1. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Writing a rube goldberg machine

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Rumwriter, Jun 25, 2011.

    Hey, in my chapter i want my character to wake up and find breakfast being made by a crazy contraption around the kitchen. do you think this actually needs to be written out step by step? i don't really have the means to figure out a working machine like this, so how would you write it to just give people the impression that a zany over the top breakfast machine is going to town?
     
  2. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Watch the breakfast scene in 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'. It certainly adds to the movie. Describing it might or might not add to or be necessary for your story, I wouldn't know--you're the writer.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    What tone are you going for? Is this a zany comedy thing? Or is it intended to be a serious, sci-fi thing? Or something in between? If it's comedy, go ahead and write the whole thing out in detail. And maybe start using run on sentences as things go on, to increase the speed and silliness.
     
  4. CottonCandi
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    CottonCandi Active Member

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    Or you could watch Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. He had a lot of crazy contraptions.
     
  5. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wallace & Gromit also have some pretty weird stuff. If I were to write it in a book, I think I would write a description based on how important it is to the story. I mean if the contrasption is important to the story, I would flesh it out in great detail. But if it's unimpoortant other than to show the MC as an inventory, I'd mention it briefly in a sentence or two.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A visual represntation and a written description aren't the same thing. What works visually may be very difficult to bring together in writing.

    I'd think a Rube Goldberg breakfast contraption has to be played for comedy. That's an essential attribute of a Rube Goldberg device. It's outlandishly complicated to perform a simple task, like Doc Brown's massive steam-powered refrigerator to produce a couple dirty brown ice cubes.

    Describing it in step by step detail could work, but you risk it being too long winded for a good laugh. You might be able to convey the essence with a few whirling gears, and clanks and whisles, and an egg wobbling down an incline to where it cracks open and deposits the contents into a sizzling hot fry pan.
     
  7. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    I would imagine what your character -- or any normal person who's never seen such a thing -- would say about it. Like, I don't get technological contraptions any more than I get quantum physics. My explanation of it would be something like, "There was this crazy contraption in the kitchen. It had a dozen bendy poles with some kinds of wires hanging off them, and it made a whirring sound that got louder and louder like it was preparing for takeoff. All of a sudden there was an egg on my plate, over easy."
     

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