Mix it up

December 24, 2013

My favorite stories aren’t pure. Pure romances, pure comedies, pure adventures, pure action flicks…they can all be good, but I prefer more variety in a story. A little of many flavors makes for a more varied and delightful experience.

Take romance. If romance is all a story is offering, there needs to be strong romantic developments fairly quickly, otherwise it will become boring (and aggravating) quickly. But most romances only have so many steps (meeting, getting closer, the kiss, etc.), so a pure romance can be over very fast. That’s fine in my book, except many storytellers don’t want to end their stories quickly. Then the romance turns sour.

Take action. Some well-done action can be quite good, but nothing but action, action, and more action can get boring quickly. It’s like eating the same food all the time, until your once favorite flavors turn to ash in your mouth.

Take comedy. A good comedy is wonderful, but if there’s nothing but jokes then your jokes must work, because as soon as they fall flat, you’ve got nothing. If there’s more going on in the story though, there’s something to keep the audience around until the next joke comes.

Yes, there is no such thing as a truly “pure” romance, comedy, adventure, or action story. Every story has other flavors mixed in, a spot of romance, an occasional joke, a dramatic revelation. Yet it’s the ones that more strongly mix in the various flavors – an adventure with good action, a strong romantic subplot, and the occasional funny situation set to make me smile, for instance – that lights my fire on most strongly. Alone I may get tired of any one of those flavors, but together they make for something truly delicious.

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By Stephen W. Gee

Author of Wage Slave Rebellion, Freelance Heroics, and about two good blog posts out of a hundred.


  1. Reply


    Yeah, I totaly agree. I don’t usually tend to like pure genre stories. It’s all about that I prefer realism and variety in a story is much more realistic. Just like in live. There is always a little bit of everything. Sometimes you have fun with friends and it’s like a comedy, the other time something bad happens and you get to meet more dramatic side of live but there is no life that is pure.

    But there is also a problem that writers sometimes try to mix to much. Adding comedy to everything isn’t the best way to sell. Sometimes it works, but to much variety or flavors added to offen can ruin experience and be a no goog choice as well.

    Aside of that, I’m a little curious how someone becomes writer on random curiosity? You send some test article to staff or what exactly? Not that I’m going to try, it would be really hard for nonnative. Just plain curiosity.

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    2. Reply


      You’re right that mixing too much can dilute that which makes the story interesting and distinctive, and that’s something I should have mentioned.

      As for becoming a writer on RandomC, usually through emailing myself or divine (our names + @randomc.net) and somehow convincing us that we need to bring you on. I managed it, but it might be hard at the moment since we’re pretty happy with our writers right now : )

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    Personally, mixing in other flavours for the story isn’t just more entertaining, it is essential to create more complex characters and flavourful story.

    My favourite example is Kaori Yuki who has written some of the gothic-est melodrama-est mangas EVER yet never forget to put in some pure dumb moments, which helps a lot towards endearing her characters to the audiences. A gallon of constantly brooding beautiful murderous people could be too much even for the target audiences, so Yuki never forget to give her mangas some surreal moments that allow her characters to show their other sides. One of Yuki’s most bone-chilling chapters features a character finding the truth behind a well-crafted conspiracy plan by being an oppai-obsessed pervert! (Apparently, the villainess didn’t count on a guy remembering every detail on a woman’s breast.)

    On the opposite end of that is ‘Bleach’, which is a really sad case. Back when Bleach first started, it had a ] great mix of action, drama and comedy. The characters were badass, sad, and stupidly endearing at the same time. I loved all these characters for that, and I wanted to keep reading about them because I wanted to see them succeed and be as happy as they could. Then, Tite Kubo turned Bleach into a non-stop action marathon with a continuous side offer of power level inflation. No more well-timed drama. Nary anymore comedy. Good bye character’s complexity. Now I frankly don’t give a damn about them nor Bleach.

    TLDR; When authors forget that there can be other sides to the stories, the characters lose chances to display their other sides, and the story will suffer from being either shallow or too monotonous.

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      Very, very true. Some authors forget that the element that got them where they are isn’t the only element that got them there – it was that (supported by all the others) that made their work so great. A flag cannot stand without the pole which supports it.

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