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Reconstruction vs Deconstruction ( why? ):

Element of love
Reading some post here. I have noted that a lot of people like to reconstruct/deconstruct genres..

For that reason I would like to ask you the following:. Why do you reconstruct/recostruct things?.

The war between reconstruction and deconstruction seems to be related to the idealism vs cynism.

edited 29th Mar '11 7:01:24 PM by FallenLegend

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. C. S. Lewis
 2 Major Tom, Tue, 29th Mar '11 7:04:42 PM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
I think it has more to do with keeping people's tastes from becoming cliche.

I deconstruct Space Marines and other military sci-fi and Space Opera elements because the genre is becoming cliche full of Aliens quotes, Stay Frosty, dull personalities (if the characters have any at all), poor tactics, dull settings, overabundance of Grim Dark, and making things seem overly grand scale via poor sense of scale.

I intend to change that by allowing Reality to Ensue on many of those elements and more importantly tell a damn good story that proves there are other better ways to do it.

Reconstructionist writers around here are doing something similar, answering the deconstructions and rebuilding their genres into something new.
Endless Conflict: Every war ends in time, even supposedly this one.
Element of love
[up] That' avery good reason for a Deconstrucion. That seem to prove that not all deconstructions need to be cynic.

edited 29th Mar '11 7:20:18 PM by FallenLegend

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. C. S. Lewis
Writers deconstruct genres and tropes because they feel the conventions as trite, overrun and cliched. Perhaps more importantly, these genres have become so out of touch with reality that the writers want to bonk you on the head with a wake-up call. This is like a rag of clothes caught on the spindle and it starts to unravel into its merest threads.

Some confuse subverting the tropes and adding as much cynicism as needed, with deconstruction. As much as they'd like to say, they have not touched on the central foundations on which the genre is rooted. (Much like busting your strawman of the real thing down in arguing.)

edited 29th Mar '11 7:24:08 PM by QQQQQ

 5 annebeeche, Tue, 29th Mar '11 7:21:05 PM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
I don't aim to deconstruct or reconstruct specific tropes, that's just the approach I take to everything I write about.
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 6 Voltech 44, Tue, 29th Mar '11 7:54:51 PM from Alongside a Virtual Weasel
All Guns Sparking
It's been said that there's no such thing as a completely original idea, so technically writing is all about how you use tropes to your advantage (a general statement, I know, but humor me here). Whether you deconstruct or reconstruct something depends on that manipulation, but also what sort of effect that trope has had on you in stories and media.

So for example, if you love Power Rangers, then you have a love and respect for the tropes therein; given that, reveling in all its glory and showing just how cool it would be to be a Ranger might sway yours and others' persuasions. That's not to say that those who deconstruct things DON'T like their chosen tropes; I'd say it's just out of respect, and a need to explore the details in a fresh light that makes them want to dissect something. I've always wanted to deconstruct the Gentle Giant trope — not because I hate it, but because it's a chance to harness its potential, or gain a new perspective as a writer.

Well, that's just my theory. I'm sure everyone has different reasons for de/reconstructing something. Different strokes, and all that.
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 7 jasonwill 2, Tue, 29th Mar '11 8:17:21 PM from West Virginia
I look at a trope and go 'oh i like this, ' or ' I dont like like this' and then do what ever the hell I want with it.

I take a very liberal interpretation of, well, no, I just do what I want with writing rules and make them VERY rough reference points. Same with tropes.

I do not look to purposefully subvert, invert, or deconstruct reconstruct a trope or writing rule, I just say 'I think it would be cooler/more creative to do this with this trope' though I do purposefully avoid things I consider cliche', as if it was the plague.

Messing with something good just to be different more often then not cheapens the work.
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 8 KSPAM, Tue, 29th Mar '11 8:30:30 PM from on the ground Relationship Status: In another castle
BEST. PRINCESS. EVER
I deconstruct things by and large because of hatred. It sounds horrible, but it's what I do. I find that any combination of the following will usually produce a successful Deconstruction:

  • Talent
  • Inherent understanding of the tropes at work
  • Hatred

edited 29th Mar '11 8:31:11 PM by KSPAM

Team? You mean cannon fodder? — neobowman

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 9 Rynnec, Tue, 29th Mar '11 8:51:07 PM Relationship Status: Healthy, deeply-felt respect for this here Shotgun
Ronin
[up] I can actually understand that somewhat. Just as long as a writer isn't too Anvilicious with their hatred, I don't mind deconstruction all that much.

People should also have to keep in mind that deconstructions aren't for everyone.
"I'll show you fear, there is no hell, only darkness."

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Element of love
[up][up] That exaplains your hatred to the shonen genre and your housemd-wanabe response to me... But don't worry I forgive you

Tough considering the impact dragonballz has (in Mexico for example it's still the best thing since footbal). Unless you publish a manga or an anime series (your hatred won't harm them any time soon grintongue).

Tough I would like to ask you. Why do you hate this genre?

edited 29th Mar '11 9:25:16 PM by FallenLegend

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. C. S. Lewis
Responsible adult
I tend to agree with the "I do it on the basis of individual tropes." My ideas tend more towards reconstruction than deconstruction, as I fully believe you have to love something with all of your heart in order to tear it apart effectively. If a woman who hates video games smashes a game system, all you end up with is a broken game system that's not good for anything anymore. If an adoring Gamer Chick with knowhow in electrical engineering takes apart a console, she can put it back together with a killer case mod, and Frankenstein it to play games from a dozen different consoles. It's not what it was, but it's gained a lot in the process.

My unpublished novel, Always a Hero, zigzags back and forth between deconstruction and reconstruction of the Kid Hero concept for pretty much exactly this reason. In one way, it discusses how the heroine's younger self (as a Kid Hero) was really too immature to realize what she was doing in saving the world, and why she failed to notice something very, very wrong in the world even after the Big Bad was supposedly defeated. On the other hand, her adult self is an utter Jerk Ass, and her younger self was not only more open-minded and thoughtful of her actions, but her childlike desire to be a hero and be cool and take a magic world at face value was instrumental to her success. So a lot of her Character Development is about finding a balance between the wisdom of age and the hope of youth.

There's even a line late on where she notes that, if she doesn't come back, the next hero her friends find should be a New-Age Retro Hippie for exactly this factor.
"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
 12 Sand Josieph, Tue, 29th Mar '11 9:57:00 PM from Grand Galloping Galaday
Bigonkers! is Magic
One thing I'd like to see more done is deconstruction at the same time as reconstruction. It's something I'm trying to do with my Zombie Apocalypse story: The start of the story deconstructs many of the aspects of the sub-genre in that despite the zombies being unkillable and created from the corpse of any living person, the situation is fairly well controlled until the number of zombies reaches a critical point where they can start ganging up on people and that's when things go downhill.
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 13 KSPAM, Tue, 29th Mar '11 9:58:55 PM from on the ground Relationship Status: In another castle
BEST. PRINCESS. EVER
[up][up][up] Don't get me wrong, I don't hate the genre as a whole (I facking love Mahou Sensei Negima! and Fullmetal Alchemist). I just hate certain aspects of it. Aspects which seem to show up all too frequently and proceed to make the world a very goofy and inane place.

For example, most shonen series present nothing in the way of actual tactics. The heroes are morons (often literally) and will charge in headfirst with no consideration of their actions because "they know they can do it" or "they can't lose with their friends supporting them". What. Arbitrary. Silliness.

Also, they rely heavily on bullshit Deus Ex Machinas which usually exist solely to patch up the above, unwittingly making the problem worse in the process.

Their dealings with morality are often if not always ham-handed, leaving one to wonder if the heroes are any better than the villains, considering they brainwash and force their viewpoints on just about as many people. The only times I've seen a well-executed moral dilemma in a shonen series were in Negima when they time-travelled during Mahorafest and in FMA, where Ed has to use the Philosopher's Stone to escape Gluttony's stomach.

And come on. Calling Your Attacks? In the Name of the Moon? Defeat Means Friendship? It's just an entirely too silly genre, and someone needs to give it an affectionate and well-intentioned kick in the ass.

edited 29th Mar '11 10:05:33 PM by KSPAM

Team? You mean cannon fodder? — neobowman

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 14 Chubert, Tue, 29th Mar '11 9:59:31 PM from California
highly secure
^^ Decon-Recon Switch.

I'm not pimping this because I launched it or anything...

And I'm thinking that the three criteria that KSPAM listed—talent, inherent understanding of tropes at play, and...uh, dislike of the tropes lends itself to a good Deconstruction. Disliking selective portions of the genre lends itself to Decon-Recon Switch. Take, say, Kick-Ass. It gets what's going on with superheroes (beating up criminals and dressing up), discards portions of it that wouldn't work when applied to reality (With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility), but then wraps the stuff up it discarded in new packaging and presents it at the climax ("With great power comes no responsibility...except that's not true.") Or, if anime is more your style, try Gurren Lagann. Or watch NGE and Rebuild in succession.

edited 29th Mar '11 10:06:35 PM by Chubert

Whatcha gonna do, little buckaroo? | i be pimpin' madoka fics
If I sort of summarize my take on it...

Some narrative conventions become so overused, exaggerated, and/or shorthanded that they fail to have any bearing on why the concept was entertaining to begin with. If they hang around anyway, the trope turns into dull filler that is only still used on merit of tradition. A deconstruction attempts to get back to the roots of why a convention was entertaining when it originally caught on, or tries to compare it to new but related elements to make it interesting again.

And yet this act of chipping everything apart and juxtaposing it with new ideas can wear out its welcome too, and the attempt to get back to a more direct execution would be called a reconstruction.

In the end, I think the two end up meaning almost the same thing at a glance. It's simply an attempt to make a standing convention more engaging after it's worn down its value.

The difference usually relies on the way the trope is messed with: if it is thoroughly explored, picked apart, and recombined with other ideas over the course of the story, then it's a deconstruction; if its being played in a straightforward way that the audience will easily recognize, it's a reconstruction. Then again, even this distinction feels a little arbitrary and out of place in certain stories. And for either term to work, it had to grow into a trope to begin with, so being an original trend setter would be plain old 'construction'.

Anyways, even an arbitrary definition is pretty important from where I see it. The word 'deconstruction' is kind of like 'egregious, ' or 'trite, ' with a lot of its meaning being dependent on the context. So it often gets thrown into places where a full description probably could have been more concise, if admittedly more cumbersome. The word catches on as the method of deconstructing/reconstructing things becomes popular, until it becomes the phrase you slap in your blurb to sound relevant and intellectual. Since the meaning is subtle and not universally applicable, people inevitably end up misusing it (and then ironically, a new word that can be used similarly, but hasn't been bastardized into oblivion catches on, deconstructing everyone's vocabulary...).

Still, while many stories aren't conducive to the two terms, I don't think they're always unnecessarily simplistic. As long as you don't demand an absolute formula that must apply to every narrative, these definitions end up doing their job well enough to support some useful discussion and analysis.
 
 16 nrjxll, Wed, 30th Mar '11 1:38:34 AM Relationship Status: Not war
I can't remember who said it, but the introduction to the first Astro City collection had one of my favorite quotes on the subject. To loosely paraphrase:

The way I see it, the only reason to take something apart is to put it back together again, better then it was before... We've taken the superhero apart; now it's time to put it back together and see what we can do with it.

Like others have said in this thread, I normally only bother to deconstruct those things I actually like. Tropes I dislike will usually just be averted, subverted, or defied (often with Take Thats) - going all to the trouble of writing an outright deconstruction to them is will just cause me to sink into writing a Hate Fic, and while I may not be a very pleasant individual, I don't see any reason to expend effort to write a mere rant with no positive aspect to it. I don't usually do the Decon-Recon Switch, but whenever I deconstruct a trope or genre I like, you can be sure I'll be attempting to reconstruct it sometime soon.

Edit: [up]I didn't read the post above until now, but I really appreciate the remarks on the use of deconstruction as a "buzzword", as well as those elsewhere on the thread on the irritating habit of people thinking "deconstruction is Darker and Edgier" and "reconstruction is Lighter and Softer". The first is an annoying habit on This Very Wiki, and this is the only thread where I will refer to anything I write as a deconstruction because of it. The second is another common misconception that really crops up on the Playing with a Trope pages. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one to view it as a problem.

edited 30th Mar '11 1:43:55 AM by nrjxll

Responsible adult
Word to not turning your writing into Hate Fic for a certain trope. I prefer to subvert or avert tropes that simply bug me. Oftentimes, aversion is easier, but sometimes subversion can be really fun if you can do it in a really creative way.
"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
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Why? Cause I like to destroy things, rip them apart and see how they function without their limbs and then recreate them with better limbs after I've exposed their faults.
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[up] Pretty much that. Really theres nothing more to it. I have to admit I prefer Reconstructions nowadays since most people tend to mistake Deconstruction as Dark and Gritty :/
Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.
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I agree with the conception that not all deconstructions should be Darker and Edgier and Reconstruction should be Lighter and Softer.

Despite working on a reconstruction of the Magical Girl genre, the story's not all butterflies and sunshines. Most of the characters in the story have problems and it's up for themselves to see the problem and fix it themselves. Take the main heroine for example; her family's pretty broken (her parents and older brother are pretty messed up themselves but they get better over time) unlike most magical girl protagonists in most series that has a happy and stable family. Not to worry, it's not all dark like Madoka and yes, they still get the see the light at the end of the tunnel and not all hope is lost.

 21 Major Tom, Wed, 30th Mar '11 7:47:51 AM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
^ Same logic here. My work is compared to others in its genre like Warhammer Forty K is extremely light and fluffy. But that's the point. You don't need a Crapsack World to have Space Marines and a Space Opera, you don't need to be gratuitously grimdark to make an epic setting, among other things.

And my work is nowhere near G-Rated.
Endless Conflict: Every war ends in time, even supposedly this one.
It's to change the world. Reconstruction and Deconstruction improve settings; deconstructions by pulling them apart to remove unnecessary crud and expose flaws in the design, reconstruction by putting it back together in a better configuration.

Between the two of them, we seek to craft the perfect tale.
 
 23 KSPAM, Wed, 30th Mar '11 7:53:32 AM from on the ground Relationship Status: In another castle
BEST. PRINCESS. EVER
Although there is inherent satisfaction in using deconstruction to crush dreams evil grin
Team? You mean cannon fodder? — neobowman

Goodfae: a mafia web serial
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I'm thinking of changing my Cyberpunk-Space Opera mythos and doing a Decon-Recon Switch. Instead of there being an intact omnipresent government ruling five hundred worlds, after leaving the solar system planetary colonization became a very disorganized thing. As a result, said five hundred worlds are more like five hundred countries all fighting each other. Furthermore, there are no "space pirates"- ship raiding would at most be a State-Sponsored activity performed by military or contracted forces against trade routes of enemy planets. I would then reconstruct the Space Opera by having one planet begin a massive campaign of conquest against other planets, causing the majority of other planets who at least share basic ideals forming a coalition- and thus the first two human intergalactic governments/empires are made. And you know all of those alien species? We wiped them out.

But I'm not sure if I'm going to do that. It's an option, sure, but my mythos is pretty far in development along its course and pretty unique in and of itself, and this would just make me start all over again.
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Total posts: 25
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