Christmas cocoa

Ensembleness

This month's submission theme at Crossed Genres is "ensemble", and I'd really like to submit something to it, although that means writing something before the 30th -- which I'm not sure is an achievable goal, but hey, worth a try, right?

So here's a question for you guys. What would you like to see more of in ensembles -- i.e. groups of characters, and stories focused on them? One of the posts on my reading list this morning talked about how rare it is to get the viewpoint of grumpy-mentor characters in fantasy, which made me go "hmmmm" and prod my creative brain a bit.

What are some of yours? Favorite tropes? Tropes you'd like to see subverted/avoided?

This entry is also posted at http://sholio.dreamwidth.org/982165.html with comment count unavailable comments.
Avengers or White Collar ensemble cast (Coulson Lives!/Neal's Free!), and wintery theme or treasure hunting? Pretty please?
Oh shoot, I'm sorry if I was unclear - Crossed Genres is an original fiction 'zine, so I'm not looking for fanfic prompts, I'm fishing for ideas of what sort of things people like in original fiction! (Although these do sound like awfully fun ideas!) Is there anything you might wish to see more of in original stories with ensembles? :)
Ah! My mistake! :) (In my defense, it's nearing nine o'clock at night, and I've been up since six thirty/seven am, so I'm probably reading this crosseyed, lol)

I have no clue about original fiction. Original fiction that you write, or have already written? If the first one, then: guy gets guy through means with help from an awesome past girlfriend? If second one: I, uh, haven't read much of your original fiction. Something from your graphic novel series that I don't currently remember the name of?

But I love most of what you write, so anything at all would be nice. ;)
Augh, I still fail at communicating, apparently! >_> Crossed Genres is soliciting fiction with the theme "Ensemble" this month, and I'd like to write a story to submit to them. Since I'm stuck for ideas, I'm asking people about their favorite ensemble-related tropes and themes, to maybe give me an idea of what to write about. "Treasure hunt" is actually pretty useful for that, at least in terms of giving me some ideas.

Thank you very much for the kind comments about my writing, though; I really appreciate it! :)
No, you don't fail at communicating, I'm just that dense. :D

Does this help-I browsed your dreamwidth for ideas, and I think this is what you sort of mean? (I'm sorry for all the miscommunicating, by the way, usually I understand these things better, but this is sort of new to me!)

LIKES:
-people who are secretly awesome (like Donna from the new Doctor Who show)
-impossible treasure hunts that take place in space (like when Cameron Mitchell went on that ridiculous treasure hunt w/Vala?)
-unintentional marriages but the two that get married wind up falling in love with one another anyway (in a magical setting would be nice, with one of them being some kind of shapeshifter?)
-something along the lines of Artemis Fowl, but the genius is actually a woman character who fights evil? (Does that make sense? lol)
-guy who looses memories, was formerly a bad guy, but is now an awesome character of goodness with a whole inner 'why did I do those awful things, I'm a monster, no one loves me' trope? (did I get that right?)

I hope those are better ideas? If anything, like I said, I like your writing. Whatever you write, I'll probably love! (And your welcome, I honestly mean that-every fandom you get into, save for a few that I've not yet managed to get into such as the one with Korra?-which one is that again? because I've heard a lot of it from your journal, but I just could never get into it because I either didn't have the time/means of watching the show-and invisible man, because I'm not gonna have internet to watch the show for long-though it looks right up my ally!

Wow, that went on a bit longer than I meant it too, lol!
I'm rather fond (at least in fanfic, it could be harder to do in short original... but I can see it working) is taking a single incident or idea and then spinning it into a group of little 'stories', each from the POV of one of the characters, to show how they handle it or it affects them (eg, years ago I did several little sets for all the Blakes 7 characters, one on nightmares, on how they handled boring duty, on "what happened after the end'...)

I absolutely love outsider POV on "heroes" of the story. If it's sympathetic and doesn't turn the outsider into a "fanboy" or "fangirl" but lets them have their own life/goals and yet clearly tells the story of the other people that just hits all kinds of buttons for me.
I always enjoy the group dynamic. How does a diverse group come together and actually work as an ensemble without killing one another by the end.
I kind of like the trope (if it's a trope?) of having individuals who are experts in their area, all in different areas (though there can be some overlapping of areas and 'x' can pick up tips from 'y' on 'y's area, though 'y' is still the expert, of course!) - and that when you put all their different skills together, they form one formidable team/ensemble for good over evil. Throw in some interpersonal team bonding/team as family-ness, plus some character flaws and occasional errors (ie they're not 100% goody-goodys or totally infallible/invincible), then that sounds like a fun fic to me!
Funnily, the first thing I thought of when I saw "ensemble" was an ensemble cast in a musical. Totally unhelpful, but, for the record, I tend to love the big cast numbers far better than most of the solo songs (Les Mis cast numbers all come to mind...)

But, from there, I thought of how much I love it when you see people, who may bicker or fight off hours, come together like a well-oiled machine in a crisis. Like the crew of a ship each performing their assigned roles perfectly in order to fight off an enemy (navigator, weapons, shields...) to the point where they don't even need a captain. In a way, it is like a big dance number in a ballet, when you get all the dancers on stage. At first, they seem out of sync, but then, suddenly, the music swells and they're all up in the air at the same time, landing perfectly together and moving like one. I'm a huge sucker for that sort of trope.

I also always love the "heist" trope -- Oceans 11-esque. I love a good ensemble heist movie or show. Probably why I liked Leverage so much.

As for ensemble tropes I don't like, that's a little harder. I suppose I don't like the idea of people who are so different from each other, or who dislike each other so much, it's unrealistic to see them working together. There needs to be an underlying connection. For example, I can see Magneto and Charles working together, but I have a harder time seeing Batman and the Joker working together. (And now I'm using comic book examples...) I know survival is a useful means to bring opposites together, but I tend to find those sorts of connections unsatisfying. I guess I like more.

Hope I got this right! By the way, you are so awesome -- you solved my exposition problem! I did what you suggested for the story (keep it in New York) and it worked! Unfortunately, I've discovered that I have other problems. Like, lifting off the big problem has revealed smaller ones. LOL! But they're a lot more fun to deal with (like, how to make my villain less two-dimensional). I so owe you one!
Right now I'm having a lot of love for all-female ensemble stories. It's so RARE to see that. I wasn't a big fan of OUAT but the four-women-on-a-quest thing in S2 really helped keep me watching for a while. Orange is the New Black makes me crazy with love for the diverse female cast. The Heat, while a female partnership rather than an ensemble, is one of my favorite action comedies of all time.

I think I like it partly because it's rare, and partly because I'm so sick of women being defined by their femaleness, and I've really started to dig taking men away entirely as a metric of comparison. :D There's something about it that feels like it lets the women characters *live* as diverse people rather than as Woman People. (I don't know if I'm explaining this well . . . hahahaha.)

I'm also a sucker for older ensembles. Like RED, with the all-retired-CIA-agents cast. There's something super refreshing about that for some reason. eta: Maybe an ensemble of ex-grumpy mentors? LOL!

(Of course, I also like all the same tropes I think most of the people on your journal do ;) -- found family, people who bicker but love each other, super competent people, etc..)

Edited at 2014-11-27 03:22 am (UTC)