A Celebration of Characters: Heroes Week

Now that we’ve thoroughly wrecked things with the worst of the worst, I think it only makes sense to put most of the broken bits back together, extinguish some of those fires, and get things back to normal. Naturally, the only reasonable way to go about this is with a week long celebration of types of heroes. To help further balance this out, I will do a week of minor, entirely-forgettable characters, such as the Crucial to the Book, but Left Out of the Movie (a criminally under-represented character if I’ve ever seen one).

…The real crime is that I didn’t think to make that joke closer to April Fool’s Day, now that I think about it. Oh well.

In light of some serious slacking in terms of notebook synopses of the intended posts, here’s what next week will probably look like. Unless, you know, I suddenly change my mind. And then, after all of this, we’ll be back to the regularly-ish scheduled suffering that is the Hundred Days of Blogging 2.0, followed by a now-serious, once-joking month-long hiatus from blogging in favor of novel-writing, possibly going outside, and mostly letting my brain recover.

Sunday (that’s today) – Introduction; a.k.a. the same thing as last week, but replace “villains” with “heroes” and “evil” with “good”

Monday: The Last-Minute Martyr

Tuesday: The Lovable Rogue

Wednesday: Error-of-His/Her-Ways Villain

Thursday: Heroes of Destiny

Friday: The Eternal Optimist

Saturday: Those Damn Paladins

I’ve run out of things to say now, as I’ve been binge-watching CinemaSins’ Everything Wrong With videos this morning instead of being productive. Womp womp.

 

A Celebration of Characters: Villains Week

It’s week one of that idea I mentioned yesterday! Surprise, it’s all about villains. Fret not, lovers of do-gooders and champions of justice, as the Heroes Week will follow with just as much attention and love as this one. I’m aware that’s shocking stuff, so don’t let that cause too much stress.

However, enough about heroes. This week is all about villains, and I’ve picked specific villainous types for each day from Monday through Saturday. I could explain it, but I took a picture of my notes earlier as a teaser and, really, that’s the easiest way to handle this. If we’ve not yet established my capacity for being supremely lazy, this is a great time to do so.

It's official because I wrote in a notebook.

It’s official because I wrote in a notebook.

The plan for each day is to define each type of villain mentioned above, giving specific examples in popular culture, and then discussing the pros and cons of their use. I’ll also be focusing on how they can, in their own way, be the heroes of their own narratives (even when they are causing chaos and destruction all around them). There are some exceptions to that last bit, as Friday and Saturday’s options don’t really leave a whole lot of room for arguing that they’re just misguided and trying to do what’s best. Old Gods and Liches are usually just forces of pure, ancient evil, after all, and so they’re typically convinced the best possible plan of action is laying waste to everything.

I’m especially excited for the Lich entry, but I’ve saved the best for last.

Brace yourselves, folks. This week’s about to get awfully evil.

Heroes: Plot Devices with Moral Compasses

A great villain is the source of tremendous conflict. They bring about havoc, sewing the seeds of destruction and chaos everywhere they go. Naturally, there exist such people who only desire to thwart such nefarious folks in their plotting and scheming. Such scoundrels range from the ignoble bound for redemption to nobles who must first fall from grace before finding their true purpose.

I’m talking about heroes in their many forms, and how they tend to ruin everything.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and though they may be little more than plot devices bolstered by a strong need to do good and right…I have to admit they are an essential part of storytelling. Without them, who would give help give villains better reasons to make use of their laser death rays? My disdain for the heroic aside, I must say that a good hero makes for a good story. That was painful to type, so I’ll just jump into some of the most beloved varieties of daring do-gooders before I start to really regret this post.

Continue reading

Preferred Varieties of Villainy

This has nothing to do with tonight’s post, but Fall Out Boy’s “Immortals” has been my jam since I watched Big Hero 6 a couple nights ago. I may not know what the Hell half of the lyrics are, but it’s fun listening. Also: it probably has a bit of a boost in how much I like it because I associate it with Big Hero 6, which is an absolutely phenomenal piece of cinema. Relating to movies, music, and so on, I’d like to take a moment from tonight’s post to say goodbye to Screen Robot. I found out it’s shutting down today. Screen Robot was one of the first homes to my writing that I didn’t create. I’m sad it’s gone, but as their Twitter pointed out I should be happy it existed and so I am.

Here’s a transition sentence because I’m feeling all sorts of lazy right now. Don’t you judge me, damn it.

It’s safe to say by this point I’ve established I prefer villains over heroes. One could even go so far as to say I’ve belabored that point, but that’s wrong because there is just so much to love about the wonderful world of villainy. Seriously, people: who do you think has more fun? The unlucky bastard who has to travel all the way to some far-off evil lair, getting battered and bruised along the way, or the evil genius with the frickin’ doomsday device? The answer’s obvious.

Villains are simply more fun to write. There’s no denying that, and with so many varieties of villainy it’s easy to get lost in having fun while writing them. I’m going to keep this relatively simple because I don’t want to write a thousand pages on this topic. There will be plenty of other blog posts down the road on the same damn topic anyway. Without compelling, well-written villains, even the best heroes aren’t any fun to watch. Their victories become hollow and bland. Here are just a few of the many entries one might encounter in a proper gallery of rogues. Continue reading

On Scott Pilgrim and character flaws

Once upon a time, back when I was still attending college at Edinboro, a movie titled Scott Pilgrim vs the World came out. At this point I had never heard of, let alone read, Scott Pilgrim. In my defense, which is difficult to say I suppose given how much other nerd culture I readily gravitated towards, I hadn’t really started branching out with what comics I consumed. Read that last bit as “I only read the Joker-related Batman graphic novels and Johnny the Homicidal Maniac at this point” and it’ll make more sense. Everyone I knew at the time happened to be rabidly frothing at their mouths about how the movie adaptation of these beloved graphic novels was the best thing ever. There was much outrage regarding the fact I’d not seen it. How dare I?

I did something I was very good at doing at that time; I deliberately avoided all and any possibility of seeing Scott Pilgrim vs The World for as long as I could. This plan served me well, or at least it did until I found myself in a particularly unpleasant mood. One trip to Walmart and a sudden treat-myself-purchase later, and I had the Blu-ray copy. There was probably some motivation there outside of just having an up-and-down experience at Edinboro, but that has since gotten lost with time. What I do remember is that I invited people over to my apartment, which had gotten to a point where it felt large and empty and very lonely at most times, and I watched this movie. Continue reading

Become your own hero

And other one-sentence platitudes straight from the School of Shallow-Thinking Drivel-Poop.

I jest.

A very big influence in my writing, which is the same very big thing that can be applied to most any artist and their works, is the works of authors I hold in very high regard. Pratchett, Gaiman, Moore, and so on. People who have written works (books, short stories, and anything else) that have left me wanting to create something just as amazing as what I’d just read. Writing with words blended in such a masterful way that I just had to sit down and get to my own creative processes. This is both a wonderful and treacherous thing as it makes creating a balancing act.

On one hand it would be very easy to follow in the footsteps of one or more of the previously mentioned writers, borrowing bits and pieces of their styles and voices as it suited me. I imagine, with the right level of effort and patience, such writing could yield a very strong end result that would read almost entirely (but not quite) like a work of my own hard labors. Continue reading

Ding! Character’s done.

I’d like to say, dear readers, I wish you were all here so I could share some of this delicious hot apple cider I’ve mixed with Maker’s Mark, but I’m also a terribly selfish person and I don’t think Jason would approve of me having a ton of strangers in his house for no reason other than sharing my booze. I’m making today’s post right at the start of today, as it’s a most auspicious occasion. I get to meet Jason’s new girlfriend, which means it’s my duty as Jason’s best friend (or at least as one of the people who holds such status) to pass righteous, evil judgment on her!

My nefarious ways aren’t the focus of today’s post, however. Continue reading