the choice of future

anonymous asked:

Angst anon: Michael, maybe it'd be better without your player 1. He sounds like a horrible guy to have hurt you during.. Whatever happened in senior year. As a fan who loves your videos, maybe it'd be better to forget about the past! Focus on the future maybe, maybe someone else would be a greater player 1 that deserves to know you and will not leave you behind! Plus who knows, if they disappeared- Maybe they're gone for good?

He ISN’T horrible. But… maybe you’re right. Maybe I should move on. 

It’s just… hard, y’know? Hah.. I loved the guy since middle school and I’ve known him for even longer.

I still remember hanging out with him as if it was yesterday. 

Even now, sometimes, I feel like I could just turn around and call out to him and he’d be standing there, laughing and smiling so wide- but… he’s not. Not anymore.

Maybe I am judging this the wrong way. 

But it’s only because I’ve known him for so long. 

I know what he’s like.  At least… I thought I did. But still, that?
That was nothing like him! It felt… different. He… was different. 

I mean, I know, I should be looking forward to a brighter and happier future but- Even if it was his choice to end things the way they did, I can’t help but feel like this could have been prevented. 

Maybe it was inevitable, but part of me feels like I just didn’t try hard enough or something. Like I was just a shit friend that didn’t help enough and I’m somewhat responsible for losing him; as if all of this… was sort of my fault. 

It’s dumb, I know, but.. what’s done is done. I just need to live with  my mistakes, I guess. He… probably isn’t coming back and I just,, need to accept that. 

The 10 Elements of a MAIN CHARACTER

To all the writers who have ever been told “Your characters have to be three dimensional!” or “They should be well-rounded!” and just felt like saying: “What does that even MEAN?! What goes into a 3-dimensional character? Specifically? And how do you go about creating one?!”

Good news. There’s a way. 

Great main characters – heroes, protagonists, deuteragonist, whatever you want to call them – have ten things in common. Ten things that are easily developed, once you know what to create within your character. So no one will ever be able to tell you “needs to be more three dimensional!” ever again. Ha. 

1) Weaknesses: Main characters should be flawed, but I’m not saying this because it will make them more realistic (though it will) – I’m saying they need to be flawed because if they’re not, they shouldn’t be a main character. Story is another word for change, or more accurately, character growth. Not character as in “fictional person”, character meaning “heart and soul”. Story is someone’s character changing, for better or worse. Main characters at the beginning of the story are lacking something vital, some knowledge of themselves, some knowledge of how to live a better life, and this void is ruining their lives. They must overcome these weaknesses, if they’re going to become complete, and reach a happy ending. There are two types of weaknesses: Psychological and Moral. Psychological ones only hurt the main character. Moral ones cause the main character to hurt other people. Easy.  

2) Goal: Characters exist because they want something. Desiring something, and the fight against opposition for that desire, is the lifeblood of story; and because character is story, it’s also desire that can breathe life into words on a page, and begin the process of creating a real person in a reader’s mind. It’s this ‘desire for something’ that sparks that first connection between reader and character. It makes us think “Well, now I have to find out if this person gets what they want.” This is a powerful link. (How many mediocre movies do we suffer through, when we could easily stop watching, because we’re still trapped by that question of “what happens?”) So if this is powerful enough to keep people watching an annoying movie, imagine how powerful it can be in an excellent story. 

Like in Up, the goal is to get the house to Paradise Falls.

3) Want: If the main character wants something, they want it for a darn good reason. Usually, they think that attaining the goal will fill the void they can sense in their lives, the deficiency they can feel, but don’t know how to fix. And they’re almost always wrong. Getting the goal doesn’t help anything; which is why, while pursuing that goal, they discover a deeper need that will heal them. Which brings us to …

4) Need/Elixir: Main characters are missing something, a weakness in their innermost selves is causing them to live a less-than-wonderful life. Through story, these main characters can be healed. Once they discover what’s missing, and accept it, and change the way they live to include this truth they’ve uncovered … they’re healed. Learning this truth, whatever it is, forms the purpose of the story for the main character. The reader, and the character, think the story is about achieving that big tangible goal the premise talks about; really, underneath it all, the story is about someone achieving a big intangible truth, that will ultimately save their life and future. Often, this need is exactly what the character fears or professes to hate. 

Like Finding Nemo, where Dory states exactly what Marlin needs to learn. 

5) Ghosts: 

Not this kind of ghosts.

Ghosts are events in your character’s past which mark the source of their weaknesses and strengths. Because these happened, the character became who they are. All we need to know about backstory are these moments, because who the character became is all we care about. There’s really only one ghost you absolutely need: the source of their moral and psychological weakness. Something happened that knocked the character’s world off kilter, and everything from that moment onward has been tainted by what happened. This moment haunts them (hence the name), and holds them back from uncovering that need that will heal their weaknesses. Pixar are masters of this: the source of Carl being stuck in the past, curmudgeonly, unable of loving anyone new? Ellie dying; his ghost. In Finding Nemo, the source of Marlin being suffocating, protective to the point of being harmful, possessive, and fearful? His wife and 99% of his children being eaten in front of him; his ghost. 

6) True Character: These are the strengths, values, convictions, fears, faults, beliefs, worldview, and outlook on life that make the main character who they truly are. 

7) Characterization: This is everything on the surface of a main character. The way they look, talk, act, etc. All of this originates from those deeper elements of their being, the strengths, values, ghosts, weaknesses, needs, that make them who they truly are. So often, you can think of this as a facade they’re projecting, a way to shield the the truth about themselves, how they wish to be perceived. The story, and the other characters, are slowly going to see deeper than this characterization, revealing more and more of the reasons it is the way it is. 

8) Arc: If the character is going to change from “Incomplete Person” to “Complete Person” there’s going to be a journey they go on to make that possible. The external story, the pursuit of that big tangible goal the premise is about, is causing an inner journey to take place. What they have to do in pursuit of that external goal will apply pressure to those weaknesses, and pressure causes change. This process has seven steps, but if I write it all here this post is going to be obscenely long. So I might wait and give this its own post.

9) Changed Person: Who is the character going to be at the end of this story? They better be different, or else the story didn’t work. How do they show how different they’ve become? What is the moral choice they make, that spins their trajectory from “the future doesn’t look so great” to “happily ever after”? This should be known right away, maybe even before anything else is settled about the character. This gives a distinct end goal, a way to work backwards, a destination in mind that you can navigate towards.  

10) Fascination and Illumination: The surface characterization, and the brief glimpses of the true character underneath create curiosity in the reader/audience. What the character says, and the implied subtext beneath the dialogue, creates a puzzle the audience wants to solve. Actions they take work the same way; if the writer indicates there’s deeper motivation behind why a character behaves in the way they do, we buy into solving that mystery right away. We can’t help it. “Who are you really? Why are you the way you are? And how is that going to effect the story?” These are all the unspoken, almost not consciously acknowledged, questions that fascinating characters provoke. Searching out meaning, connecting the dots to find the truth – we can’t resist this. We’re not fascinated by tons of backstory and exposition about a character; we’re fascinated by story, by mystery, by the technique of withholding information and having to interpret and hunt out the truth on our own.  So gradually, the story and the characters will force that character to reveal a little more, and a little more, until we have a complete picture of who this person is. Crucial that this information isn’t told up front. Gradually illuminate it. It’s just like getting to know a real person. 

So how does this work in a real character? Let’s take a look at Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert, because almost everybody has seen that movie. 

Moral Weaknesses: He’s selfish. He’s a little greedy. He’s a little rude. He uses his charisma and bravado to keep people at a distance from the real him. 

Psychological Weaknesses: Insecurity, fear of vulnerability, feels like the real him (Eugene) would be unwanted, unlovable, and have nothing – just like when he was an orphaned kid. Also, he doesn’t know who he wants to be, what he wants to live for. 

Goal: Flynn wants to get that crown. So he has to get Blondie to see the floating lights, so she’ll give it back to him, and then they can part ways as unlikely friends.  

Want: Why does he want the crown? What does it mean for him? He actually states it (reluctantly) in song: “I have dreams like you, no really. Just much less touchy feely. They mainly happen somewhere warm and sunny. On an island that I own, tanned and rested and alone. Surrounded by enormous piles of money.” He senses there’s something off in his life, something is missing. But he mistakenly believes this missing piece is money, which will allow him to buy a lonely island, where he can live out his days as Flynn and no one will ever know Eugene. 

Need: “All those days chasing down a daydream. All those years living in a blur. All that time never truly seeing, things the way they were. Now she’s here, shining in the starlight. Now she’s here, suddenly I know. If she’s here, it’s crystal clear, I’m where I’m meant to go.” He wants a crown … he needs to fall in love with Rapunzel. He needs to love something more than himself, and find out that love isn’t something to fear and push away. He needs to abandon the 'Tales of Flynnagin Rider’ ambition, and get a more worthwhile, new dream. 

Ghost: The source of all of his weaknesses can be linked to his “little bit of a downer” childhood as an orphan. Interestingly, he isn’t aware of another facet of that ghost, and Rapunzel points it out to him. “Was he a thief too?” she asks. He looks taken aback, before answering “Uh, no.” Something’s gone wrong. The choices he’s making are not living up to that original role model.  

Characterization: Flynn’s charming, funny, smart, charismatic, and arrogant (in a somehow charming sort of way). He’s also rude, contemptuous, and sarcastic. All traits that help him keep up that 'swashbuckling rogue’ facade, and push people away from the real him. 

True Character: Underneath all that, he’s a Disney prince. That pretty much sums it up.  

Changed Person: “Started going by Eugene again, stopped thieving, and basically turned it all around.” He started the story as the guarded and evasive Flynn, he ends as the selfless and thoroughly-in-love Eugene. 

Fascination and Illumination: Imagine if everything about Flynn had been told, right up front. We know he’s an orphan, we know he’s upheld a fake reputation, we know he’s a kind and loving guy underneath it all, we even know about his “tales of Flynnagin” childhood dream. You know what happens? We like him … but we’re not interested in him. There’s nothing we need to find out. There’s no curiosity. And if there’s no curiosity, and nothing being illuminated, your story’s not going anywhere. So instead, we find out – alongside Rapunzel – more about Flynn as the story progresses. And that is how it should be. 

So!

Developing characters in this way, I’ve found, really reduces worries about how “well-rounded” and three dimensional I’ve made them. They feel real to me. And besides helping me create characters, this ten element technique has also let me analyze characters I like, which is strangely fun. It’s a great way to figure out why a character works, what causes them to be so effective, and how you can go about creating them yourself. 

Yeah, I’m a bit of a nerd. 

But if you want, try it out. Develop a character. Analyze a character. You might find it as useful/fun as I do.

The only meaningful thing we can offer one another is love. Not advice, not questions about our choices, not suggestions for the future, just love.
—  Glennon Melton, Carry On, Warrior
Take wrong turns. Talk to strangers. Open unmarked doors. And if you see a group of people in a field, go find out what they are doing. Do things without always knowing how they’ll turn out. You’re curious and smart and bored, and all you see is the choice between working hard and slacking off. There are so many adventures that you miss because you’re waiting to think of a plan. To find them, look for tiny interesting choices. And remember that you are always making up the future as you go.
—  Randall Munroe

Draco was 11 the first time he met Harry Potter. Inside a robe shop before he even knew who the boy in ratty, oversized clothing even really was. Where he unknowingly enforced a stereotype that shaped that boys whole life. On a train where he followed his father’s rule and looked down on anyone deemed less than him. Where he felt the sharp sting of rejection for the first time.


Draco was 12 when he realizes his father might not always be right. That those he was always told were less and unworthy might not be as dirty and undeserving as he’d come to believe they were. When he had stuck a torn out page from a book in Hermione Granger’s cold, frozen hand, hoping that someone, anyone, would find it and put an end to the muggleborns being petrified.


Draco is 13 when he realizes the consequences of his words. When he was powerless to do anything but sit back and pretend that it was what he had wanted all along, that getting a hippogriff sentenced to death was something he was proud of. That getting a broken nose by a girl wasn’t something he deserved. Pretending that the hippogriff suddenly going missing wasn’t something he was grateful or happy for.


Draco was 14 when his life changed forever. When Cedric Diggory died and the Dark Lord was suddenly living in his home. When he had to watch a teacher show them unforgivables and found himself sickened to his core. When he met Viktor Krum and realized he wasn’t as straight as he was supposed to be. When he realized he didn’t have a choice about his future.


Draco was 15 when he realized his father was not someone he wanted to look up to, was not someone he wanted to be around. Was not someone he wanted to turn into. When he met his relatives who had been in prison his whole life, who were now also suddenly living in his house. When, for the first time, he was terrified to leave his room. When all he wanted was an out, but none came.


Draco was 16 when he had the dark mark branded into his arm forever. When he found that long sleeves were his new best friend. When he got tasted with an impossible job from the Dark Lord and he was guaranteed to fail. When Harry Potter slashed him open inside a bathroom and he threw up in the next morning when he had found himself awake and alive in the hospital wing.


Draco was 17 when he had lost hope. When he was forced to torture his classmates and attend death eater raids. When Harry Potter was missing and no one knew where he was or what he was doing. When that same boy was suddenly captured and brought to the Manor. Where he lied and watched the boy’s best friend get tortured. When he was almost killed in a fire until his rival saved him at the last minute. When Harry Potter killed the Dark Lord and there was a small flicker of hope in his heart.


Draco was 18 when things finally seemed to take a change for the better. When he was pardoned for his role in the war by the Savior. When he had made amends with Harry Potter. When he went back to Hogwarts to redo his final year. When he was left alone and he finally got the chance to breath. When suddenly found himself friends with Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley.


Draco was 19 when he finally felt at peace. With an acceptance letter for healer training and a promise of forever with Harry. When he had finally felt the sweet embrace of acceptance and love. When he knew that everything would be okay after all.

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
—  Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Not enough people are talking about this, honestly. Jon can not understand how Dany, this incredibly inspiring and otherworldly woman, could ever think she was anything less than extraordinary. She’s unlike anyone he’s ever known. They didn’t meet under the best circumstances, but she came into his life like a whirlwind. This beautiful woman with her dragons that no one thought would ever exist again, and her people that are dedicated to her by choice, and her good heart and her dream for the future. Who echoes his same words from the past over and over again, and has no idea that it takes his breath away every time. Who surprises him at every turn, and earned his respect and his loyalty because she deserved it. She gave him hope where there was none. Hope that they will stand a chance against the Night King. Hope for the people he vowed to protect. Hope for the future of the realm. Hope that his heart will love again. This moment is so revealing because its the core of why Jon feels so deeply about Daenerys. She’s not like everybody else. She’s new and different and better, and she’s everything that he didn’t know he needed.

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Time is our greatest obsession. Who has not dreamed of returning to the past, of changing the future? Imagine the power. To see how our choices affect our lives, and then return to undo them. Endless possibilities. Imagine the freedom to cross time and journey through the ages. The freedom to change the past, and bend history to your will. What would you do if you had that power? Could you eradicate the mistakes of history, and build a perfect future? Or would you be subject to fate, and be swept down the river of time… …powerless to change your course?

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» Shingeki no Kyojin • one gifset per character «

Erwin Smith「 エルヴィン・スミス 」“If you begin to regret, you’ll dull your future decisions and let others make your choices for you. All that’s left for you then is to die. Nobody can foretell the outcome. Each decision you make holds meaning only by affecting your next decision.