Questions 3: Tournaments and Festivals

Goku from DBZ and Yusuke from Yu Yu Hakusho

This probably pertains more to anime and manga, but tournaments and festivals are nearly impossible to avoid.  Just finished watching Shakugana No Shana Season 2 and a few episodes went to a festival.  There was also one in Rosario Vampire, Negima, and a few others.  Tournaments are a lot more common though like Dragonball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho, Shaman King, Negima, Fairy Tail, and Flame of Recca.  I guess these allow two things depending on the path:

  • Festivals allow for character interactions within dramas as well as tension in regards to setting things up.  It’s typically in a school setting too.  Once the event happens, you get various antics and payoffs on the relationships you had been pushing.  Festivals are where people confess their feelings or apologize for past slights.  It’s definitely a setting built for character development and expression.
  • Tournaments can have this too, but it’s mostly about fighting.  You get to see how strong characters have become over the course of a series.  Its an excuse to have grand battles that connect to the plot.  It’s also possible to introduce a ton of new characters with rival fighters.  Utilizing banter and flashbacks, you can really draw a newcomers personality out while the fighting happens.  Works best for action-based series though where you learn to judge characters by how they operate in a fight (cheaters or fair play) and how they handle the results.

Beyond all of that, I wasn’t sure what else to say.  I felt like opening up the floor with an old type of post by asking 3 questions:

  1. What do you think of Festivals as a setting?
  2. What do you think of Tournaments as a setting?
  3. Which one would you use in a story and why?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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23 Responses to Questions 3: Tournaments and Festivals

  1. I’ve never thought of it before to be honest. The closest I have is a storyboard involving a police chase through a holographic parade. I hope to write it this year. I’d probably be more inclined to use a festival than a tournament. Maybe my idea of tournaments is more Arthurian than Kung Fu oriented.

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  2. I think fairs and festivals add local color to any scene. Seems to be a great way to pull in cultural aspects of the location. The Chicago food show is a great summertime event and perfect for a thriller writer to cause mayhem or to have the antagonist avoid capture. Good post, Charles.

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  3. L. Marie says:

    1. What do you think of Festivals as a setting?
    I love festivals. As you mentioned, they give the characters a chance to interact with others. Festivals also represent a broader world, since people from other areas come to attend them.
    2. What do you think of Tournaments as a setting?
    A tournament is a good way of showing fighting styles and other things that characters value. Again, a good way of bringing tension into a story.
    3. Which one would you use in a story and why?
    I usually include a festival of some kind in a story. I love making up festivals, because I use them to reinforce a theme. For example, my character attends a festival in which the females are expected to choose their dance partners. It fits the theme of choice in the novel.
    I’m working on a book in which some kids attend a videogame tournament.

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  4. I’ve never given much thought to tournaments in books, but you make a great case for them, I can now easily see where they would come in handy, for the reasons you mentioned, but also because it would be a great place to hear rumors.

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  5. Festivals are the best! Everyone loves a party, and they come prepared to have a good time. Their defenses will be down. This allows for interactions that wouldn’t take place in action sequences, for example.

    Tournaments might work better as a structure for an episodic series than for character development. Although, I do like your point about showing how a character may have grown over the course of a book.

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  6. I have an assassination attempt go down during a festival, but never thought of doing a tournament scene. Thanks for the idea!

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