Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Weekly Rants: September 19, 2012

Greetings Fellow readers! Welcome to another round of random rants. It's pretty much a slow week, but I had something in mind in past 24 hours as I wandered the internet, and figure that maybe I should share these thoughts.

NOTE: What I am about to share is not an absolute word nor intended to be educational. I neither have any form of college degree in philosophy, or creative writing, or anything else for that matter. All my statements are based on my personal experience so far in writing, and if what I say has a source, it will be duly noted and credited. Keep in mind that I have only have conviction in two things in the field of creative writing, Communication and Foreshadowing. Everything else I talk about are subjected to change as I gain more experience through constant writing of new stories and research of the sources that my works could be influenced or based on, like technology or medicine. Why I am writing this if I have this much crutch on my shoulders. It's because I am a writer and I have lot on my mind to write about... If that makes any sense. So on to my rant.


So as I have mentioned before, I had something in my mind. Characters. You see when I outlined 'Arcana Magi Memorial Vol. 3' in preparation for a first draft, something hit me. Something that bugged me. You see, I want to make Volume 3 about Sora because I haven't explored her character yet and I really messed up adding in Ciel as new character without giving my readers a chance to get to know Sora. I found this be a bad writing error on my part and thankfully given the way 'Memorial' is written, I knew I could make this up as early as possible before getting into the meat of this series. Of course I started asking myself regarding the plot, what should happen to Sora? See Sora was made into a Static Character. Basically what this means is that she is set on this single line with no room to grow or develop. This stems from the fact that, A) she has no backstory, a big mistake for an important character to the protagonist, and B) there is no motivation established for her to be in this story.

Let's look at Azure and Ciel.

Azure has motivation, unlocking the power of the Circle of Four Elements. Wants, to harness this Circle of Four Elements. Needs, to not die at the hands of the poison from the unstable mana. Mission, to protect the Mana she possess from external threats.

Ciel's motivation is to live a stable life. Wants her Blood Circle to be protected. Needs to harness the power of the Blood Circle due to its power.

Now I look at Sora. Motivation... I don't know. Wants... I don't know. Needs... I don't know.

Yet her back story is that, she is Azure's best since Azure arrived at Memorial Academy and she summons Golems.

Azure's back story is that she stole the Circle of Four Elements, has to see a doctor to purify her mana, and she barely knows the four mysterious creatures that punished her for stealing their Circle.

Ciel's backstory is that her parents are diplomats, her brother is loyal to her mother, and her mother tried to marry her off to advance social status.

So basically the point I am trying to make is simply, don't create a character you're not going to use. Now I have the benefit of writing 5 Chapter stories so I am capable of recovering from this error with Volume 3. In fact if any of you new writers out there, doing this kind of method of writing, particularly on the internet, and you realized after a couple of short stories that one of your characters is static, make a short story around that character. The earlier the better.

Now where did this thinking come from. Well I'll point to show I have been watching that got me thinking about Character usage. The show called Phi-Brain. It is currently airing on and Hulu. It is a story of teen prodigies who solve overly elaborate puzzles that will kill people who fail. What caught my attention was the character Nonoha. Unlike all the other characters and protagonist, she does not solve puzzles. Its because she is not a prodigy. However, it was established in the first episode. THE very first episode, that she has the ability of total recall. When she something, like say a map, she remembers it in detail down to the last letter. For team of puzzle solving prodigies, this is actually a very good ability to have on their team.

And that ability was used only once. And this series is 2 seasons in.

On top of that, we barely have any back story. Sure she may have some depth to her character, but its static. She barely grows and when there is an chance for her to grow, it either is forgotten the next episode or belittled by the other characters. Her purpose there is irrelevant.

So staring at Sora, I realized she has an ability that is very useful, but how did she build the golems, when did she build golems, why did she build the golems, why is she at the academy? I went two volumes never establishing such things, and I found myself a bad writer as a result.

This is where I came to the conclusion...

Every character has a purpose, even the crowd.

I don't know how many characters I either neglected or ignored throughout my years of writing, but I feel not establishing a character like Sora is a big mistake. I am offering readers to invest their time in Azure and Ciel, and I should offer Sora as well. She is important to Azure in so many as I have established in Volume 1 and should be explored.

Now logically writers cannot cover every character at once, and that character will be static no matter what. I feel that is wrong a mindset and bad writing. You bring a character in, we must know about that characters, or else it is a waste of story space that could be used on other characters that are more interesting. Even if by chance that one character is just gonna end up being nothing but action fodder fro the rest of the story, give the character purpose and a back story. In fact it only takes one or two lines of summary, action, or showing to establish this character and give readers an understanding that this person is part of this story and not a waste.

Wasted characters are bad.

I think I am repeating myself or going all over the place, so I will end my rant here.

Thank you all for listening to my rant. I hope this give you all insight into what I have learned in writing. I'll be back next week for another round of rants.

Until next time...
See ya.

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