Author Topic: Thoughts on Storytelling and Puzzle  (Read 512 times)

Thoughts on Storytelling and Puzzle
« on: 08 Feb 2018, 23:52 »

I just saw the video above, and it got me thinking. Basically the whole video is about, film will always have some kind of plot holes, things that doesn't really make sense if you think too much about it. But film is an illusion, the point of it isn't to cover the plot holes as much as possible, instead to immerse us in its story, character, and environment. With the movie immersing us in its story, we look past those plot holes.

When I think about it, we kinda do this in other areas, in art we might break the rules let's say for a better composition, and in film editing where "continuity error" is less important than the emotion of the scene.

The thing is I've been overly self-criticizing of my own story and puzzles each times there's a plot hole or questionable logic (I'm not talking about puzzle solution), and I've been thinking on changing the way I approach them. So what are your thoughts on creating immersion even on the expense of plot holes.
« Last Edit: 09 Feb 2018, 09:11 by Yitcomics »

Mandle

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Re: Thoughts on Storytelling and Puzzle
« Reply #1 on: 09 Feb 2018, 04:27 »
I like Doug Walker and watch him regularly but one thing I've noticed over the years is that he does have a tendency to make sweeping statements and present them as fact when they are really just his own opinions.

When he says "every film has plotholes and things that don't make sense" in this video I would count that as a plothole itself in this video.

Do they? If they are properly written then maybe not.

Also I think it depends on the reason for the movie:

"Star Wars" has many things that make absolutely no sense but are okay because it's Star Wars. We know it's a fantasy first and foremost and not hard sci-fi or serious human drama.

"Back To The Future" makes a terrible mess of time-travel rules but it's easy to see that they just went with whichever theory was the most fun for a casual audience in each situation. They knew they were breaking their own rules over and over but it was just more fun that way.

But if the movie is a serious historical drama then we expect it to stick close to the actual facts and when this is done right there shouldn't really be any plotholes.

I'm just wary of the "every film has plotholes" way of thinking as it can end up being used as a defence for lazy writing.

Re: Thoughts on Storytelling and Puzzle
« Reply #2 on: 09 Feb 2018, 06:39 »
I'm just wary of the "every film has plotholes" way of thinking as it can end up being used as a defence for lazy writing.

I'm not saying forget about covering plot hole, but I have been thinking "Am I too nit picky with my own story and puzzle". I have an idea for this puzzle for my horror game where the circumstances doesn't make too much sense, but since its a good puzzle and the puzzle itself help sells the immersion, should I even care? (Once again I'm not talking about puzzle solution here).

Mandle

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Re: Thoughts on Storytelling and Puzzle
« Reply #3 on: 09 Feb 2018, 09:43 »
I have an idea for this puzzle for my horror game where the circumstances doesn't make too much sense, but since its a good puzzle and the puzzle itself help sells the immersion, should I even care?

If there is any way to make the circumstances more logical then I think you should do so. Foreshadowing the setup earlier in the game for example. And if the horror game involves the supernatural you can get away with a lot more. For example: Why does the puzzle need a doll, a hat, and a yo-yo? Because these were all items that belonged to the ghost of course (Crude example but you get the idea...)

If not then I would say use the puzzle anyway. People generally care more about the gameplay than the story making 100% sense, although you will hear complaints about it from some people of course.

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Re: Thoughts on Storytelling and Puzzle
« Reply #4 on: 09 Feb 2018, 12:25 »
I think it's important to state that not all plot holes are equal.
You can have gaping plot holes that demand an answer, such as how Snoke managed to not be found and killed by Palpatine. And then you have tiny plot holes, such as why Stormtroopers can't hit anything despite having been previously stated to be perfect marksmen.
These are things that could usually easily be explained in the films, but weren't, hence why they're holes in the plot. (Of course not all plot holes can be explained, but I find that most can to some extent.)

Something to note is that the little plot holes will usually be explained away by fans, usually quite convincingly. The big plot holes on the other hand will usually be ignored by fans, who will state that they're not important.

In my opinion, every film does indeed have plot holes. If you analyse it long enough, you will definitely find at least one. But some films have much bigger plot holes and a much larger quantity of them, than others. And this can be distracting to the film, and ruin your immersion. It's a bit hard to stay immersed when the film constantly contradicts it's own internal logic with no explanation.

You probably have been overly self-criticising you own work though. Since that is a common thing most creators do.

Ilyich

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Re: Thoughts on Storytelling and Puzzle
« Reply #5 on: 09 Feb 2018, 14:38 »
I think finding plot holes has become a popular way of criticizing narrative works because it feels like objective criteria, and we are always on the lookout for 'objective' means of rationalizing how we feel about art and culture.  Which makes sense - how do you even talk about something, if it all just boils down to subjective perceptions? We can't help but like things that are this cut and dried - having plot holes = bad, not having plot holes = good.

But the problem with objective criticisms is that they tend to be (almost by definition) surface-deep, and as such - largely useless when it comes to explaining why we respond positively or negatively to a work as a whole.
So my suggestion in this matter is to treat plot holes as any other element, and to mostly consider how they contribute to the story as a whole. Does having those plot holes detract from the main goals you were setting out to achieve with your story? Does not having them makes a meaningful difference? If you take a David Lynch film (or a show) - it's quite clear that explaining everything neatly and 'fixing' the many, many plot holes would not just be inadvisable - it would simply be impossible while maintaining the same surreal tone and feel.

I think most creators are very familiar with the desire to explain and justify questionable details of their scripts - you don't want to hear people complain about a problem you were aware of, after all. But over-explaining has become one of my pet peeves over the years. Games are particularly bad at this, since, unlike films, they have the time and space to do a lot of over-explaining. Resist that urge, though - in most cases you'll only be drawing attention to something unimportant. Going on unnecessary tangents can be fun and worthwhile, but you should not do that to the detriment of the natural flow of your story.

Of course, my opinions on the matter come from my subjective experiences, and I have to admit that I can't recall ever being truly bothered by a plot hole in a story (except for in the stories I've tried to write myself, naturally :)). I'm sure there are many people much more sensitive to that sort of thing, but my main point here is rather simple - you don't have to care about it. There is no right or wrong in art.

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Re: Thoughts on Storytelling and Puzzle
« Reply #6 on: 09 Feb 2018, 16:08 »
I'm bothered by major, noticeable plot holes, but people tend to be way too quick to proclaim "PLOT HOLE!" Just because something is unexplained, that doesn't make it a plot hole, as long as a reasonable explanation can straightforwardly be imagined without impact on the rest of the narrative.

So, for example, how Bruce Wayne makes it back to Gotham from India in The Dark Knight Rises is not remotely a plot hole, because it's well established in the movies that:

-He spent years traveling the world and this region specifically. He knows how to get around.
-He's a former billionaire socialite. I'm sure he has billionaire friends he could ask for a lift on their private jet.
-He's the goddamn Batman.

Based on this, it's extremely easy to imagine how he got back, and it no more needs explanation than when we see a character at home in one scene and then in the office in another.

... Sorry, it's just something that always annoyed me when people would complain about it.

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Re: Thoughts on Storytelling and Puzzle
« Reply #7 on: 09 Feb 2018, 16:43 »
Quote
If you take a David Lynch film (or a show) - it's quite clear that explaining everything neatly and 'fixing' the many, many plot holes would not just be inadvisable - it would simply be impossible while maintaining the same surreal tone and feel.
Aside from plot holes, explanations are a matter of balance IMO.

Over-explaining things can leave no room for interpretation and reduce the impact of a work.
Under-explaining can be bad too if you get no point across.

I watched Mulholland Drive a few years ago and it didn’t leave its mark on me.
Later, I read an interesting analysis which encouraged me to replay it and I enjoyed it more the second time.
« Last Edit: 09 Feb 2018, 16:46 by Creamy »