Mirror mirror

Specifics about craft, talent, technique, etc.
Mr H
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2019 5:02 pm

Mirror mirror

Postby Mr H » Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:44 am

I discovered (noticed) a thing.

Exciting, isn't it?

Some films, if not stories, have mirrored beginnings and endings.

Eg. Star Wars. Empire ship defeats rebel ship then darth Vader appears - darth Vader exits, then the rebels defeat the empire.

JP. Film. A raptor - birds.

Predator. A hunters pod launches from a ship - Dutch, the prey, is rescued by the chopper.

King Kong. The old proverb - it's reality.

LOTR. Films. Gandalf comes to meet Frodo - Frodo leaves Gandalf.

Baby secret of the lost legend. Bad guy stabs someone for photos proving the dinosaur exists - dinosaur kills bad guy, preserving the mystery.

And on and on.

Anyone have any info on this for writing?

I want to look into it more to see how far you can take it.

Are there books/films that are completely mirrored at the centre?
Lots of R
36 Q1 R
36 Q2 R
36 Q3 R
36 Q4 R
37 Q1 HM (happy dance may have occurred)
37 Q2 R
37 Q3 R
37 Q4 R
38 Q1 ? (Hmm... Let me guess.)

RabenWrites
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:44 am

Re: Mirror mirror

Postby RabenWrites » Tue Dec 29, 2020 1:21 pm

There's a couple different things that can come into play here. The concept of story circles, where the end comes back round to where the story began, is as old as Aristotle, and you see it in more modern structure concepts like Campbell's Hero's Journey (Vogler's adaptation Writer's Journey) to Dan Harmon's (of Community and Rick and Morty fame) Story Circle.

Humans like closure, and ending with a mirrored beginning shows both authorial intent and offers a chance to show how the character/world has changed over the course of the story. In many ways it can serve as a handy little story summary without the tripe of the author spelling out a moral.

The last line, asking about stories mirrored around the midpoint, reminds me of a structure common in ancient works called chiasmus. I don't know of any modern works that go out of their way to be exactly chiastic in nature, but that's the trick: if done right you don't notice anything other than the satisfaction of a 'good ending'.
V37 Q4 -SHM

Mr H
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2019 5:02 pm

Re: Mirror mirror

Postby Mr H » Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:27 pm

Thank you very much for that, and your comments elsewhere (I'll give others a chance there).

This kind of thing makes both reading and writing much more fun and enjoyable for me. Also makes better stories.

Oddly, I think this is not an intended structure, or unique. Ive thought on a story I wrote and another's I was reading, there's very short, and both exhibit this effect, both seemingly unintentional. I may think this can be seen in any story. I need to delve further into this. All help welcome.
Lots of R
36 Q1 R
36 Q2 R
36 Q3 R
36 Q4 R
37 Q1 HM (happy dance may have occurred)
37 Q2 R
37 Q3 R
37 Q4 R
38 Q1 ? (Hmm... Let me guess.)

RabenWrites
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:44 am

Re: Mirror mirror

Postby RabenWrites » Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:43 pm

That's the thing with structure, it needn't be intentional. While I'm a big fan of studying story structure and have spreadsheets arraying a half dozen different popular ones across each other, I'd say the vast majority of story creators aren't working from such a rigid base. They are descriptive, not prescriptive.

My biggest foray into discovery writing was an epic story I attempted last NaNoWriMo, turns out even though I didn't plan anything ahead of time many of the elements of structure that I may have otherwise worked to force into place turned up anyway.

It all boils down to fundamentals: what does a beginning have to do? Establish tone, character, setting and plot. What does a middle have to do? Develop the above in engaging and interesting ways. What does an ending have to do? Resolve on the promises made previously and highlight the changes that the character/world/reader has undergone in the process of the story.

The particles in a box don't 'know' the harmonic laws, but rattle them around enough and the laws that get taught to suffering physics students become evident. I think the ever-changing elements bounded in the constraints of a story resonate to their own rhythm and structurists come along and slap labels on everything. The key is for most of us on the creative end of things is to find whatever helps us put words on the page.

If finding structure does that for you, awesome. If the thought of 'rules' paralyzes you, ignore those who tout them. Getting words on the page is paramount.

Edit: if you want the closest thing to what I consider the 'laws' of story harmonics, check out Michael Hauge's five key turning points of successful screenplays. He may fall more on the prescriptive end of things, but I'm certain the films he analyzes weren't written with any formula in mind and yet it (or my adaptation of it) has served me well in analyzing film, novels, shorts, even story driven music videos.
V37 Q4 -SHM

Reuben
Posts: 131
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 10:38 am
Location: New York

Re: Mirror mirror

Postby Reuben » Wed Dec 30, 2020 6:34 am

Ending where one began is a common and easy way to wrap up a story and make it look cohesive. Although there are other ways to achieve the effect, this is the easiest, whether it be through plot, or setting or dialog, although setting is the most common, I think. For example, the first time I saw this was in The Weapon Shop (A. E. van Vogt) in which it starts out when he is walking through a dew filled night, his wife beside him, and ends the same way.

If you look at Kary English's stories, a lot of them use this technique. Totaled and Flight of the Kikayon both invoke an image and a scent. Poseidon's Eyes (her winner) actually did have it, with the last paragraph perfectly mirroring the first, but it was edited out (I think to its benefit).

(I think the key to this and all endings is to not have it sound forced. I think in Poseidon's Eyes it looked having the last paragraph mirror the first made it sound preachy and forced. So she changed it, and the last sentence was magical. )

This type of circle ending doesn't always have to mirror the very beginning, however. (While it might not be called by the same name,) using a specific image through part of the story, then emphasizing it at the end, has the same effect. The aforementioned Flight of the Kikayon (https://grantvillegazette.com/article/publish-587) is an example of this. It gives the reader a sense of cohesiveness, a sense of peace, a sense of finality.
Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. ~ Winston Churchill
V. 37: R, R, R, HM
V. 38: ?,

User avatar
Dustin Adams
Posts: 1916
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:47 am
Location: IN MY HOUSE!
Contact:

Re: Mirror mirror

Postby Dustin Adams » Thu Dec 31, 2020 7:16 am

H,
This is a known design (first?) explained by Blake Snyder in Save The Cat!

This link should open/download a 4 page PDF for you:
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... xgCKFppqKr
If not, do a search for Blake Snyder beat sheet explained.

Check out Lego Batman for the most blatant example of this. It literally starts with a black screen and Batman saying "Darkness"... The last image is a white screen...

I attempt this as often as possible.
I open with a funeral, end with a birth.
Open with an accident, end with a blanket of snow and accident cleaned up.
Sunrise, sunset.
As often as I can in the same place, or at least metaphorically.
2x Finalist
2x Semi
4x Silver
9x HM
Eight EDF stories. DSF: Short Story. My Semi-F My Finalist #1

Mr H
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2019 5:02 pm

Re: Mirror mirror

Postby Mr H » Thu Dec 31, 2020 1:20 pm

Thanks. It works fine.

It has to be natural. Another older story of mine opens with chaps in a room executing someone. It ends with the chaps in the room eating a spaceship! I was just tying up loose ends, no intention of any sort of mirroring. From memory it also seemed to go further into the story, but I haven't looked yet to check.

That said identifying, adding, massaging and polishing such things can only be good.

BTW. Predator. I want to check this at some point. Great film. Getting even better. The team in the choppers going on the mission have Long Tall Sally blearing among a bunch of fun. Same place?? Near the end sees Mac singing the song not having much fun. From memory Mac is the only one (Dutch too??) Without any real lines/fun in the chopper. Actually this may be an odd one as I suspect it's mirrored as per the team, as there still seems to be a lot of solo Dutch to follow. I will have to dig further (Like actually watching the film again! Hurrah!).

Rambling now, but the film also has 4 chopper scenes. The tiles at the start, going out, finding hopper, then a huge jump to the end. Maybe they mirror something else, or it uses a stretched at one end type of mirroring. Or I'm just loopy. Must watch film.
Lots of R
36 Q1 R
36 Q2 R
36 Q3 R
36 Q4 R
37 Q1 HM (happy dance may have occurred)
37 Q2 R
37 Q3 R
37 Q4 R
38 Q1 ? (Hmm... Let me guess.)

Mr H
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2019 5:02 pm

Re: Mirror mirror

Postby Mr H » Sun Jan 03, 2021 2:13 pm

For those who care. I watched and took some scene/time notes on Predator. I'll analyse it at some point. There are more than four chopper scenes, especially including the ship at the start. It's crazy with then. The ship, the teams arrival, mission insertion, the one in the tree, the one blowing up, the rescue. That's a lot of choppers. Plus the jeeps at the start and the truck in the camp.

I have noticed a lot of one, twos going on, as opposed to one, two, threes. The flask is shown once before Mac leaves it with Blaine's body. However even that seems a two, showing Blaine's body before it's shown missing and a one showing it is at the location before being taken. Also Anna tries to escape, then does escape. One, two. The blood is shown a lot. One on the leaves, then when Anna rubs it off, the preds field first aid, then she mentions it to the others. Not to mention the blood trail and blood when the preds hit by the log. That's a lot of blood. Should I start on guns?? Not now, I've rambled enough.
Lots of R
36 Q1 R
36 Q2 R
36 Q3 R
36 Q4 R
37 Q1 HM (happy dance may have occurred)
37 Q2 R
37 Q3 R
37 Q4 R
38 Q1 ? (Hmm... Let me guess.)


Return to “Writing: Craft, Talent, Technique”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests