Yesterday marked the ending of an epic battle with my current nemeses.
Throughout my history, I have had a constant flow of these Machiavellian characters lurking in my peripheral vision. They tend to be bored housewives (who usually disapproved of my children and recycling skills) or bookkeepers. For some reason, I have never met a bookkeeper that I like. My current ones are called Elphaba and Schemgal. Elphaba won her name when the song lyrics “Loathing, unadulterated loathing, for your face, your hair your clothing……every little thing no matter small, makes my very skin begin to crawl” played in my head with each conversation. Schemgal earned his name because even his emails dripped with slime and narcissism.
My story starts out with me as mild mannered computer geek with the ability to create large, profit-inducing occurrences that help and inspire societies. I did this task with a minimum of flare and effort shown, and made mountains of cash for them. They did not like that I refused to share credit with their pure-functional exertions. They did not like my accounting. I saw this and patted their small heads (encasing their reptilian size brains) and thought that was the end. But no, Schmegal and Elphaba wanted more. They wanted me substrate and sorry. They rallied the troops, wrote mountains of emails regarding my character and finally pushed me too far.
I got out the thesaurus and wrote prose of mortality as that is how I handle conflict. I was sure the large words and insults would sail nicely over their craniums. It backfired, and the entire populace thought I was insulting them. I was forced to return to my mild manner existence. I gained knowledge, a few compatriots, but I was defeated. I am now looking for new nemesis’s, so please apply if you posses superior skill in sarcasm and word smithing.
This little exercise is a shortened version of the hero’s journey that each character must experience to connect with your audience. Follow this procedure for your main characters; make sure you do the following when creating them:
Introduction before 10 minutes or 10 pages.
No one keeps reading or watching after that period unless they have invested emotionally in the character. Love them or hate them, you got to have your audience captivated in intentional outcomes and what comes next.
Show them in an ordinary existence.
Every hero starts of as a normal Joe. We want to see them in all their flawed brilliance so we can relate. Make sure the first peek at your main character is one of an every day reality.
Set up a personal growth journey.
She may look like a mild manner writer, but give her a thesaurus’s and she simply jumps off the page.
Give them an occasion to rise.
During the showing of talent and power, make sure they achieve goals that delight them and inflame their sense of achievement, the audience is right there with you.
Come to a new understanding.
Through this ahhhaaaa moment, we see your character grow and become more flushed.
Set up a wall for your character to smash into.
Make it a big wall, draw metaphorical blood.
Do not drop a happy ending into their lap.
Your audience likes to see them struggle, beg, be humbled and ultimately win on their own accord.
No one likes to be rescued, expect Disney Princesses and even those stories do not end well.
Write a character arch using the 8 points. Make is simple, like thwarted by the grocery store bagger or trying to talk your way out of a ticket, or convincing your children to clean there room.
500 words- get out your pens and write!