power and weakness

anonymous asked:

Really Raphael? Really? Lotte? I think you can do soooo much better than that, there's surely a better tasting personification out there for a fox like you. I mean you got that power dom thing going on, and the power two things weak willed people fall for.

“I know, but…
This one is so pretty and obedient.”

The 9 Elements of a VILLAIN

If we’re being honest, one character is always the most fun to develop when you’re writing a new story. It must be the main character, right? The person you’re going to follow throughout the story, the one that means the most to you?

Nope. It’s the villain.

Villains are just FUN. You get to creep into the darkest corners of your writer brain and conjure up the most unashamedly detestable human being you possibly can. 

This is how we look when we begin creating a villain. 

But sometimes, it can be difficult to to make sure they’re fully believable humans. So here are the nine elements that have helped me out when developing these terrible people … 

1) Hero’s Shadow:

The relationship between the main character and the villain is the most important one in the story, because it is the source of all conflict. Without the villain causing trouble, the main character wouldn’t have the chance to be a hero. Without that trouble, the main character’s weaknesses wouldn’t be pressured, which means they couldn’t change. The villain is a condensed and magnified embodiment of the inner weakness that the hero is battling. They’re the SHADOW of hero, the example of what will happen if the main character goes down the wrong path. Both are facing the same problem in different ways. For example Darth Vader and Luke.  

2) Conflict Strategy:  

In the pursuit of stopping the hero from achieving their goal, the villain is going to attack them on 1) a personal relationship level 2) a societal level and 3) an inner level. They’re going to attack the people around them, they’re going to cause consequences for the community surrounding them, they’re going to get into their head and plague them. Because the hallmark of a villain is that they’re the person who’s perfectly suited to attack the hero’s greatest weakness. Villains should have a distinct set of tactics to destroy the main character, on at least two levels. 

3) Flaws: 

This one’s expected. Of course a villain has flaws, it’s in the job description. But flaws do not equate to ‘He kicks turtles every morning before breakfast’ or 'His favorite hobby is butterfly stomping’ or, more within the realm of possibility, “He wants to kill the hero”. These are evil actions, NOT flaws. A lot of villains, particularly in movies, will be given horrible things to do without any explanation for WHY they do them. And it’s pretty easy to give them reasons: just give them human weaknesses! That’s it. Whether the actions they take are as small as theft or as big as blowing up a planet, these actions stem from recognizable HUMAN FLAWS. So like a main character, a villain needs mental and moral flaws.  

Yup, even Maleficent has human flaws. And she’s a dragon part of the time. 

4) Counter Goal: 

All characters exist because they want something. And what do villains want? To get whatever the main character wants (for very different reasons), to stop them from reaching their goal, or another goal that directly conflicts with the hero’s goal. As long as that big tangible thing they want locks hero and villain in battle, you’re good. Think 101 Dalmatians: Cruella and the good guys are fighting over the puppies.  

5) Surface Motivations:  

Why is it that villains always have a team of followers? Because villains never outright state their true motivations. They always have a cover story, and that cover will paint them as righteous. Villains want to look like the good guy. So their real Hidden Motivations are defended by twisting perceptions of Good & Evil, by portraying evil acts in a positive light, by indulging their followers selfish emotions and desire to feel like “one of the good guys. " 

Take Gothel for example: she’s a loving mother who wants to protect her daughter from all the world’s darkness. (Sure you do, Flynn stabber.)  

Surface Motivations never stand up to logical scrutiny and a functioning moral compass, but giving your bad guy a compelling argument against your good side always makes things more interesting, which brings us to …

6) Counter Statement:

The main character needs to learn some kind of truth that will enable them to fix their lives, overcome their weaknesses, banish their ghosts. It’s whatever statement about "how to live a better life” you want to prove with your story. Your villain has other ideas. They don’t agree with that statement, have other beliefs about living life well, and represent an argument against it. For example, Voldemort: “there is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it." 

Although your argument isn’t very convincing, Voldy. I mean, you’re living in the back of some guy’s head.

7) Characterization: 

This is everything on the surface of the villain. The way they speak, the way they look, the way they act, their role in life, their status and power. This is the facade they project for the world to see, a calculated effort to control how they are perceived. This is closely connected to that surface want, because that surface is what they wish people to believe about them. Over time, the reader and the other characters are going to be able to see through this mask and see what it conceals. My favorite Disney example of this is Mother Gothel: on the surface she’s this bubbly mom who loves Rapunzel and wants to protect her from the harshness of the world. 

You can think of this as the text … 

8) Hidden Motivation: 

And this is the subtext. That surface motivation they want the world to believe is a mask concealing their true motivation, which is always rooted in their flaws,  selfishness, and skewed beliefs. 

9) Ghosts, Justification, Self-Obsession: 

These three are closely related, so they get counted together.
Like main characters, villains have GHOSTS: events from their backstories that knocked their worldviews out of alignment, that marked the beginning of their weaknesses, that haunt them still. Because these happened, the originally benign person allowed themselves to turn into someone who could occupy the job of "villain” in a story. Usually, these events are genuine misfortunes and are worthy of sympathy, just like the ghosts of a main character. Think of Voldemort growing up in an orphanage talking to snakes.

BUT! When it comes to ghosts, the major difference between a hero and a villain is HOW THEY DEAL with these unpleasant past events. Both have suffered, but react to suffering in very different ways. A villain will be consumed by these events, obsessed with the real (or imagined) persecution or disadvantage they’ve endured, convinced that all personal responsibility is nullified by their status of injured party. Past tragedies become a talisman that grants immunity from decency. 

This scene from A Series of Unfortunate Events sums it up.  An adult makes an excuse for a terrible person by saying he had a terrible childhood. And Klaus replies: 

Yes, maybe they’ve both lived through tragedy. But THE KIDS aren’t hurting others because of it. 

Because villains, who are constantly victimizing heroes, are completely convinced that THEY are the true victims here. No matter what they do, no matter what they are, they blame everything on that ghost, whether it was another person, society, or circumstances. And later they blame the hero, who they see as the REAL villain. For example, Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame:  

“It’s not my fault, I’m not to blame”

So! WHY are villains like this?

SELF-OBSESSION! Yup, villains spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about themselves and their plights and their plots. Think of any villain and it’s not hard to see the inherent narcissism behind everything they do. Like willingness to take action is the nonnegotiable trait of a main character, self-obsession is the trait that all villains seem to share. 

So! Developing villains in this way has worked out for me so far. If it looks like it might be helpful for you, give it a try.

And in the spirit of creating someone to torment our main characters and ruin their lives, here’s one more maniacal laugh for the road:

You know what, the ‘suddenly, there’s 5 more Winter Soldiers’ subplot

has gotten a lot of flack, and I don’t disagree that it could and should have been handled a lot better, but even as it is, I really really like what it says, or rather, confirms about Bucky.

Keep reading

2

every time lexa says clarke’s name: 13/?

prongswhatthefuck2  asked:

What are some good tips for getting started with writing a book? I have a concept but i can't put it into place.

Getting Started with Your Story

There’s no one way to start writing a book. For some people, it’s enough to just jump in and start writing to see where the story takes them. If you’re not too keen on that idea, then here is one process (as in, not the only process) that might help you move beyond your concept. 

  • Concept ≠ Plot

Many writers mistake concept for plot, but they’re actually two very different things. A world where everyone grows up with superpowers is a concept; the plot is what you decide to write about within that concept - the specific characters and what happens to those characters; who your antagonist is and what conflict arises when that antagonist goes after what they want. All of these things contribute to your plot. 

So first, define what it is you actually have at this particular point. Do you just have a concept? If so, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to develop that concept into a plot. 

  • Concept >>> Plot

If you’ve decided that all you really have is a concept, then how do you take it and turn it into a plot? You brainstorm. All brainstorming really amounts to is expanding your ideas. All you’re doing is asking questions about the concept and delving deep into the answers. 

The most simplistic way to start this process, especially if you’re struggling, is to ask one of two questions (or both, if applicable). These two questions: What could go wrong? What could go right?

Going back to my example about a world where everyone grows up with superpowers. If I were to ask the question “what could go wrong,” I’d end up with a whole list of possibilities. 

  • The powers suddenly disappear
  • People start abusing their powers
  • Someone figures out how to steal powers
  • A hierarchy of strong vs. weak powers develops, creating superiority/inferiority dynamics
  • Someone is born without a superpower

There are many more possibilities I didn’t even think of here, but any one (or more) of these could become a plot. Choose one that sounds interesting, and then ask yourself “and then what?” 

Say I choose: Someone figures out how to steal powers. Then what does that person do? Do they recruit people to do the dirty work for them? Do they work alone? Do they hoard these powers and barter them for other goods? Do they attempt to enslave people? Do they attempt to take control of institutions? What do they do?

Your goal is to take your ideas and turn them into actions taken by characters. People doing things. And each piece you add will usually lead into another. If you went with the idea that this character is stealing powers and essentially selling them for other goods, you’d have to ask yourself follow-up questions. First, who are they selling to? Why would anyone buy a new superpower if they already have one? What uses would they have for additional ones? What is the key demographic that this person is trying to reach? Secondly, what are they selling them in exchange for? Money? Favors? Souls? What is this character getting in return?

Now that you’ve examined potential actions that the character takes, you’ve also exposed potential new characters. 

  • People they’re stealing from
  • People they’re bargaining with
  • People that try to police these crimes
  • People that try to copy this character’s process

At the beginning of this section, I talked about using “what could go right” as another optional jumping off point. This is a good path to follow if your concept is already really negative. For a concept where someone is killing people for some pointed reason, you might ask “what could go right” and explore ideas where the killer is caught and brought to justice. 

The point of all this is to think about change as a means of taking your idea from concept to plot. A concept is static - it doesn’t move, evolve, or change. By developing a plot, you’re forcing the concept to be challenged in some way. If you think about it that way, you’ll be able to formulate conflicts, and the people that orchestrate and fight against those conflicts. 

On that note, I think we’re ready to move onto the third piece of my graphic above. 

  • Plot = Character Actions and Consequences

At this point, you have sketches for characters. You’ve got this nameless, faceless person that is stealing the powers, and all these other nameless, faceless people that I listed above. In essence, we have character concepts. And just like we turned our initial concept into a plot, we have to turn these character concepts into actual characters. 

The basics are the easiest way to start. You figure out their name, their gender identity, their age, their appearance, some brief backstory and personality traits. I personally prefer the simplest questionnaire that I put together back in the early days because it hits on the poignant pieces of a character without overwhelming you with 100s of questions. 

Now that you’ve given your character concepts names and faces and potential behaviors, you start to consider how one character’s view of the world inspires them to take certain actions, and you then think about how those actions affect your entire story. 

We already kind of talked about the motives of the power thief in our example, but definitely delve deep here. On the surface, this character seems bad - stealing from people and then selling what they steal. But depending on what it is they’re getting in return, could we not argue that this character is a supernatural Robin Hood? Maybe instead of selling, they’re giving, and maybe the characters they’re stealing powers from are people that abuse and misuse their powers. Character motives can take a plot and turn it on its head, forcing you to reconceptualize everything. And that’s okay! That’s part of the process.

But separate from that idea, if we have a character concept of someone whose powers were stolen, and after developing their basic backstory, we discover that person’s name is Rose, and she has an especially close relationship with her brother. So when her powers are stolen, how does this affect her life? Was she using her powers to keep her brother alive and protected? What she using them to keep a roof over their heads? Was she using them as part of her job, as a means of providing? What happens to her life when her powers are stolen? And what will Rose do about it? Whatever Rose does will impact the story. If she does nothing to get her powers back, how does she solve her problems and does that make for a good story? If she does decide to act, then you’ve moved onto a new plot point to dive deeper into.

My point is, character concepts come from plots, but characters themselves often create plot, as their decisions and mistakes and successes create new outcomes. So if I could modify my original flow chart:

Before you develop something, you conceptualize it. You have a concept, then you make it a plot. You have concepts for characters, then you make them characters. And those characters end up driving your plot, to the point that this happens:

Plot inspires character. Character inspires plot. And it just keeps going around and around and around. Breaking it down into these pieces helps organize the process, but developing a story is rarely this neat and tidy. You’ll get ideas that don’t make sense, ideas that aren’t cohesive, characters you don’t need, characters that piss you off, problems you can’t solve, or plot points you’ve committed to that you no longer like…it will be messy. But it’s your mess, and the more you work on developing your own process, the more it’ll make sense to you. And it’ll become easier to know how to go about fixing it when something’s not right. 

Have fun with this process! It’s supposed to be fun. When the pieces start to become clearer, you’re able to put them together in a rough outline. And once you have a rough outline, you can start writing, and really see it take shape. 

-Rebekah

2

you may have your truce 

2

NAME: KO 

AGE: 6-11

HERO LEVEL: 0

SPECIES: Human

BACKSTORY: Trained from a young age by his mom, Carol. He’s SUPER STRONG for his age, but still has a lot to learn.

CHARACTER BIO: Is the plaza’s newest and lowliest hire. Wants to be the greatest hero in the world!

ATTACKS: Power-Fist Fireball

WEAKNESSES: Peanut allergy

FUN FACT: Has a running action movie narration in his head at all times. 

VOICED BY:  Courtenay Taylor

Monster Factory creations ranked by power

Rank: D

While very weak and lacking any good combat skills, Squirtle has great speed, accuracy, and potential to become stronger which prevents him from being an F

Rank: A

A cyborg cat mimicking the popular orange cartoon cat with extreme acrobatic, fighting capability, control over the internet, and no known weakness (besides Mondays), however he is far more focused on lasagna jpegs than actually fighting

Rank: C

Completely average in any way, the only advantage any of them have is in social situations and hierarchy (Special agent and a business man)

Rank: A

Similar to G.A.R.F.I.E.L.D. D-Bomb sports extreme physical strength, extreme agility, and is unkillable, however unlike G.A.R.F.I.E.L.D. D-Bomb is a remorseless kill far more focused on destruction and chaos than lasagna

Rank: B

An extraordinary wrestler created as a clone of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, while a mutated monster of the original he is far more powerful than the original

Rank: S

Possessed by an eldritch god, Truck has mutated far beyond what he once was, continuing to spread, an unstoppable being

Rank: C

A combination of Angela Lansbury and dinosaur DNA allows Dino-Lansbury to reign at C rank, while the average old person lies within the D rank, other than her hybrid body there is nothing extraordinary about her besides that her body is able to produce jam by eating fruit

Rank: D

Other than his shape shifting powers and sturdy body, the Boy-Mayor is very weak as he lives the mayor life, using his words over his fists, however due to his position as the mayor of Second Life, one should not confront him for various reasons

Rank: C

The strongest C rank on the list, while very acrobatic and powerful, his lack of using guns is what holds him back, however he shows much potential to continue without guns, he does have great influence over others as he was able to fully ban guns securing his spot as the strongest C rank

Rank: A

With extreme physical strength, extreme agility, knowledge of all existing spells, and the ability to clone himself and others, Chiquita Dave is the only creature able to fight with G.A.R.F.I.E.L.D. and D-Bomb with both strength and numbers

Rank: S

An indestructible god capable of altering reality around her to the point of affecting other worlds, the strongest monster of them all, far more powerful than Truck, G.A.R.F.I.E.L.D., D-Bomb, and Chiquita Dave

Rank: F

It’s just Bart Simpson, anyone can beat Bart in a fight

Rank : B

Alone Randy is still a B and PanPan would be a simple D due to his weak body, however together they make and amazing team with Randy Johnson’s throwing capabilities and PanPan’s small body and pointed head, together they make a solid B rank

Rank: D

A small weak creature heavily affected by vaping, severely limiting her abilities

Rank: ?

Due to his limited screen time it is unknown how powerful he truly is, it is estimated he would be within the range of a high C to a mid B

Rank: B

A fairly strong beings, able to wield magic and the Steve Harvey Shield, the #Noid his a mid or even a high B rank, while able to collect Final Pam souls, this does not affect his rank

Rank: B

Almost as powerful as Dwayne “The Pebble” Johson, what Jorstin lacks in head durability he makes up for in rudeness and Honky Tonk mans

Rank: C

A weak C rank, low skill level at everything he tries, the very few fights he can win are against weaker opponents or by the skin of his teeth, good at shouting

Rank: C

Only remarkable things about Totino’s is his connection to the Boy-Mayor of Second Life and the ability to summon pizzas of varying sizes

Rank: B

A somewhat skilled Sly Cooper cosplaying warrior, proficient with a pole and at kicking people

Rank: D

Although he looks powerful, he is terrible at the king’s game: jolf

Rank: B

A very physically strong crime stopper that will stop at nothing to eat crime in the most nonviolent way possible, such as sending criminals to Dairy Queen

Rank: B

The successor to dogs, Jaa’m is superior to them in every way

Rank: B

Having the power of all of the Shrek movies combines, Shreck is a powerful creature on par with Jaa’m

Rank: B

An off shoot of the Shreck species, however they have not evolved to be a strong as the current Shreck line

Rank: B

A second subspecies of the Shreck line, usually found around Shrecks

Rank: A

Being the daughter of the legendary Final Pam and Parappa the Rapper Turbo Vicki is an extraordinary being, master at all sports and an unstoppable creature, even death can not stop her as she will reincarnate as her daughter

Rank: F

Dick Cheney is a weak old man who is terrible at sports