Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thursday on Realistic Occupations

Do proper research on your character's occupation.
If someone wanted to make a movie about a teenager who writes YA lit, they could easily look at the bestsellers list to see who teenagers must love reading about. Odds are they might choose an author like Stephanie Meyer (Not here to say hate about Twilight).
The main character in the movie is a writer who wants to be just like Stephanie Meyer.
While there are many people who are like that, I know many other YA authors who would shake their head and think that is stereotypical because it is.
That is the expectation of someone who reads YA lit.
A lot of writers would be upset over this movie, and the same can be said about other occupations and how we portray them.
I also hate the idea that all writers/ booklovers love the classics. I understand their importance, but personally, I hate most classic novels (probably because of how they are taught). Shakespeare sends me into fits of rage, yet I still consider myself a writer.
Not every person in a set group likes what is expected.
Not every artist likes Picasso.
Not every musician likes the Beatles.
Not every chef likes Paula Deen (I know the media with her right now, but I couldn't think of another big name chef that everyone would recognize)

One way to remedy this is by creating an idol like John Green did in The Fault in Our Stars.
Another remedy is too really research into what these groups like. Read blogs, youtube comments, forums, whatever.

Make characters more than what people THINK they like.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thursday on Writing Unforgettable Antagonists

There is a photo that's been going around for a while with Professor Umbridge from harry Potter. The caption says something about how people hate her more than Voldemort. When I saw that, I responded as most people do: That is so true.
I didn't figure out why this was true until recently.
Professor Umbridge is an ACTIVE villain while Voldemort remained pretty inactive throughout the series.
Most of Voldemort's horrible deeds occurred before the novels even take place. Yes he killed and tortured thousands of wizards, but we never experienced that. We were just told "hey there's a scary guy who killed your parents, so you shouldn't say his name."
Even throughout the series, Voldemort didn't DO anything until the end of the books (not including Deadly Hallows).
Voldemort remained this constant threat that we never really had a chance to fear because we didn't see Harry tormented by him.
Professor Umbridge on the other hand constantly tormented the students which added to readers hating her.

My point is (in my tired state) the most powerful antagonists come from those who continuously antagonize the hero. Do not just wait until the last 20 pages to show how big band bad your antagonist is.