Monday, October 8, 2012

How Thor Helped My Writing

I am a geek girl, through and through. I loved comics, computers, and chess as a high schooler...the three C's of social oblivion.

As a writer though, I KNOW that loving the epic struggles and sacrifices of my comic book *cough* graphic novel, heroes has served me well as an author.

Think of your favorite super hero and break down why you love them. Be it movie or magazine, the elements will inevitably be the same. And you can apply those points to your writing to construct riveting heroes your readers with love.
  • There are always TWO types of struggle going on.  The external, public stakes type of struggle. Be it aliens or mad men, there is something on the outside of the hero causing conflict.  But there is always...ALWAYS, some sort of inner struggle that pulls the audience in. Betrayal by a brother, loss of family, the ache for vengeance, a secret shame...something makes the hero the way he or she is.
  • There is a clear path for them. We know that the hero must defeat the villain. We know that all cannot be lost. We just don't quite know how he will get there, just that he HAS to for the good guys to win. Clear change. Definite Goal.
  • It is their soul not their strength that inspires us. We may not have special powers or super speed, but we can have an unbreakable spirit and that is what a great hero makes us aspire to. Someone that never gives up, does the honorable thing despite the cost, and lives for something real and noble.
  • Tension and conflict are integral to the story. They fight with people that love them, they are betrayed, they suffer crushing blows to their confidence and still keep going. Comics provide a great blue print for compelling stories. Good books are more than action scenes and bullet caliber descriptions. They are gripping because of the personal stakes.
  • The struggle resonates. Great stories of adventure and thrills all have a human core that readers can identify with. Sure we may not all have billions of dollars and cool gadgets, but we've lost people we love and felt helpless. Not all of us have magic hardware, but we've all felt the pain of failing expectations and hurt from loved ones. Human emotions are the core of any good story.
Take a moment to think about your main character. Be it hero or heroine. Do you like them or are they falling a little flat? They may be missing an element that makes them human....even if they come to reader by way of Mars. 

Until next time...Go Write!


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Great analogies. I wouldn't mind having that poster of Thor hanging over my desk.

DEZMOND said...

how I love when people learn things through films :) Especially when Chris Hunksworth is teaching ....

E.J. Wesley said...

So I totally thought this would be another one of those, "Hemsworth is dreamy" posts, Raquel. :-)

Love that you go into movies looking to learn from the stories. (I do the same.) Also love that you share in my super hero geek-love. :-)

L.G.Smith said...

Oh, I think you nailed it. That's exactly why we like our heroic characters, especially that internal vs external struggle.

Cathy said...

off topic, but I love your bad boy posts. My WIP has two of them--Mysterious is the hero; potential fails to live up to any potential. ;)

Raquel Byrnes said...

Susan - thanks so much and I agree...not hard to look at is he?

Dez - Hunksworth, LOL! True that.

E.J. - That is so awesome. is sexy!

L.G. - Awe, thanks. :)

Cathy - I'm so glad you liked them! Ooh, two bad boys. I'm all a-twitter!

Donna Hole said...

I like it when the overall plot is clearly defined within the first couple chapters, because for me, the fun is in seeing how the hero/heroine accomplishes the task, and what obstacles they overcome. And absolutely must have an excellent character plot. I love characters.

Ok, no I need to go rent Thor. Thats out on Red Box now, right?

I've missed you Racquel.


Laura Marcella said...

Great points! I'll remember this when revising.

Chris Hemsworth is so good as Thor!!

Janet Johnson said...

I hadn't thought of it, but it's pretty much the way it is . . . a superhero's best friend (at least one of them) will betray them. It really makes the fall SO much more tragic.

Comics are pretty awesome (though I'm only recently discovering them).

Raquel Byrnes said...

Donna - You should definitely rent Thor! And I have missed you too. :)

Laura - Hes so good as anything, really. And thanks!

Janet - Comics rock. And yeah, usually the betrayal is close and tragic.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oooh, great breakdown!

Kittie Howard said...

LG's right: You nailed it! The reader's got to feel that internal emotional struggle. We all go through it in real life. What we read has to relate. I remember reading Rosemary Rogers' "The Wolf and the Dove." Wow, wow, wow.

Thanks for stopping by, Raquel!

Maria McKenzie said...

Great points! Love how you point out that human emotions are the core of any good story. Everything springs from there.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Thank you, Jennifer! Glad you liked it.

Kittie - I'll have to check out that book. :)

Maria - Right you are. Isn't it weird no matter the genre there's always that human element?

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Raquel -

Great post! I love multi-faceted characters with a compelling story.

Susan :)

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

My favorite comic book character was Raven from the New Titans/New Teen Titans. She was half demon/half human. Her mother was raped by Trigon the Terrible (who was a powerful king in hell--I mean this dude enslaved even Superman). She always had to struggle against the tremendous evil that she had contained within her, and only managed to conquer it through the teachings of Azar (a goddess who had success in defeating Trigon once). She was a multi-faceted and fascinating character who had tremendous evil power bubbling beneath her skin but could contain it because her spirit and soul were so strong and good.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Susan - Thank you so much.

Michael - I used to love Teen Titans. Raven was so deadpan compared to Starfire. I used to love it when they referred to Robin's future as Night Wing.