Crossover Queen had a thought-provoking post on her site about emotional investment in the characters of her favorite stories. This was spurred by the tumblr post here, which is interesting reading in itself. Both of them pointed out that plots revolving around “saving the world” and a “Chosen One” – as they are presently presented, … Continue reading Writerly Sound Bites, Number 12: Emotional Continuity for Characters in Fiction
Mr. Haldeman’s statement appears rather condemning at first blush. “Write what you know” – what do you know? In the speculative genres, none of us know what space travel or Faerie is like. We can study the biographies of astronauts, but that does not mean we know, firsthand, what it is like to visit space. … Continue reading Writerly Sound Bites, Number 11: Write What You Know, or Who You Know?
Per the sixth installment in this series, we have seen that characters do not simply break due to an “earthshattering event.” The eighth installment, which had to be split into three separate articles, went into detail about how characters broken by other people can heal from this trauma. Some rightly ask, however, about the Character … Continue reading Writerly Sound Bites, Number 10: Character Progression – What About Characters Broken Beyond Repair?
Hermes, messenger of the gods As I mentioned in this Superversive Livestream here, archetypes are the frameworks or skeletons on which one builds a character. They are not the entire character, as Living Anachronism ably explains here, but they give writers the broad design and understanding of the character’s place within a narrative and the … Continue reading Writerly Sound Bites, Number 9: Character Progression – When Does “Interesting” and “Realistic” Belie Contempt for an Established Archetype and Personality?
Brunhilde (Marvel Comics) Thus far we have looked at how children and men are broken and remade in abusive situations. It is not a pleasant picture and the road back is rough even for the strongest members of each demographic. Manipulation cannot be overcome in an hour, perhaps not even a year; it takes time, … Continue reading Writerly Sound Bites, Number 8: Character Progression – How Characters Broken by Trauma Recover and Rebuild, Part 3
Part one of this mini-series within the Writerly Sound Bites series focused on characters who suffered abuse in childhood that affected them in a variety of ways. But that meant the topic was limited to the most vulnerable among us: children. Children are incapable of defending themselves and are thus dependent almost entirely on adults … Continue reading Writerly Sound Bites, Number 8: Character Progression – How Characters Broken by Trauma Recover and Rebuild, Part 2
If we seem to be focusing on broken characters exclusively, future authors, the reason for that is a fair number of creative writing courses and a lot of advice ties back to the sound bite I criticized here at the start of this series: the need to give characters flaws. Too often the “flaws” modern … Continue reading Writerly Sound Bites, Number 8: Character Progression – How Characters Broken by Trauma Recover and Rebuild, Part 1
Last week we established that a broken character can and often does maintain the traits he spent years developing even when he chooses to act contrary to his nature. When a man like Bowen from Dragonheart* becomes a dragonslayer, for example, he is doing so in an effort to atone for an error he made, … Continue reading Writerly Sound Bites, Number 7: Character Progression – How Broken Mentors and Mentors Who Aren’t Broken Deal with the Loss of What They Held Dear
Considering the points made in the previous two articles here and here, one has to wonder what makes a character at all. If it isn’t earth-shaking events like those seen in Picard, Avengers: Disassembled, or The Last Jedi that make a character who he is, then what does? What does real character progression look like? … Continue reading Writerly Sound Bites, Number 6: Character Progression – Consistency and Repetition Make Even a Broken Character Who He Is
Last week we discussed “shock and awe” events in three popular serials. These events were supposedly meant for character development, but they only succeed in destroying said characters, along with the canon and continuity of the franchise. However, one has to wonder just why the actions forced on the characters mentioned in the previous post … Continue reading Writerly Sound Bites, Number 5: Character Progression – Which Archetype Are You Using?