Vigilantism is one of those aspects that often carries a certain romanticism to it in media. Whether it’s a lone, broody person or a group, there is something poetic about people’s justice and the idea any person is able to take down criminals. As such, vigilantes can often be a very popular type of character to write, fueling our imaginations with exciting imagery of daring trials and the ultimate prevailing of justice. However, vigilantes are also a hard sort of character to write, as it often requires a certain balance between numerous aspects to succeed. Today, I would like to talk about 4 elements to writing a vigilante character that I think are important to achieving that success. While some may be obvious, they are things I do think get overlooked, so hopefully they will be contextualized in a way that gives you food for thought.
No matter what type of story you like, stories are all focused on the same thing: the journey from one point to another. Sometimes these points are physical locations, and sometimes they’re internal, emotional journeys that realistically take place in a matter of seconds. Nevertheless, as story consumers, we are partaking in a journey, usually with the focus being on one or more characters. With this in mind, there is a major expectation that comes with the concept of a journey: change. When a character goes on a journey, they are expected to grow. This growth doesn’t have to be positive, but nevertheless characters are expected to show how a particular journey affected them. This is not only important for making a story good, but also important for making a story impactful.
Unfortunately, character growth can be a hard concept to master for beginners (and even for those more experienced at writing). However, I feel if you break it down, there are five basic types of character growth that you can use to create a compelling narrative. Today, I would like to talk about these five types a little bit, breaking down the larger concept into more digestible chunks.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead for the beginning of Detroit: Become Human.
As I did a previous week, this week we’re going to analyze a story and how it accomplishes a specific writing element. In this week’s case, we’re taking a look at Detroit: Become Human and how I believe the game manages to give us an immediate connection to the three playable characters: Connor, Markus, and Kara. Obviously, this is simply my opinion, but I think it is an analysis worth tackling.
A few posts ago I wrote some foundational writing tips in regards to creating and writing characters. In summary, I touched upon getting down the appearance basics, understanding character motivation, and using back story to create pieces of interest. Of course, these sorts of things are very foundational when it comes to character writing. They will serve you well and you can create compelling characters just by following those tips. However, there are always more steps you can take to create even deeper character. Thus, today I would like to share some more character writing tips. This time, though, I will be targeting some deeper questions and considerations that you can use to strengthen the presence of your character. Some of them are easier than others, but if you at least take them into consideration you’ll be well on your way to creating some even more awesome characters.
Sometimes as a somewhat more experienced writer, I take for granted important foundations that not everyone has when it comes to writing. Whether it’s how to make a plot in the first place or how to format your writing, these are all important aspects to understand and practice when you’re a beginner (or heck, even when you’re experienced). Thus, today I would like to tackle one of those basic foundations every writer should be able to handle: characters. Characters are the life blood of any fictional story, so knowing how to create them is monumentally important. I will start with the most basic of tips and work my way up. Hopefully, at the end of this tips session, you’ll be ready to write many amazing characters.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR UNDERTALE!
One of the stranger polarizing issues I’ve come across in the game community is silent protagonists. Some people love them and think they add to the immersion. The player is not forced into a character’s dialogue choices, and they can feel more like they are the character due to the silence. Other people hate them. They often view it as a developer being lazy, and they also believe that it makes a character very flat since they have no real personality without dialogue to convey it.
This being the case, indie devs and homebrew devs may find themselves in an odd situation. Should they risk people’s ire and make a silent protagonist, or should they risk a different people’s ire and have their character have spoken dialogue? This can be a crucial decision when handling the writing of a game. However, it is my opinion that what matters more is the protagonist is written and executed well, regardless of whether or not they’re silent. Thus, today I would like to bring to you three questions you can ask yourself before you decide to make your protagonist silent or not. These will prioritize the quality of the story versus other factors.
One of the more difficult things to talk about when it comes to writing, in my opinion at least, is point-of-view. Though the concept itself is pretty easily grasped, it’s also a major one that gets brushed off as unimportant in a lot of cases. Particularly for writers who write their stories by instinct, the point-of-view is something that happens naturally depending on what they’re going for. Unfortunately, this can often result in the point-of-view being written poorly.
However, of particular note for today’s tips, we’re going to focus in on stories where the point-of-view is limited, but the limited view is switched between various characters. Now for some who aren’t avid readers, this may seem like a foreign concept to a degree. There are numerous contemporary stories that use limited view, but they only ever focus on the protagonist. However, there are indeed still others where it utilizes specific viewpoints of different characters to show different aspects of the story (Game of Thrones is one example).
Why this particular subject, though? In my opinion, it is perhaps the one that poses the most risk to poor writing, as characters are often the driving force of a story. As such, messing up how these viewpoint switches occur can quickly turn readers off. There are ways to prevent this though, which is my goal for today: tips on how you can make sure you’re able to switch characters successfully. Please keep in mind there are numerous things to watch out for, but these are the areas I believe one should be most concerned with.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Coraline.
Recently, I decided to watch Coraline for the first time. Considering I’m some eight years late, you may be able to guess that I am not particularly the type of person who watches movies often. This is due to the fact that I am pretty picky with movies. I’m in no way an expert on them, of course, and I’ve liked plenty of “bad” movies. However, 90% of movies I watch don’t really do anything for me. Sadly, this movie was no exception. That being said, I know this is a pretty beloved movie, so please understand what I’m about to say is just my opinion. If you love the movie, that’s fantastic, and I hope you’ll continue to support it. For me, however, the movie had many flaws, the primary flaw being the protagonist herself. So, without further ado, let’s jump into my analysis of why Coraline is a terribly written protagonist.