Staying In Character

The other day I was thinking of how some character roles always feel like the “fun” role in the story. I was mainly thinking of the Wizard of Oz, and how the wicked witch really did all the work in this story.  All Dorothy did was walk around with strangers.

Needless to say the witch was fun cause she had the best lines, tried to do what she wanted, and when it didn’t work the first time, she tried again. While Dorothy did have a problem, and wanted to get home, that witch was determined to have the ruby slippers.

She kinda falls into what i thought Darth Vader and Maleficent fell into, which is being the hidden/secret hero of the story. After all it seems they have a lot riding on outcomes, and push the story forward more (in my opinion) that the main characters do.  They also have the most dynamic/dramatic moments on screen.

I can mention a few other movies, and the antagonist always appears to be the one with the strongest desire/pain in a story.  Think of how in Crimson peak how Edith’s sister-in-law, Lucille, temperament, and coldness is strong.  Thomas is ridiculously passive, and Edith is interesting, but Lucille really turns the screws in this story.

One could almost tell Crimson Peak from Lucille’s POV. Clearly thwarting her had repercussions that lead to tragedies.

This has me thinking of looking at characters and observing the differences and strengths of all of them, and could a character with less evil intentions, but burning desires can take the lead role in a story without being overshadowed by their antagonist.

At least my focus is on creativity. Better than any day where I feel blah, and don’t write much of anything.

As always, happy creative endeavors.

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The Sinister Saturday…Sorta

All this week, I’ve had ideas for my projects that I happily wrote down. Part of what that was is how to develop the main character for this fantasy series. As I mentioned previously, the ideas before didn’t work, I struggled with him, and the story stalled. I worked on other stories, but recently came back to this hero.

First, it was making a stop at trying to create a flawless here, as it felt I was;t doing the character any favors. Then I randomly created a backstory that I found that interesting. After writing it down thought about it more, then hand a wonderful epiphany about the MC.

Now I have a background I can use, and hopefully it will inform the story, because at the least I see the MC differently. Not bad, but kinda scary–I like that.  I need that to type it out.

Happy Creative endeavors.

 

Another Fine Day

A while back I mentioned how I tend to write bad things happen to good people in a trope-like manner. This issue keeps popping up for my main character’s in stories to a point that I realized main characters (MC) were perfect, flawless people.

The end results were that I got stuck on their respective storylines.  Conversely, my secondary cheaters tended have plenty of issues to resolve in a story.  It may beg the question that the MC is truly not the MC in the story, but the secondary should have that role. They earn it in spades, really.

In the spec pilot, I realized the secondary character would need an arc to tell his story. He generated a lot of questions I couldn’t answer immediately, but it needed time to reach a conclusion. My MC did not.

I took pen to paper, and wrote down my MCs, and what I thought, in my stories, was my MCs’ defining traits. I then took a moment to and scrub out their perfect stances. I never wanted a perfect hero. I wanted to tell my stories. I’ll have to keep working on being a better writer.

Happy creative endeavors.

 

Sunday Brooding

Yesterday, I posted about how revisiting my notes led me to see what I missed about my main character (MC) while trying to write and rewrite an older spec pilot TV show.  Yesterday I contemplated more on the issues.

My main notes for the MC was that he was demoted and relocated to a rougher location than he’s used to.  He still goes on about his business. Initially, the MC has a “can do” spirt; he doesn’t give up, doesn’t settle for less which I think is admirable.

At the very least, this situation reminds me that you can pick up the pieces of your life, and move forward. It speaks to self-redemption, and reinvention.

What I didn’t factor is is that the hero is in a rougher area, has to learn new rules of operation, and doesn’t have the resources he once had at his disposal. If my hero is stoic in the face of adversity, then I can work with this character trait.

I also wondered how the MC deals with failure, what that means to him. Could he leave all the old drama behind? Even if he did, would past events come back and be thrown in his face? How humiliating to him was his dismissal?  Would he make the same mistakes he did before his demotion? Was the demotion his fault.

These ideas has me excited, and nervous. Can I make this work? Gotta answer these questions. One word at a time, y’all.

Happy creative endeavors.

Truth Is…

Trut is I haven’t been blogging much, but it didn’t mean I stopped writing, which kept up.  I’ve also been taking writing more classes and trying to get myself in order. On top of that it seems my schedule has conflicted with everything; my life, diet, sleep, and creativity.  I am not a happy camper.

That out of the way, let’s talk of pleasant things.  One of my writing lessons has been to look for the emotional payoff of characters in a story.  So, the question of “what’s this story really about,” sunk in for me.

After much contemplation I found myself writing down something that was too real and raw for me, personally.  It really pinched a nerve, in addition to being an emotion I felt I could explore and discuss.

My initial reaction was to pause, let the words cool down, then I went on to working on technical aspects (outline). Still there’s an elephant in my room that’s being ignored, because I felt I was shying away from my own story/character epiphany.

So as chaotic as things may be, the current goal is to get back to the heart of what I discovered, write it out, and work through a pinched moment.

On a side note I am glad I paused from blogging.  It helped me want to blog again.

Happy creative endeavors.

Get It Done, Darn it!

I was trying to write about how I was looking forward to revising material for the novel. The content was sweet, thoughtful, and faced multiple revisions. Then I deleted it.

Why?  I was laboring too much, and if the material is to unabashed, progressive, and creative. I must act, not hold back, and do what needs to be done to make an entertaining story.

That said if the main character is naive, innocent, and these are defining traits, then he’s not truly passive. I simply have to break his traits. By that I mean I’m going to break, destroy, and ruin those traits for him.

He’s going to get some choices, where he can run, hide, and hope it all goes way, or he can man up, and get his life under his control, and it won’t be easy, or pretty.

So everything can and will fall into place.

Why? Because he’s my hero. Right or wrong, he’s going to get through his journey.

Happy creative endeavors.

Tropes, Archetypes, and Sterotypes

Was looking over tropes and archetypes and came across something interesting.  In my novel I needed a mentor archetype to teach my MC (hero) the ropes. The MC is white and the mentor is black. I didn’t think this was a trope, but came across what is called “magic negro.” BTW I bristle at the word, and should. It’s a pejorative.

For those not in the know, the term refers to a black character, usually of a lower economic and social standing, who is “in touch with the earth,” and may or may not possess magical powers. He or she may be the sole black person within the story, and his/her sole purpose in a story or film is to find the clueless white leading character, and give him or advice, then sacrifice himself for the MC.

This magic black man/woman typically doesn’t have their own storyline other than he or she is to be the MC’s guide. The magic black person has no family, no origins, and kind of a blank slate. This makes their character role pivotal, but also underwhelming.  Even Obi-Wan got to hang out and guide Luke after his death. Dude had more than agency—he had staying power.

By contrast, mentors are the archetype, and serve to guide the hero. They may sacrifice themselves, however they have agency and are viable parts of the narrative. For the record, the mentor for my novel has magic, and knowledge he teaches the MC how to use magic properly, but this is a world where magic exists.

The mentor in my novel evolved from being simply a mentor, to having elements of an ally (potential friend/companion), and trickster (who’s side are you on, anyways) archetypes.  He definitely has his own story arc, and he’s not the sole person of color in the story.

For the record, I love mentor roles in stories. I also love teachers, ad teaching. Academics is important to me personally. It’s important for me to get story elements correctly without falling into tropes and/or racial stereotypes.

Do I think I can have a black mentor for a white student? Do I think the roles can be misconstrued or misunderstood?  Can I give my mentor the role he deserves, past perceived limitations? Can I even defy expectations by not having a mentor be perfect or a great role model? The answer is “yes” to all of these questions.

Happy creative endeavors.