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is a story's themes or plot structure more important?


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I think that one of the things which screwed over Conquest was how, since it mirrored Birthright, you had to


have scenes where you fight in Hoshido, fight the other royals etc.

from a gameplay/game design standpoint. It couldn't simply be about a revolution inside Nohr.

Also, yes, both [theme and structure] are important, but between plot structure and theme, I'd rather have a good theme and bad plot structure than otherwise. If the plot structure is good but the theme isn't, then anything held by the structure is pointless to me. A good theme with bad plot structure is salvageable, at least, because the story being told has a point, a meaning. And then you have the last seasons of GOT, which are bad with both

I don't think Fates' plot structure or theme is good.


It ditches its theme completely during the game (family bonds) to increase Corrin's fucking pool and add a twist to the story that no one wanted. Anankos' storyline doesn't matter at all as a plot element - he could simply not exist and have both games be stories of war and conquest between two countries, and it'd work better. Corrin isn't actually siblings with anyone, it's all a ruse and some of the siblings even know it (Ryoma does, but idk if any others do). Hoshidans are just strangers with whom Corrin has a common cause with.

One could argue, "well, Corrin and some of the siblings didn't know, so the theme works", and I'd agree that it works for the story, but it doesn't as a theme, because themes exist to drive a point home for the audience (in Fates' case, "would you choose your foster siblings with whom you have a stronger family bond, but are on the wrong side, or would you side with your blood siblings with whom you have a much weaker family bond, but are on the right side?"), and the audience knows they aren't siblings, thus its theme/original premise is pointless.


Edited by Rapier
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I’d say execution will basically always be the most important thing to a product. 

Like something simple like even Shovel Knight has such a barebones story about getting back a former partner but the whole thing is just exucuted very well. 


Edit: I mean I think interesting themes are what keeps people remembering the stories regardless of execution. It defintely comes down to enjoying something as a package rather than just thinking about something. 

Edited by SubwayBossEmmett
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Goodness, there’s so much to unpack here I’m totally gonna screw this up.  I would quote many interesting points people have made and respond how I agree or disagree but that would be ridiculously long.  Here’s what I think...

  • I don’t think we’re going to completely agree on semantics of what theme, plot, execution, characters are...  they’re just words and we sometimes use them differently.
  • To me... a theme is an important idea that colors a story, like a guide.  Plot is the layout of scenes, like structure, I guess.  Execution is the details within each scene of the overall plot, that gets into pacing, dialogue, AND EMOTIONS evoked.  Character is a unit capable of executing... Execution...  that means, it is Character who sets pace, has dialogue and emotions.  Character, to me, can be more than just people.  Character can be a place or thing as long as it’s capable of Execution.  The One Ring of LotR... to me that ring is Character.
  • Good plot, bad theme:  I think this would likely bore people who are looking for intellectual or philosophical stimulation.  They will probably think:  “Ok, it’s a good plot... but what’s the point?  It’s a stupid theme (idea) so you’re killing my brain cells.”  Then there are people (like me) who are not looking for a manifest of great ideas and just want to be entertained... for whatever reason... maybe we’re happy with our own philosophies... maybe we seen way too many stories already and are hardly impressed...  these people may be happy with good plot, bad theme.  We just want a distraction for a while.
  • Bad plot, good theme:  I think this works in two cases:  children stories that try to teach a lesson.  Or when the audience is seeking intellectual or philosophical stimulation.  I think they still will not appreciate a bad plot, but they are much more willing to overlook plot flaws in favor of the good theme.
  • I used to be on the Bad Plot, Good Theme side...  I experienced many cool ideas and learned a lot from good themes.  I started thinking on my own, developing my own philosophies and found they were no longer compatible with stories published.  At that point, Bad Plot, Good Theme became annoying to me because the “supposed” Good Theme I found to be ridiculous or be completely wrong.  So it was just Bad Plot, Bad Theme.  That is when I gave up on Themes in stories and seek just a good plot.
  • Within Good Plot, I think Good Character is the most important.  If you can make me fall in love with an excellent Character (person, place, or thing) I will bear the bad theme and bad rest of plot, because at least I will experience it along side a Character I love.
  • Of course one would strive to write good everything, but first, and above all else, GOOD CHARACTER.
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