SGYY Events? “In a Plum Garden, Cao Cao Discusses Heroes”

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Unread postby Iain » Fri Aug 20, 2004 3:34 am

I like the way of having it depicted as an event rather than part of a chapter in the book, it gives it more of an epic feel really of a famous event in the book, not all of us are able to dig the exact location of a certain occurrence in the Romance books very quickly and there are some chapters of the book that have several famous moments happening in different areas.

The illustration at the top was an nice addition too. :)
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Unread postby James » Fri Aug 20, 2004 5:06 am

Good points, Lady Wu and Kong Wen. I’m definitely looking forward to more feedback from the two of you (and others that see various problems with the idea). I thought about it a little bit, and here are the differences I see.

1) It would be easy enough to simply assemble a page of links pointing to different locations of the novel online, and suggesting that people read them, but how do you think such a thing would honestly compare? Many of the viewers have not read the novel and do not wish to fish through it to harvest out a specific story, even with the link provided.

2) Each event has events that lead up to it, and events that follow, and in order to have any hope of grasping them you have to read the chapters before and after said events. For those who have not read the novel, it might be much nicer to have the story right there in front of them with a suitable introduction and afterward. I had to spend a decent amount of extra time assembling that portion of the story which, if the normal viewer wished to look into the story as well, they too would have to spend.

3) Presentation and illustration, much like a cereal box packaging, makes something much more enticing. I know for a fact I’d rather read a crisp and colorful presentation of a story over the very academic and, in my opinion, cluttered interface at threekingdoms.com (academic can be good, but not the later). This is of very little value in the most obvious light, but I wonder how many people might read the story there that might not have otherwise?

4) The very fact that it is dedicated at KMA in that form will bring it to many more people that it would reach at threekingdoms.com which simply presents the whole story (I assume anyone who owns the novel, and has an interest, falls out of this category). Don’t forget that the majority of KMA visitors are there only because of the games, and they don’t even know many of these events took place in the novel. They only know about some major ones like Chibi.

5) It allows the inclusion of notes and commentary from the person that assembles it, possibly drawing on sources beyond any given single translation of the novel.

Part of what inspired me to do this was the many requests I’ve received over the past few years for summaries of events. I always answer those questions by giving a link to the novel itself, and only rarely is the response an enthusiastic one. It is usually more along the lines of “Yeah, well, is there a place where I can read just the event?” The academic types that enjoy researching are thrilled with such a thing, and I would have been as well, but it doesn’t quite fit for most of the people who just visit KMA.

Chief goals of KMA: Educate, and inspire interest.

And please do be a stick in the mud about anything. I like loud sticks in the mud many times more than the quiet ones that have something to say but never share it. It lets me consider things I haven’t otherwise, as my freetime, along with my inspiration for the site, is finite.

Edit: Hmm… just occurred to me that something like "Read the whole novel online at threekingdoms.com" at the bottom would be a wonderful touch as well. The goals mentioned above are really the reason why I keep KMA around, along with the emails I get every day expressing thanks for such a 'fun' or 'educational' site.
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Unread postby Mithel » Fri Aug 20, 2004 5:52 am

I support this idea, especially because it would act as a good study aide for the rather slow people like me.

The small, prepackaged events would also be fun on their own. A good review for your favorite parts of the novel.

Just make sure to include chapter numbers so people can look it up in the novel if they so desire.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Fri Aug 20, 2004 5:56 am

I'm not in principle against the idea, and the points you raised definitely came across my mind too as I posted the last message. Like I said, it'll be a good reference item--I often get frustrated trying to find a certain event in the novel which is not reflected in the chapter headings (I still don't know which chapter has Cai Yan in it).

I was just wondering if we will get enough entries to warrant a whole new section of the site. If, like you said, James, the stories take quite some time to assemble, wouldn't we be spreading ourselves too thin? I know we don't operate as a staff or on time limits or whatnot, but there is still a lot to be done for the quizzes, and we can do with more SGYY bios (though, of course, the SGYY Bio Machine (aka Morg) has been churning out bio after bio lately... and by the way, why is there just one Shu bio?). Since we do have limited resources, it seems more logical to me to concentrate effort in filling in the blanks in the bio section rather than starting something new that would duplicate stuff done in the bios (yes, I'm an organizational freak).

That having said, having a new section and accepting new kinds of writings might stimulate contribution to KMA (though the art/writing sections seriously need some advertising). There may be people around who can't be bothered to read through 50 chapters in order to write a SGYY bio for Guan Yu (like me :oops: ), but who would enjoy focussing on a single event and writing a short piece, on, say, Liu Bei's escape from Cai Mao on Dilu/Hex Mark.

If you do go ahead with the project, I have two other suggestions:

- Make it really clear that this is all about the novel. It's about the Novel Hefei, the Novel Chibi, the Novel Yiling, etc. And please, whoever's going to write about Hefei, Sun Quan's men did not march there with dysentry.

- Include chapter numbers indicating where the event is taken from (which would help old ladies like me to find the Cai Yan chapter).

SimulPost(TM): Mithel read my mind regarding chapter numbers.

PS: James, I forgot to say this, but the example you did is very nicely done. I really like how you connect the event to the larger picture through the introduction bit and the ending bit about the failure of the Girdle plot.
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Unread postby Kong Wen » Fri Aug 20, 2004 6:04 am

Lady Wu wrote:Like I said, it'll be a good reference item--I often get frustrated trying to find a certain event in the novel which is not reflected in the chapter headings (I still don't know which chapter has Cai Yan in it).

Well, this kind of simple problem can be solved by the 1/5th completed but not yet released Three Kingdoms Encyclopedia. Given it's eventual existence, wouldn't it seem like overkill to have giant "tales" of certain events when a character's entry will point you right to every relevent passage?

I can understand and appreciate James's point about people not wanting to go rooting around in the novel, even when every single passage is pointed right out to them. My only concern is that all of this "supplementary" writing will make the novel obsolete in the first place. Why would people who are new to the Three Kingdoms world want to find and read the novel and other original texts when they could read about every character through amateur SGYY and COB bios and read about every interesting event through amateur Event Bios?

Just a thought. If one of our goals is to increase general knowledge pertaining to the 3K era and literature, we may actually be taking a step back by perpetuating Fast Food Guanzhong.
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Unread postby James » Fri Aug 20, 2004 7:11 am

@M’lady Wu

I don’t know if I’ll make a whole new section to the site or not yet, that depends. Once I decide on what I think of the idea in general I’ll start pondering that. It may be just another entry on the biography page initial, or it might have its own dedicated page which describes the project, perhaps its goals, and the fact that the contents are novel-based. I’ve been thinking of revamping the way in which the biographies section is formatted/handled anyway, so this might be a logical step.

In terms of difficulty to assemble, they come nowhere near close to an actual SGYY biography, which takes hours of straight work in the minimum. All these require is finding all the relevant information, then writing the introduction and afterward, which goes a little faster for me (and I imagine others) than it would some as I’ve got a great memory of the novel to begin with. I did think about how it might detract from other areas of the site, but I don’t really think that would be much of a problem. An event ‘bio’ is like a cookie, while, depending on size, a SGYY bio is like a lunch or full on dinner (or in the case of some officers, a banquet where you die from overeating). When I get into the mood to do something like this it isn’t always with enough time to assemble a biography, but these could be comparatively quick projects. I’m very interested in feedback on this.

The general idea behind this is to give people yet another way to contribute to the site and add another dimension of depth to the content already presented there. Officer biographies are one thing, but they only tell the story from one perspective. That said I do think it would be very important to let the viewer know that the whole novel is a wonderful story, not just some filler text between worthwhile events—that if they love the smaller stories, they’d love the novel too.

Thank you for reminding me about the chapter. I intended that from the start, but I forgot.

And thanks for the compliments on the example. I’m very fond of it myself, and that’s part of why I’ve taken interest in this. There’s just a lot to consider before I charge ahead with it.

@Mr. Wen

I did consider how this relates to the encyclopedia. In fact, I’ve been considering that in relation to everything I’ve been doing on the site lately (more on that below with Rob). It all comes down to the different tastes people have in different things. Some of us love to pick up little short stories which are colorfully illustrated to learn about something, or enjoy the text it offers. Others among us like to dig out our fifteen-hundred page encyclopedia and read about them. When I want to read about an officer, I run a search through the novel and read (post-Encyclopedia), but I know that doesn’t fit everyone’s tastes.

Your concern about its impact on people reading the novel itself does give me pause to thought though. It is very good this was considered prior to anything further. I believe, at this time, that through presentation and handling—the way we talk of the novel in relation to these works—we can inspire interest in the novel, not detract from it. If people can understand that the whole text is wonderful, and extensive, this concern may perhaps be averted?
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Unread postby James » Fri Aug 20, 2004 7:19 am

My reply to robbyjo, and the topic of an encyclopedia or dynamic KMA, has been moved to a new topic in the Kongming’s Archives forum along with the related posts here. Please do continue the discussion there. As my reply indicates, it hasn’t been a small consideration.

A Dynamic KMA / Three Kingdoms Encyclopedia
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Unread postby Morg » Fri Aug 20, 2004 8:24 am

Lady Wu wrote:I know we don't operate as a staff or on time limits or whatnot, but there is still a lot to be done for the quizzes, and we can do with more SGYY bios (though, of course, the SGYY Bio Machine (aka Morg) has been churning out bio after bio lately... and by the way, why is there just one Shu bio?). Since we do have limited resources, it seems more logical to me to concentrate effort in filling in the blanks in the bio section rather than starting something new that would duplicate stuff done in the bios (yes, I'm an organizational freak).

I am now concentrating on writing bios for those who don't already have a SGZ one so that most officers/characters will have a bio of some sort. Personally, I haven't written any Shu bios out of personal bias but will start work on Ma Dai after my next project is finished. I personally like the idea of this project and I think it could a welcome break for the bio writers/translator. I wrote an article on the battle of Yi Ling last week simple because I got tired of looking at the 3rd part of Cao Cao's bio.

As has already been said, many gamers want info and the chapter titles don't always indicate where to find that info, nor is there any kind of backstory (why was Sun Quan so determined to invade Jingzhou and attack Guan Yu at Fancheng?). This way it'll provide an easy access point for gamers and those with a casual interest. This is something that I'm trying to do with a site I am working on, and I am happy to make my material available to KMA if it helps.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that I am working on more questions for the quizzes. I have 13 questions, mainly for the moderate difficulty, ready to submit and hope to come up with more as I write further bios. Also, I'm in the process of reading some historical material so that should help with coming up with hard questions.

I fully understand that the concern here is that KMA will quickly be full of incomplete sections, but I am confident that work will be done on those sections fairly quickly. Perhaps this events guide will encourage new contributors...
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Unread postby James » Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:22 pm

These things are really nice to make when I’m bored or just want something to do to take my mind off everything else. I think I’ll definitely keep them around. I made two more for the section when I put it online.

Three Brothers’ Oath in the Peach Tree Garden
Lü Bu saves Liu Bei with a Feat of Marksmanship
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Unread postby Kong Wen » Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:29 pm

My fears have been allayed. The format looks really good now, too. What are the criteria for events? Do they have to have event pictures in the game? :) Might I suggest Guan Yu's surgery?
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