I've been away for a while taking a break from Yukionna, but I'm back and cranking out some words now.
You might be wondering what this break was about.
I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't spending all my time playing Mass Effect in the little breaks I got between twelve hour shifts.
Now before you tell me to take this post to the Anime, Games and Japan forum, take heed, this is a thread about writing.
And writing it shall be about.
I'm sure I'm not the only one in this forum that has played Mass Effect, but just for disclaimer's sake there will be spoilers for the third installment in this post. I will be using these spoilers as examples, as in I will haul them onto a stage and gut them to an audience of medieval peasants throwing rocks at the offender and screaming "KILL KILL!"
Maybe I went a bit far with that metaphor, but you'll understand if you've played Mass Effect 3 and beaten it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you much tips yes please.
By now everyone and their mother has beaten ME3, and is quite irate about the endings... or lack thereof.
These endings are shoddily written, full of plot holes twice the size of the hole the ice berg tore in the titanic, and they don't feel like they belong in a game as excellent as Mass Effect 3 or its predecessors.
Welcome to my list.
The First Plot Hole: Circular Logic
The first nonsensical thing that happens is at the end of it all. Now I know some of you reading this may not have played, so let me give the short version. You play as Commander Shepard in a shooter/RPG hybrid. The main enemies are giant sentient Cthulhu spaceships called Reapers that murder and harvest organic life every 50,000 years.
Why? We don't know, maybe they just like the sound of us screaming, but I'll get to that soon.
You build the super weapon in the third one, which IS kinda Deus Ex Machina, but it's excusable and works itself into the plot without shoving aside other things that matter.
At the end, the mentor character, Anderson, bites the dust, and Shepard, wounded and wobbly from an earlier Reaper attack, struggles to activate the super weapon, which isn't firing like it's supposed to.
Shep passes out...
And everything from this point forward is complete and utter bullshit.
Shep gets taken up by some random elevator of light to the center of the gigantic Citadel he is on, and we are introduced to an AI that claims to control the Reapers, and its reasons for exterminating organic life are that every once in a while Organics create robots and are killed by those robots.
Doesn't sound stupid enough?
That plot was used in Terminator right?
Yeah, and then you remind yourself that the REAPERS are ROBOTS that kill ALL space faring organic life every 50,000 years.
So... let's follow this line of logic.
To prevent organics from being killed by robots, robots come and kill them every 50,000 years.
NEVER give your antagonist a rushed reason for doing what he does. Always think it out.
Why is my bad guy doing these things? Is he psychotic? Did he lose his mind because his wife was taken from him violently? Is he doing it for the greater good? Does he get off on hurting people?
Or maybe, maybe the sentient space Cthulu's are killing us all for something that makes sense, that humanity would never accept without a fight, kinda like Gurren Lagann, I would have accepted that.
Reapers kill us every 50,000 years to prevent some other robots from killing us.
Maybe they're just yandere for organic life.
"No one else can kill you but me Humanity, I love you just that much, will you stay with me until your 50,000 years are up?"
Yandere Reapers would have been a helluva lot better than what Bioware gave us.
Never, ever ever EVER give your characters flimsy motivation. If someone is important in your story give them a background. The only time a character should be having circular logic or flat motives is if its a parody. If a writer pulls a stunt like this it makes their work laughable, and it makes it look like they ran out of time and couldn't think of anything else before they rushed their product out the door.
I would never do this disservice to my characters, and you shouldn't either dear readers.
The Second Plot Hole: OOC Main Character
Okay, granted, this is an RPG, you make choices, you play a role, YOU decide how your Shepard acts and what his motives are for saving the galaxy.
However, there is a certain responsibility that comes with this.
For three games we have shaped our Shepards into heroes of justice that never give up, or ruthless space agents that don't take crap from anyone, hell we've even taken the two sides of that coin and put them in various blenders.
But not once, not ever, has Shepard ever given in or accepted the fate that the Reapers force upon the galaxy.
This is the one constant.
No matter how you play your Shepard he never gives up.
He gets worn down, sometimes maybe even loses a little hope, but he never gives up.
Yet when this AI tells him he has limited choices to find a solution to the organic vs. robot problem, he says nothing.
He just accepts it.
There is no third option to take.
This is a huge mistake with the narrative. Mass Effect is about overcoming insurmountable odds, among this narrative the ending feels lazy and out of place, and Shepard not acting like a shepherd is the icing on the cake.
If you have a narrative try and stick with it.
That's not to say you can't have cute things in a horror story, or you can't have happiness in something that's usually depressing, just make sure your ending and climaxes aren't a complete betrayal of your established groundwork.
ME was never about humans vs. robots, it was about the power of friendship... no I'm completely serious here, it really was.
If I took Yukionna, a romance about a guy and a ghost hunting the creepies of the night, and it suddenly shifted axis into a harem VN, the result would be disgusting and out of place.
Narrative is what matters dear reader, narrative is your God, and your characters are its subjects.
Final Plot Hole: The Shoddy Groundwork
The ending is happening, and suddenly the dialogue doesn't sound right. It sounds like someone was on their last leg of writing and wanted to just be friggin' done with it already.
This one will be short.
Give your work the love it deserves.
When you get to that last 10% don't rush things so you can get it out there for people to read, this is the worst thing you could do.
Every moment of you creating whatever it is your creating should be filled with love for your work and your audience.
This is the point of writing.
As writers, we are attention whores, and we love it when people praise us.
The best thing we could do for ourselves is to EARN that praise.
Dear reader, never cheat your audience, always give them your best, and they will know it, and they will love you for it.
Anyways, that's about the close for me.
I didn't even cover half of the stuff wrong with the ME3 ending, just the stuff that I could weave into a lesson about writing.
Just trust me when I say don't do what Bioware did.
Never sell yourself short when you know you can do better.
Currently trying to regain my sanity.Yukionna Project Thread