Thresholds II

Also tragic story doesn’t have to end with the hero’s life, right?  What if the hero lost something of great value to them; wealth, family, reputation, happiness, sanity, health.

This loss would have a great impact on who they are: The athlete who could no longer compete due to health issues. The philanthropist who loved using his money to help others fulfill their dreams. The once proud writer accused of plagiarism who can’t get a call back.

Villains, in a lot of stories can be tragic heroes, and it gives them enough of a sympathy that their fall is both interesting, and memorable. Why aren’t the heroes this way?

Ultimately, for me, the writer, a hero has to at least be brought to the edges of defeat, or at least close enough to know and feel the the weight of the stakes involved in the wins or loss. It’s rather scary to me.

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Thresholds I

Today’s writing question: Would you dare write your characters as tragic heroes? I ask this as it bothers me to think of my heroes in such a bad way, knowing their actions will lead to their own undoing. This is coming from someone who loves to put his heroes through a lot of paces, BUT none of it has lead to them to their deaths.

By contrast I love strength through adversity, which is why my heroes take a beating and keep on moving towards their greatness.   

I ask this question because it forces me to think about turning ALL the screws to heroes who are possibly paying the ultimate price for their actions, and it’s not necessarily a noble sacrifice. Needless to say, I would be plotting and chronicling some serious emotional and physical pain that may or may not be fun, yet compelling journeys. 

That said, what if I had tragic elements that threatened their worlds, but didn’t completely end the characters? It wouldn’t be a true tragic story, but the characters would come real close to danger, and/or death. They’d be fundamentally changed, or at least shook to their core over what could have happened to them.

 

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.

Writing Exercises

Today I came up with random character descriptions to see if I could make main characters (MC) who weren’t too passive in their own story.

Let’s see:

  • Broke, drunk ho who needs to pay off gambling debts over having a good time.
  • Slacker who hates his job of preventing the apocalypse from starting.
  • Witless, vain romantic who causes drama and heartbreak everywhere they travel.
  • Shameless social climber not afraid to stab friends in the back for personal gain.
  • Reckless blabbermouth who feels satisfied spreading gossip and lies.

As I said, these are random character ideas, just to get me in the mind of making characters less passive and more active in their own stories.

If I had to modify these, I would add some goofiness to them, really because I like goofy things, and have a hyper imagination. By goofy I also mean weird and fun to me.

So:

  • Broke, drunk ho is desperate to pay off gambling debts to slug gangsters and vicious loan roaches who want their money, or they’re gonna feed the MC to the angry ants.

Mind you, I find this totally gross, however, I wonder if I can make that work.  It’s not on my “to do” list of stories, but it’s funny to keep my mind to work. It’s all super random and needs a lot more work, but this is part of the learning process.

Happy creative endeavors.

An Emotional Response

Here’s something I was thinking about, in regards to writing stories and scripts. I was wondering what and how I, the writer, can create something that I, the viewer, could emotionally respond to. Sounds simpler in my head.

A while ago, I wrote out a story where the characters’ actions dictated a lot of the conflict, as opposed to dialogue. It had a sense of urgency and danger, and I kept the scene, not knowing how or when to use it.

I experimented with this method a couple of times, then abandoned it. There was, however, something to be said when you can only imagine parts of the sounds and words, as well as feeling the urgency and danger.

I think that time has come to revisit this aspect of writing.  I don’t have a why now so much as it crossed my mind moment, and I’m always looking at ways to tell stories and retain some impact past a moment.

Happy creative endeavors.

Damaged II

After the previous post, I looked at each of my characters to see the direction I steered them towards. A lot of my characters stated as an extremely passive. They didn’t act or react to their situations, nor did they reach for a goal, which is bad for story and character progression.

I also previously wrote that it seemed like “damaged” characters (manly from soap operas I used to watch) made things happen in storylines. Those characters with passion seemed to have the freedom to act. When some of these cats got knocked down, they got back on their feet, and tried a different approach.

The above actions are typically what I see with villains in many stories. They could be earnest, aggressive, and assertive. They didn’t simply react, they acted, they had goals, and no one was getting in their way. If you did get in their way, well, you were bound for trouble.

Heroes should be this way as well, and this may have been a blinding factor for me.

In soaps, many heroes (not all) can be passive, unsuspecting, and clueless to the world around them. The hero defined the genre of melodrama, which is, bad things happen to good people. To me, a soap opera hero didn’t have to do much in the story other than be the constant victim of a damaged character.

It’s only when the hero’s caught onto what was going on in the world around them, was he or she able to react, but it’s always at a late, late moment. By then the villain has made attempts to get their goals, got thwarted, and took a different routes to get what they want. The villain has had far more time to for character development and growth. The villain pushes the narrative with great urgency and strength.

Some villains typically do what the hero should be doing in a given story, which is make things happen.  It also suggests to me that the narrative theory is that those only who have desire act in a devious manner.  If you are bubbled and pure you will persevere though simply being good.  Total rubbish.

I believe characters must be active in their own story or they will be supplanted by another more engaging characters.  This may also explain the appeal of villains as secret MCs in storylines.  Think of how flat some storylines are when the hero and/or villains are cardboard. It’s what I’m doing right now.

As always, happy creative endeavors.

Tuesday is a Silly Day…Somewhat

Today I shall simply write, as ideas seem to pop outta nowhere, and they are outlandish. Outlandish is good, fun, and notoriously silly. They make me laugh, and then I move on from them.

I usually leave my outlandish ideas off the table for consideration to produce or publish, as my fear is no one will “get” these ideas, but today, let’s throw caution to the wind.

The fact remains that there’s a chance that any or all of my material won’t be considered for production  and published (and I have had a screenplay and several stories rejected)  and while rejection is a hard groin kicker, it’s not like that’s ever made me feel like I need to go 100% full stop. I’m a masochist for writing projects.

I must also be an optimist who believes in his work, and wants to get better. I confess every day is a learning process that I’m willing to work on and improve.

That said I have an idea—it’s silly, nonsensical, and amusing–that needs to get onto paper. Gotta go make that happen.

Happy creative endeavors.