Student Enrollment: Character and Theme 2
Posted 26 August 2012 - 04:04 AM
I'm planning to continue refining the same story from lesson 1, is that how you planned it to work?
Posted 27 August 2012 - 05:53 AM
Anyway, on with the show. Hope this is what you were looking for, please let me know if you think I should expand on anything here.
Protagonist vs. Antagonist
This is much more difficult than I thought it would be, I think my story has a few different Protagonist/Antagonist through lines. I'll attack each one separately as I think they are all valid and I wouldn't want any of them not thoroughly thought out or developed. I'm going to try not to ramble, but it might get a little long.
Good vs. Evil
Protagonist - The good guys, the team as a whole (Astoaw, Theramond, Caredon)
After months of searching, Astoaw and Theramond finally tracked down the "Moon Crystal" that had been stolen from the palace. The only problem was that the crystal is being held in the mountain lair of the evil Lord Skarends. The two adventurers decided they couldn't tackle Lord Skarends alone and found another adventurer ready to help bash evil, Caredon. The three thusly began their adventure to rescue the crystal from the Lord's evil hands.Antagonist - Lord Skarends
Having finally collected the "Moon Crystal", Lord Skarends plots to use it to take over the world. Unfortunately for for him, he can't seem to harness the great white power inside the crystal. He must send out his minions to collect the adventurers who he has heard are coming to steal the crystal from him. He will get the information from them by any means.
Old Friendships vs. New Friends
Protagonist - Caredon
As the new guy on the small team, Caredon feels that he is left out without knowing all the inside jokes and not being able to participate in the conversations about past battles Astoaw and Theramond went on together. He wants to impress the other two and show that he is part of the team. He feels that Theramond is careless and jokes around with Astoaw too much, seemingly constantly trying to keep his attention. Caredon thinks its better to prove he is an important member of the team by being helpful in battle and watchful outside of battle to keep them all safe.
In general, he's distrusting of anyone he doesn't know. This includes the new guy, Caredon. When they are on the trip, Caredon doesn't seem to be one of the team - he' doesn't joke around and at camp he mostly just sits by his own tent messing with gear instead of by the fire talking and drinking. Theramond doesn't understand this type of behavior and considers Caredon rude and it seems like he is only there to collect the loot and then leave them if times get tough.
Loyalty vs. Fear
Protagonist - Loyalty
1 - After Astoaw and Theramond are captured, they face torture as Lord Skarends and his minions try to get information from them. When they realize that Caredon actually has what Skarends is looking for, each of the men must decide to protect their team-mate and friend or to save himself by giving the man up.
2 - When his team-mates are captured, Caredon must decide to go rescue them or to run away and save himself. Though they had ups and downs on the journey together, he feels like they are friends and he is sure that if he was the captured one, they would do everything they could to save him.
1 - Even though Astoaw and Theramond are strong adventurers, they are both afraid for their lives in the clutches of Skarends. Giving up Caredon, a man they hardly know, would be so easy and would end the pain. The fear threatens to take over the hearts of the men as they are held captive.
2 - It had already been a long quest, and they'd collected a lot of loot, and Caredon had his share. After carefully sneaking into the dungeon, he saw what was happening to his friends and it terrified him. He realized he has what Skarends is looking for. It would be so easy to just slip away into the night.
Posted 09 September 2012 - 09:03 PM
Feminist playwrights of the 60's and 70's purposely wrote their plot to not follow the average plotline: build-up, climax, resolution. They believe it mirrored the male orgasm and called it the phallocentric plotline. Their plays follow what they call a gynocentric plotline, putting in several climaxes and different intervals or none at all. The plot doesn't happen linearly, following the action, it is non-linear following an emotional line. Some sub-plots are touched on but never resolved, etc. Basically, they broke the existing "rules" to reflect their view of life and express themselves, artistically, the way they could best.
Now, to your specific assignment:
Protagonist vs. Antogonist
Many stories do have several different protagonists and antagonists. It is good to try and identify as many as possible. There certainly doesn't have to be just one and a story is more dynamic if we see several themes demonstrated by different conflicts.
Good vs. Evil
This is the main physical conflict of the story, it seems. There's a bad guy, he has to be taken down. Clear, definable, easy to demonstrate and achieve. Very good. One subjective note: the "evil guy who wants to take over the World" borders on 2-dimensional. We've seen him before. I think of Marvin the Martian or Pinky and the Brain. This isn't, at all, to belittle your story or the conflict you've identified. I just think it's as important to flesh out your antagonist as much as your protagonist. Is Lord Skarends like Sauron? Just consumed by evil and does nothing but burn like a huge eye over the land? Or is he more like Ben from LOST? Everything he does has a valid reason and it makes for a very intriguing character. He's an asshole, but he's also been through a lot and the viewer is treated to the story and has an understanding of why he is the way he is. So he may kill your favorite characters but he chose to be evil through a series of unfortunate events. And killing and lying became the easier way to power. Again, this is subjective. I'm not saying Sauron the burning eye isn't a strong character. Well...he's more of a plot device, but that's debatable.
Old Friendships vs. New Friendships
This is the main emotional conflict and the resolution demonstrates the theme. You can't demonstrate this conflict or the theme without the need of taking down the bad guy. So the story is really about this group of friends. But what are they doing that needs this theme resolved? They're saving the world. High stakes, plenty of opportunity to demonstrate your theme. I really love this as part of your story. You've identified the hero, Caredon, and we get to see how he works in many situations, just in your first story. Not only that, it gives us a realistic place to see true conflicts. The band of unlikely heroes doesn't always need to be best of friends and it's more interesting to see a real conflict holding them back from beating that main protagonist. Yes, the characters that become friends start out in an antagonistic relationship. We see this a lot, but it's often very surface level. Bringing it to the level of them being able to turn on each other to save their own lives reminds me of Joss Whedon's Firefly series. They always worked together when the group was under threat, but there's a very tenuous hold on their own relationships and safety amongst each other. This leads you to more ways to define your characters. What evils have the committed in the past? What makes them good mercenaries? Have they always been on the side of good? Could one of them turn easily? Does one of them turn? Ooh, story arcs!
Loyalty vs. Fear
Another emotional conflict and an internal one. You have this one down. It's an internal battle we all fight in one way or another and if you can put your own experiences into it and make a real honest character from the conflict, it will be extremely interesting to watch.
What you've done here, which is awesome, is completely flesh out the conflict of your story. You have a physical conflict, an emotional conflict and an internal conflict. There are so many ways to use these conflicts to create an interesting story. Whenever you are writer blocked, you need only take a look at these conflicts that you've fleshed out here and think of ways to demonstrate them and mix them to convey your theme.
See how that works? Give you any new ideas for your characters and stories? Quick! Go write them down!!
Before moving on to the next lesson, leave feedback here or ask more questions. You've passed this one. So we can move on whenever you are ready. Thanks for being patient with my schedule.
Next lesson: Fleshing out your character.
Posted 09 September 2012 - 11:42 PM
This whole story concept was originally intended as a small "backstory" for two of my characters in a much larger story. When I initially had the concept for this backstory (almost two years ago now), I never dreamed that I would be putting so much depth into it. However, in working with these lessons it has really given me so many ideas on story arcs and directions I can take them. It's really great, I'm totally enjoying this and I think in the end the big project I had in mind will benefit greatly from all the work I'm doing here on this small story.
I do realize the "Good vs. Evil" is a bit flat, but it's only there because there has to be something, some reason for them to be together. The real story is about the other two conflicts I outlined. That said, since reading this analysis, I am now thinking of expanding and fleshing out Lord Skarends and giving him more depth and reason for being.
You've really given me a lot to think about here, and I greatly appreciate it. So many directions I can go with character development, and by the end of all this I think the actual story is going to practically write itself!
I'm really looking forward to tackling the next lesson and fleshing out some characters!
Here's the photo I had created in 2011 for the main characters of the original story (that this one is a backstory for). Maybe you can guess which one is Caredon.
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