whether or not we want an individual narrative to be the most elaborately potent thematic tour-de-force ever conceived because I want to be clear: not every story needs Superman in it.

Sometimes one is too many Supermans.
Metaphors are the Superman of Grammatical Phrases, which of course means they're very powerful. They communicate meaning very quickly and complex meaning very efficiently. There are however other things out there that convey meaning, like for instance:

The LITERAL MEANING of words. 

When people confuse metaphor with the actual meaning of the words they are saying it's begun to drive me a bit bonkers, and it's time we all sat and had a talk about it. 

Sometimes when people say they're using metaphors, they are not. People all over the place are saying that metaphors are being applied when they are not. Let's all take a moment to stop and address this.

A clear example of where this peeves me personally are in places like Character names. Let's pick on Twilight – because that's always fun and easy – Bella Swan. Over the top character names that are trying to give simple cheats to the audience with low-hanging fruit metaphors and literal descriptors has gotten quite old. Let's make up a few: Derrek Oilman, Rebecca Goodheart, Harrison Moustachio,  Larry Abouttogetshotbythevillain. I read and watch A LOT of scripts and new work, and these names rarely come off at the level of cleverness that the author may think they do.

In some cases, even the first one I've pulled out, Ms. Bella Swan, they employ simple metaphor. Bella; which just straight up means beautiful, but in another language; and Swan, which I'll give you is symbolic and ripe with associations are constructed to tell you exactly what to expect from the character. Whether you make her clumsy to humanize her or not, the expectation that she is a graceful, beautiful snowflake put on this Earth to make others around her gape in slack-jawed awe is there and it's followed through in the book. But what's the point of character development when we already know how this will end? SPOILER: she becomes a vampire and stops being clumsy and everyone thinks she's the prettiest and the most graceful, etc... etc...

So, simple metaphors and literal character traits. I'm saying that Bella Swan's name is sorta a metaphor but maybe not really because it's not asking us to consider new information about the character or her situation, it's just literal shorthand that she's the bestest and we should all know that. Same goes with action heroes and things, Robin Larceny or Pussy Galore or Karen Forewe lack a degree of subtlety and are much more literal than metaphoric in their use in narratives.

An excellent book that I suggest all authors read is Metaphor: A Practical Introduction, by  , while my 12 year old self is inwardly cringing that I'm recommending a book on grammar, my grown-up self cannot express enough the need for higher level grammatical and semantic understanding in constructing complex narratives.

If Metaphors are the Lamborghinis of Grammar, I'm going to suggest that literal and simple metaphoric naming are the $500 used cars of Grammar: Cheap, get you from A to B, but are just as likely to blow up in your face as move you forward. 

So, if complex conceptual metaphors are the smooth, high performance machines a narrative is the highway your sports car will travel down. You can either make an interstate highway that carries a lot of traffic, or a beautiful scenic roadway with curves built for speed. 
Not all roads should be the Pacific Coast Highway though.
All these meaningful bits of language are extremely potent and useful, but there is a very important reality that is the Rabid, Raging Supermoon-Addled Lycanthrope of my pet peeves in recent weeks. 
Characters are not metaphors themselves, they are avatars.


  1. A manifestation of a deity in bodily form on earth.
  2. An incarnation, embodiment, or manifestation of a person or idea
Characters in a narrative are representations of meaningful concepts, but they themselves are a specific sort of meaningful concept, one where the audience member is engaging with them as constructed human beings, rather than simply symbols.

While you can have a meaningful story in 6 words or less, for the most part narratives involve characters who are established for longer periods of time and ask the audience to engage with them as though they were representing real people, at least during the time they are experiencing the story. So, William Wallace in Braveheart is not a metaphor he is an Avatar of a variety of meaningful concepts: rebellion, freedom from tyranny, love, ferocity, etc.... His story is metaphorical– less an accurate recounting of exact facts than a request to the audience to experience a story that establishes or communicates a mood.

In films and novels, there are epic amounts of criticism about the way characters represent ideas, the way they embody metaphoric and even universal themes, and a lot of rigor can be put into the academic study of this type of avatar.

Avatars mean different things to different narratives. If your story is a film, it may mean the character or it may mean the embodiment of a God. If you are playing a game, the Avatar also refers to the figure that the player manipulates throughout the game world. Here, Avatars and Characters become more synonymous, at least to those who spend their working days exclusively creating these elaborate works of experiential narrative.

Recently, the executive producer for the new Tomb Raider game was quoted as stating:
"When people play Lara, they don't really project themselves into the character," Rosenberg told me at E3 last week when I asked if it was difficult to develop for a female protagonist.
"They're more like 'I want to protect her.' There's this sort of dynamic of 'I'm going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her.'"
This is a statement that implies that Lara Croft, unlike other first and third person game avatars, doesn't act as a viewpoint for the gamer to experience the game world. This posit flies in the face of most video game criticism and studies that the player avatar becomes the vessel for the character projected. Now, most of the people who have piled onto these quotes, some of which have been denied by the Publisher, Square Enix and Developer, Crystal Dynamics

The largest problem with the above quote beyond the possible misattribution, and the implicit sexism, is a misunderstanding of the relationship between player and avatar in gaming. If Crystal Dynamics is making an attempt to innovated on the gameplay experience by asking the player to engage in a different way with this Lara Croft than in the past, kudos. But, regardless of the avatar's gender, the accepted wisdom in gaming is that the player DOES project themselves into the character of the avatar regardless of their gender. 

Do I, as a woman, identify less with Master Chief of Ezio Auditore because of the gender barrier between us? No, I do not believe so. The idea that because these men are handsome or sexually appealing (though none quite as showily as Lara Croft in any of her iterations) is something that would very rarely become subject to argument. So why do we then argue that men do not identify with a female avatar the same way?

Shame on you, undressing him with your eyes.
I would love to be a fly on the wall to see what studies or focus groups or assumptions went into the development of this experiment in avatar-building, but the next best thing will be seeing how audiences react. Will the gameplay be enjoyable or thoroughly lukewarm? What's it like if it's been built differently?

Regardless, it seems likely that the quotes, while potentially erroneous hit on an assumption that is all to commonly stated in different forms around gaming, and entry point characters in film, television and other media: that an entry point character will not affect the audience potently unless that character looks and feels exactly like them. 

This comes down to the idea that a story's meaning will not be effectively communicated unless the character that centrally articulates its messages relates to every single individual in the audience that encounters it. By this logic, every person who will be moved by Superman should be a male kryptonian orphan who grew up in Kansas.

Just like metaphors, there are different types of avatar, and the reason avatars exist is because concepts, like deities, incarnate in different ways at different times. The entire point is that a concept large enough to embody a conceptual metaphor (whether it is a god, or love, or heroism or even a famous legend like King Arthur) is going to be told from different perspectives for different people at different times. The metaphors require a plurality of stories to articulate them to cement them in human consciousness, so that they can be shared widely and ultimately instruct their audiences.

Limiting one's opinion of who or what "people" will be affected by the characterization of a character that necessarily is a vessel for the audience's point of view is limiting to the point of impeding the process of communicating the themes and ideas of your story. When the producer of Tomb Raider is quoted as saying that "people" don't identify with the avatar of Lara Croft, it means that they assume that women do not identify with the female protagonist, and that men do not identify with a female protagonist. It seems wrongheaded and insulting to both genders, especially given the wild historical success of the property. Whether or not it was actually stated, the concept is insulting and suggests to me that the Gamplay Avatar vs. Character Avatar dynamic is as confused as the literal and conceptual metaphor semantics in how narrative is approached.

Characters and Avatars are neither metaphors in their own right, or literal interpretations of concepts. They are constructions that are larger than them both, designed to impart a certain perspective on narrative incidents designed to build around a specific theme or message. Trying to reduce a character to a single metaphor or a single literal point leads to a very limited perspective and an even more limited viewpoint for an audience to see through. Sometimes this can be done well, sometimes a literally named character is amusing. But not as an afterthought and not unintentionally, the way to approach the tools you use to build a narrative and your expertise with them are essential to the strength of what you present.

Please don't try to install a screw with a hammer, 
it simply doesn't work right and we'll all be disappointed. 

Know what tools you're using and why. 

Most of these metaphor images I've used in this entry are from this blog whose entire goal is to create images of metaphors that don't mean anything as a social experiment.
This is excellent. Even as I was searching for things that AREN'T good examples of metaphors, I found myself making up stories about the connections between the things in the images. They don't translate well now, but who knows what they'll mean to someone in the future, or to someone in another country. They might even inspire a really good story.

I found them pretty funny and enjoyable in their own right, even though they are intentionally meaningless.

Now we've covered Concrete Metaphor, Conceptual Metaphor, Literal Meanings, Avatars as Vessels and in Gameplay, Entry Point Characters and Entirely Nonsensical Amusements. They all make up the beautiful tapestry of language both visual and verbal that humans use to communicate, and there are many more tools in metaphor and beyond that can be used to tell your story.

Let's all try to mean what we say and say what we mean accurately.

Just because it isn't really a metaphor doesn't make it not AWESOME.

Evolution of a Feisty Pixar Princess

"Fairy tales have gotten kind of a bad reputation, especially among women...So what I was trying to do was just turn everything on its head. Merida is not upset about being a princess or being a girl. She knows what her role is. She just wants to do it her way, and not her mother’s way."

Evolution of a Feisty Pixar Princess

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tomb Raider: Other M

Add "The New Tomb Raider Reboot" to the list of games I will never buy for myself or allow my children to play. And Lara Croft to the list of "imbecilic reboots of female game characters turned from powerful bad asses to victim." But don't take my word for it, take the words of executive producer Ron Rosenberg:
"When people play Lara, they don't really project themselves into the character," Rosenberg told me at E3 last week when I asked if it was difficult to develop for a female protagonist.

"They're more like 'I want to protect her.' There's this sort of dynamic of 'I'm going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her.'"

So is she still the hero? I asked Rosenberg if we should expect to look at Lara a little bit differently than we have in the past.

"She's definitely the hero but— you're kind of like her helper," he said. "When you see her have to face these challenges, you start to root for her in a way that you might not root for a male character."
Here are some more in depth articles if you can stomach it, 1) the Kotaku article that the quotes are from and 2)  a solid post by Chuck Wendig about just how amazingly troubling this is as a storyteller.

Hurray for Realism, amiright?

You may take note of her new "less curvy" figure and say, hey, she's slightly more realistically visualized, isn't that a win? Maybe. Humanizing her to human proportions physically does not solve a poorly drawn narrative.  According to their own spokesman, "humanizing" means "much less capable" when building a female character at Square Enix.

Recently it seems that if you intend to reboot a female character, especially in console video games, we have seen one major failure to communicate, Metroid: Other M. And in many ways, both of these reboots fall prey to the idea the same oversimplifications that a "strong character" must be super heroically overpowered. Strength does not simply refer to physical strength or powers, it also, more poignantly can mean resilience or resolve in the face of adversity.
...a person could be strong like Superman in the sense that he could lift a heavy object, or he could be strong like John McClain in the sense that he’ll keep fighting no matter what, or he could just be rendered strongly: that is, this is just a clearly and boldly defined, precise and complex character.
In this case, the oversimplification is that for Lara Croft to be a 'real woman'; she must be significantly more vulnerable, not simply drawn to human proportions.  To enjoy a story with a "real woman" in it, players must also fall into a white night stereotype of damsel saving, rather than say, exploring and raiding tombs. Like Iron Men on The Weather Channel and Parking Wars on A&E (Arts and Entertainment by the way) it seems that we've forgotten the core reason people sought out the experience in the first place.

Pictured: Archeology.
Why is it impossible for her to be both realistically visually portrayed and a bad ass heroine? If we draw male heroes to realistic proportions, it doesn't make him less heroic to the mind of the player. It appears necessary to divorce a realistically visualized woman from deeply heroic actions because it will somehow not be relatable. 

Take careful note that no male player would ever enjoy playing Lara Croft and identify with her as a heroine, or want her to succeed despite her femaleness (despite the games and movies to suggest the contrary). The implicit understanding here is that the players of the game ONLY want to play Tomb Raider because they want to dominate a female sex object, in the form of Lara Croft. That is troublingly sexist toward the male players in all honestly. They wouldn't possibly enjoy the Tomb Raider series because it had fun gameplay, or interesting challenges or tolerable writing, it is such a wild mystery why a game series starring a woman would continue to be successful over time that it must be because gamers are sex starved and obsessed with dominating a female avatar.

Let's not even pretend like it occurred to the game makers that women also play these games or might have wanted to, they clearly have no intention of developing or reaching that audience. It is hardly surprising that Tropes vs. Women in Video Games has gotten traction on Kickstarter is that the offensive tropes built into games aren't serving anyone's needs. Not creatively, financially or as experiences.
Pictured: Also Archeology, at least there's a torch?
While Lara Croft has been decried as a sex object, it is not an improvement to rape her in the name of humanizing her. Back to the article with the Executive Producer, Ron Rosenberg.
In the new Tomb Raider, Lara Croft will suffer. Her best friend will be kidnapped. She'll get taken prisoner by island scavengers. And then, Rosenberg says, those scavengers will try to rape her.

"She is literally turned into a cornered animal," Rosenberg said. "It's a huge step in her evolution: she's forced to either fight back or die."

To humanize Lara Croft she must become a CORNERED ANIMAL. In order to have a compelling origin story, a hugely wealthy archaeologist must fight off a bunch of savage rapists and become hardened against the world. They're doing this for shock value you say, the desire is to be shocking?
"We're not trying to be over the top, shock people for shock's sake," he said. "We're trying to tell a great origin story."
As in Comic Books, Lara Croft is getting fridged.

Old Lara, while absurdly proportioned, was a super heroine, and frankly, we don't treat our male superheroes or male explorer characters this way.  Did Uncharted reduce Nate to his most vulnerable in order to reboot the franchise with a great origin story? No.

The most popular explorer of our times fictionally is Indiana Jones, and sure, he's fictionalized, idealized and yes, he too spends some time in a fridge. But you can Nuke that Fridge and he'll get up again.

Will the Video Game industry ever understand why its treatment of female characters is infuriating to so many people? And what would be more depressing, if this Tomb Raider Reboot continued to show a female character who must be sexualized as a victim to succeed or for the most famous female character in video games to fade into nothingness?

Friday, June 1, 2012

The "Best Friend" sure has a great personailty.

The Wall Street Journal and Jezebel take on The "Best Friend", that sad sack hag who stars, or at least supports in most Romantic Comedies.
"The role of the quirky best friend, a rom-com staple that goes back at least as far as Shakespeare, is often a clever narrative device employed by writers to provide exposition and comic relief."

Good News though, the secondary character type seems to be getting more complex.
"After decades of inevitable nuptials and the female leads who are too beautiful and romantical to screw up their climactic hitching, romantic comedies are beginning to relegate their brides to the background while the best friend in all of his or her drunken, self-destructive splendor, takes center-stage and falls headfirst into the wedding cake, pees somewhere inappropriate, or generally makes all those betrothed people feel some mix of pity, envy, and tenderness."
The "Best Friend" is an everyman everywoman archetype, the one who we're all supposed to relate to on some level, at least in many Rom Coms: My Best Friend's Wedding, Something Borrowed, Bride Wars, Made of Honor, 27 Dresses, etc... etc... etc...

An outgrowth of the more traditional theatre stereotype seen in Shakespeare in characters like Juliet's Nurse, or countless Ladies Maids in Commedia Dell'Arte, if you're familiar with Mozart's Opera, The Magic Flute, Papageno is "the best friend".

These sidekicks in elaborate long form stories usually find love, often are the comic relief (Think Iolas in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys- yes we're going there) or the voice of conscience or vulnerability for a Hero (Think Gabrielle in Xena: Warrior Princess)

I am a big fan of secondary characters, they are often more interesting to me than the protagonist, who can come off as standard issue heroes and are much easier to predict. The Best Friend often gives life and setting to the universe in an entertainment property. So, in Romantic Comedies of the past two decades, is it surprising that the conflicts of these characters have taken a greater presence on screen as audiences and writers have broader canvases to explore a world? I have often advocated exploring the perspective of secondary characters in narrative extensions across platforms. They are lush and interesting characters with their own motives, pasts, presents, futures and can be really fruitful inspiration.

Romantic Comedies have been structured slapstick stories reprised for centuries with similar characters, journeys and story arcs. It is unsurprising from a historical standpoint that filmed romantic comedies have had similar tendencies. What is exciting however is the way many artists are exploring this genre and breaking up those conventions to reflect the modern era, making stories about older characters, exploring the less explored perspectives of characters in the dramas.

While the bites out of these traditional structures seem minimal and at times unsatisfying different from these tried and true story arcs, every one of them counts. We have the ability to make more stories, create more perspectives and talk about what romantic stories we'd like to see with creators than ever before.

How would you change these stories if you were writing them? What is it you would rather see? Chances are, if you state it, someone will think it's a good idea and make it.