Kalliel (kalliel) wrote,

I'd write BEEP BEEP but racecars don't have horns...

So, against my initial assumptions, I ended up starting another Cars fic because I ended up finding the character arcs that might accompany my "Cars explores the environmental justice history of highway development through Latino neighborhoods in LA" premise. And I'm really enjoying writing it. But I was sitting in a restaurant yesterday trying to figure out how the character and thematic arcs might intersect each other, and I'm not really sure. :/

Like, I don't want to make LA road history just a colorful backdrop, but I don't know how to believably relate it to an individual character arc, given that its thematics are systemic and no amount of quality racing is going to affect things that happened in LA 70 years ago. (Arguably, excelling at professional racing would reap negative effects on underserved communities beset with the threat of gentrification.)

And like, at the end of the day, it's a story about animated racecars, and all the thematics in the world should ultimately be second to the personal tribulations of those little cars, because they're the spirit of the thing.

Writing animated racecars is also interesting, because you don't want to give them too much interiority--it messes with the spirit of the thing. But you do want to do justice to their complexity, and find some textual mode that can bring some part of that--so tied up in their visuality, in the original medium--onto the page.

Like, Sam and Dean, you can just be like, okay, sit with your thoughts and do your thing and I'll see you in like 10k, okay? Okay. But animated racecars exist at a different life speed--they react to things more bombastically, their moods change more quickly, they're more ready to forgive, to apologize, to shed past experiences or to narrow down their existence to just a few key moments. And they do all of that very efficiently (though not as cleanly/reducibly as the average joe might think). And you want to capture that about them, because otherwise you're either 1) writing caricatures, not characters who are animated, or 2) you're burdening them with too much, until they lose their animation. You want to respect the medium.

This is all to say that learning how to write animated racecars is fucking fascinating, and finding that middle ground between "burdensomely interior and overhewn with too many details" and "blandly superficial" is challenging.

I'm really trying not to overthink what I want to do with this story (she says, after 500 words of describing how the interiority of animated racecars differs from writing SPN--but there's good and interesting overthinking, and then there's detrimental overthinking!), and just write toward the genuine pleasure with which these little racecars lead their lives. Because at the end of the day, that spark of joy is what's going to make this fic feel real and true to Cars.

Oh, right. The whole reason I started this post was because of this screencap:

Which I think is from a Cars video game, where clearly the animation isn't "on" all the time, so you get hilariously catatonic cars. XD I kid you not, I laughed like the Chewbacca Mask Lady about this, and I'm pretty sure the reason I thought it was so funny was because of how it played into my discussion (with myself, my whole self, and no one but myself) about animated car interiority. HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF NOT ENOUGH INTERIORITY.
Tags: fandom: misc., hell on wheels, we don't have time for your blah blah bl, writing

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