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On The Scale of Worm

Discussion in 'Worm' started by apoc, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. Mishie

    Mishie Fat Dog

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    To me, probably the simplest way to deal with the huge difference in scale from well, pre timeskip to post timeskip would have been to just end Worm after she became Weaver and leave the Scion shit for the sequel. The huge differences in tone and scale would have made sense then because well, they're two difference stories. But the fact that they're stuck together just makes it a jarring transition from the small scale character driven focus of the pre timeskip segment to the huge rush and oppressive goal of post timeskip where everything was all about saving the world.

    Hell, I remember one of the reasons why I started to read Worm in the first place was that somebody said "It's like comic book superhero shit, but none of the dumb 'lol save the universe' escalation bullshit", and then y'know, that exact thing happened.
     
  2. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Wildbow did mention at one point that his editing was going to include increasing the times between the various almost-world ending incidents, since everything happens ridiculously quickly. I'm hoping that actually happens because we'll likely get some chapters of additional character interaction between the Undersiders, which I think were the best parts of the story.
     
  3. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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    IIRC, he said that he will, at least, definitely include one arc with the Chicago Wards. That's pretty cool, since they didn't leave much of an impact with me, the shadow of the Undersiders was just that much larger, but some more exposure to them would be nice, even if we know that Taylor will never be as close to them as she will be with the Undersiders.

    But yeah, there might be additional arcs, or fleshing out some existing ones.
     
  4. theronin

    theronin Order Member

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    This is more or less what I was trying to say in me earlier post. The story can work, it's just not really the same story as Taylor's story that we were following through the opening arcs.
     
  5. Koalas

    Koalas Dark Lord DLP Supporter

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    I find this really interesting actually with Eden dying, Scion isn't sure how to properly test. So he goes to his default Warrior status and throws out the biggest baddies he can think of, challenge the shards on multiple levels. Develop the Key shards to the point that he can 'reassemble' Eden. The only issue with this avenue is how you kill the Endbringers. Scion intervention makes sense, can't have promising Shard users terminate too soon, but I can't think of a single situation where he'd be forced to destroy an Endbringer.
     
  6. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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    Do they have to be defeated? I like the idea that they just can't. It's like the failures of your body that comes with age. For some things, there is no cure, you just have to deal with those ailments for now. There is no Endbringer solution, except maybe evacuate Earth, and with that, all the problems that come with that move.
     
  7. Koalas

    Koalas Dark Lord DLP Supporter

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    So Tattletale's Portal plan bears fruit, spread people around trap the Endbringers on the planet. In that scenario though the Simurgh either does some Tinker shenanigans or Scion goes 'fuck no'. Can't have the Eden assembly be put off schedule.
     
  8. Jarik

    Jarik Chief Warlock

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    That's a good change I think and agree on everything you said. It always seemed ridiculous to consider that the Taylor at the end of Cell only had 3 months of experience from the Taylor at the start. Her personality changed too much, her bonds with the Undersiders was too deep, and her reputation had grown too far to be that short of a period of time.

    Everything pre-Leviathan doesn't necessarily need more scenes, just needs to be written as a longer period of time - months instead of weeks. It already felt like that anyway.

    Everything post Leviathan could do with some padding. Some spacing in between the Merchants, S9/Coil/Echidna (these three work well together), the Fallen, Teeth - just a bit of daily life to reinforce the bonds between the characters, and bring the tension down a bit before introducing yet another epic enemy.
     
  9. VereorNox

    VereorNox Bomb Turban

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    From chat, Wildbow once mentioned that he is not only going to scrap the time-skip, or at least make the transition less bad, he's also going to scrap the S9000 arc, knowing that the majority of the fandom was dissatisfied with it.
     
  10. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

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    That is excellent news. The best thing about the Slaughterhouse 9 was that they were all pretty terrifying by themselves. To have them reduced to mooks did a disservice to them that left a lot of readers feeling underwhelmed. I mean, look at the Siberian. Once they found out that Manton was behind her she just because a joke, especially with the Manton Cube thing that I think was Wildbow attempting to get rid of the most powerful member straight away.
     
  11. Thinker6

    Thinker6 First Year

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    It definitely pressures writers to ramp up to the cosmic level. I've seen lots of writers say things like "it's hard to write a Worm story because you have to come up with a solution to deal with the Slaughterhouse Nine/Contessa/Endbringers/Scion."

    My reaction is: why? You're writing a story, not playing a video game. There's no obligation to 'beat the setting'. If the story that flows from your mind is about B-list capes who stay in their hometown, that's perfectly fine. Keep your story at the level that's comfortable for you. You don't have to follow the stations of canon. The setting is actually very flexible.

    More interested in team dynamics than Endbringer attacks and Slaughterhouse Shenanigans? Then write your team dynamics, and have Leviathan hit somewhere else instead of Brockton Bay. Endbringer attacks are random and unpredictable, it's perfectly plausible that Leviathan hits San Diego instead.

    More inspired to write gang vs gang vs PRT conflicts than facing Cauldron and Contessa's plots? Then write your city level conflicts and leave Cauldron and Contessa to the fringes. Cauldron keeps its involvement in power-granting super secret. There's no reason for your character to take notice of it; the canon characters only became aware of it because of a bunch of coincidences and Tattletale's investigations. Contessa keeps herself busy intervening around the globe in the biggest hot spots to head off giant disasters. Even if your characters become big players and make waves it's perfectly plausible that Contessa doesn't feel a need to intervene in their affairs*.

    Not feeling inspired for writing convincing fight and defeat of Scion? Then don't write a fight and defeat of Scion. It's fine if Scion doesn't go mad in your story. There was never any guarantee that Scion would go mad in 2013; maybe Cauldron's plan fails and he goes off later. And if he does go mad, it's fine if your characters don't take part in the fight. Dinah's prophecy said there's a good chance that a big fraction of humanity will still be left after Scion's rampage. You can do a few chapters of your characters coping with the world being destroyed around them, and then go straight into a post-apocalyptic setting. Have Scion kill 50% of humanity and then get bored, or have him get taken out by different capes than in canon, or have it be left ambiguous so that your characters never find out what happened to end the threat, only hearing rumors and hearsay**.

    So don't feel pressured to follow the same plot points as canon! In fact, taking a different path can be more fresh and interesting! Treat the global threats as 'random encounters'. Canon Worm had a lot of them, but you don't have to. You have the freedom to pick and choose. Put in the 'random encounters' when they advance the story you want to tell.

    If you want your story to have an emotional climax like "The protagonist's team takes over the city", or "The protagonist's team gets in over their head and goes out in a blaze of glory in a mutual wipeout with their rival gang", or "The protagonist redeems herself and becomes a true hero", or "The protagonist finally wins the admiration of her favorite cape and becomes their apprentice", or "The protagonist reconciles with her family and gets accepted at her top pick for university", or "The protagonist marries her sweetheart", or anything else...that's fine too!


    * This is a peeve of mine. I've read a bunch of stories that started with perfectly good street level plots, and then they throw in an interlude where Dinah or Contessa or Simurgh puts a cryptic letter in the protagonist's mailbox and steeples her fingers and says "All according to plan." (or "I've done my part. From here on out, it all depends on -insert protagonist name here-.").

    I guess it's supposed to build audience intrigue and signal that the protagonist is going to be a big cheese, and it does get about 5 reader comments saying "Oh shit! The Simurgh has plans for Taylor!"...but it's always seemed unnecessary to me, and almost ruins the sense of agency for the characters, making it seem like they're being shoehorned into a cosmic role by the author, instead of it flowing from them naturally.

    Look how Worm handled it. Dinah's prophecies had only a tiny hint that Taylor is in any way special (she says Taylor will be present at the apocalypse, but changed), and even her 'cut ties' message was super ambiguous about Taylor's importance (was she telling Taylor to 'cut ties' to help save the world, or for Taylor's sake? does cutting ties raise the odds by a lot, or a little?). Cauldron and Contessa's focus on Brockton Bay was on Coil; they only switched to Skitter when she took his place as the strongest parahuman leader in the city (not because of any precognitive plans to do so), and besides they were hands off of Brockton Bay as part of their experiment. And the Simurgh arguably used Taylor, but she never give any indication of taking notice of her for the first 27 arcs of the story; she screwed with the Travelers and Panacea's transmission from the Birdcage, not Taylor.

    In short, Wildbow took great pains to write his story to preserve Taylor's sense of agency. No matter what excuses Taylor told to herself, Taylor wasn't simply a precog's pawn, she became a big player in the cosmic resolution of Worm because of 75%+ her own initiative.


    ** The idea that Taylor/Khepri was needed to beat Scion is fanon. She helped, but the key parts of the plan came from others. The idea that Taylor was part of Contessa's path to stop Scion is also fanon, and incorrect. Check the end of Interlude 29. Contessa was surprised to see Taylor go Khepri. Besides, Scion is one of her blind spots so she couldn't see strategies specialized for his weak points. So don't feel obligated to write your story so that Taylor is destined to be key player in the apocalypse; it's fine if she's a low-level player in the story, maybe more concerned with her family and her team with global catastrophe, while some other capes take up the slack.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
  12. Koalas

    Koalas Dark Lord DLP Supporter

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    Wasn't it said, or at least implied, that all the Endbringer attacks have some kind of purpose behind them, beyond the obvious property damage? Iirc Leviathan specifically came because of Echidnas presence.
     
  13. Thinker6

    Thinker6 First Year

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    That was implied, but as Number Man points out in 27.2, Brockton Bay was just one of many critical points of conflict around the globe. I'd guess that Leviathan was picking from a menu of 4-5 coastline targets of similar ripeness (which is a reason why Endbringer attacks are so unpredictable). I'd find it completely plausible if he picked a different one in a fanfic AU.