Developing Characters

The task of casting the characters and developing them to be plausible and three dimensional is as daunting (if not more so) as creating and developing a narrative arc that is compelling and entertaining (though it’s mostly subjective). The characters within the story are the puzzle pieces that fill the world of the Story; the setting (time and location) are backdrops to that tableau. As the Bard of Stratford-Upon-Avon once wrote:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts

It’s (almost) too easy to create character archetypes that perpetuate long standing stereotypes in the hopes of appealing to the mass market of readers – those types of characters “sell” and are identifiable to the general public. As mentioned in a fairly early entry, subtle variations on character archetypes (the Chosen One, The Rouge with the Heart of Gold, The Damsel in Distress, etc.) exist and are unique in their own fictional universe. They’re also familiar enough to keep the reader interested in their journey, and those differences are nuanced so no one author can accuse another of plagiarism.

Anyway.

The characters that populate (at least on paper as paragraphs of character traits and general exposition) my epic saga are loose extensions / exaggerations (?) of my own perceptions and perspectives of life as I know it, with dashes of idealism and catharsis. After all, fictional characters are at the mercy of their creator – they can be the Hero or the Scapegoat – and are bound to endure any and all trials and tribulations bestowed upon them (whether they want it or not). The exposition for the characters, their life experiences and the relationships they’ve had (or not had) shape their perception of their world, and give them motivation to do what they do. Shaping the unique personalities takes effort and creativity, and I will admit I’ve turned to online personality quizzes to help in this endeavor, along with character outlines to aid in visualizing the characters (as well as dream casting them when the stage / film / TV adaptation happens).

Thinking ahead is a good thing, even if it’s far flung and perhaps far-fetched – dreams can become reality… eventually.

Starting with the core four characters already mentioned in an earlier entry, their roles in the series saga (or at least the first part of the proposed three part series saga) remains murky, as their allegiances are (still) set in wet concrete. Though in the course of pondering and plotting their eventual place in this alternate historical universe, a quasi-major epiphany occurred involving one of the Core Four, which opened up a new possibility for that character’s journey and shifted the character’s personality and purpose within the narrative. Needless to say, the act of letting go of the one overarching character traits for this character (which had lived through many drafts of the plotting process) has made things a tiny bit clearer yet at the same time, created another set of almost infinite possibilities.

This can be a good thing or a bad thing (depending on your perspective).

Who knows.

Cooler weather has returned (along with misty rain), and the change of season has also arrived in the Land of Exposition. The foliage has turned to amber and pumpkins have mysteriously dotted the landscape; they’re being examined to ensure that they’re not land minds in disguise.

Change is in the air, and it’s all (fairly) good in the Land of Exposition, and the MASC Chronicles continues to be a solid Work (that is actually) In Progress.

Details to follow (as soon as the concrete settles).

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