what happened to the tiny little dragon pals that the triwizard champions drew from that bag????? harry mentions it being in the boys dorm later but never mentions it again like ??? if I had a tiny dragon companion i could carry around on my shoulder like a weird, spiky little bird i would literally never let it out of my sight
You know that moment when you find an old notebook, and you start reading the story you were writing years ago, and after about one page…
And then after a few more paragraphs …
This has happened to me several times. On every occasion I want to curl up in a small box and wait until everyone forgets I was ever a writer. And every time, no matter which old story it is, what sends me crawling into that box is the same thing: the main character. Even after I had learned to incorporate empathetic qualities into my heroes (as listed in the last post), my protagonists were still deeply annoying – if not more unbearable than before.
Why? What made them this way? They had winningly empathetic traits! Were they terrible people still? No, and that was the problem. They were perfect. Smart. Noble. Brave. They had dazzling martial arts skills. They loved people and people loved them. They were Chosen in some way and destined for greatness. Angst-plagued though, of course. They were tragic little heroes, misunderstood and abused, driven by the desire to vanquish all who caused them suffering.
I could’ve composed a Gaston-like song enumerating their virtues and sorrows.
And the only thing that would’ve made them more punchable is if they did use antlers in all of their decorating.
Characters can’t be completely likable. Yes, they must possess strengths that win the reader’s empathy,but without an equal amount of flaws … they can’t function. If they’re not flawed, they shouldn’t be the main character. Story is about someone changing, for better or worse. Under the surface, all good stories are about this process of human growth or decline. So if a hero is perfect from the beginning, there’s nowhere they need to go. And consequently, there’s no reason for a reader to follow.
The inclination to follow a story is begun with interest in the premise, of course – but it is locked in when empathy occurs, when we begin to care – the moment the reader transposes their own external and internal lives onto a character’s life. A process which starts when a reader recognizes a shared something between themselves and the hero. Sometimes, this is a goal or strength or situation. And sometimes, it’s a flaw. We meet a character that is weak in the same way we are, and a strong internal connection is born between the reader’s life and the life on the page. On a deep level we’re thinking “This person is like me. What happens to them? How do they deal with it?” And because of this connection based on what is lacking in our lives, we want to live the story, see how it ends, and find out how the main character – who is just like us – reached that ending. Because it’s our lives we’re reading about, and if we play it out in advance, maybe we can reach a positive ending too.
So! In what way should a main character be FLAWED?
1) Weak in a way that only hurts themselves.
Let’s call these MIND.
2) Flawed in a way that hurts others.
Let’s call these MORAL.
The most realistic – and most compelling – characters have both types.
And if a character has these flaws, the story must be steering them towards what they NEED to overcome them. The main character needs to learn something, a truth, a new way to live. This is the theme of the story. Theme is a statement the story seeks to prove, to the main character and the reader, about how to live a better life. It’s the solution to whatever moral and mental conundrum they’re facing. So …
3) The SOLUTION to their moral and mental weaknesses.
How does that work? To illustrate, let’s look at Stitch and Alexander Hamilton. (What a combination.)
Moral: He’s destructive. Violent. Rude. Vindictive.
Manipulative. Enjoys the suffering of his enemies.
And in general, pushes everyone and everything away.
Mind: Despite his violent ways, he yearns to belong, and senses that he can’t.
He believes he’s alone, he’s unlovable, he’s monstrous, he’s never had a family and never will – he’s lost, like the Ugly Duckling. He’s missing a family he’s never had.
Solution: He just needs to start treating people like family to be accepted into one.
Moral: He’s selfish. (“Be careful with that one love, he will do what it takes to survive.”) He’s arrogant. He’s self-centered. (Think of the entirety of Burn.) And in his obsessive journey to succeed, he pushes everyone out of his path.
Mind: He has a fixation on death, on time running out, which drives his manic desire to achieve. (“I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory.) He’s insecure. ("Graduate in two and join the revolution. He looked at me like I was stupid. I’m not stupid.”)
Solution: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story? Eliza tells his story. Hamilton’s goal throughout the story is a legacy; he strives to achieve this immortality in any way possible, even if it means neglecting his loved ones, or even ruining their lives. He needs to learn that his loved ones are enough. Eliza is enough. And through her, he will live on.
What would have happened if they weren’t flawed? The stories would have been boring. What would have happened if their flaws had been treated like attributes that didn’t have to change? The stories would have ceased to be. Progress couldn’t happen, because by accepting the status quo of their mental and moral states, we’re refusing the call to adventure outright. They’d just exist in the same state they were in the setup, stagnant, somewhat lifeless. Flawed characters must motor towards that NEED, or solution, that will save their lives.
(I realize this “need” element is rather vague, so it’ll get its own post.)
But in conclusion, this balance of strengths and flaws – and how this fictional person deals with the adventure they’re thrown into – is what makes a main character compelling, empathetic, and real.
So when I unearth a notebook years in the future, containing one of stories I’m writing now, maybe the main character won’t make me feel like this:
Maybe it’ll even be like this:
And best of all, maybe one of those characters will make a reader somewhere feel understood and helped and not alone. Wow. That would be amazing.
Well, there’s my writing motivation for today. I’m going to go make my main character more of a lovable jerk.
No I won’t be. We’ve had lots of issues with people finding out where we live and coming to the house or dropping stuff off and I really want to avoid that again. I want my home to feel like a safe, private place where I can relax.
Okay so there’s always the argument about whether or not aliens exist and recently I’ve been contemplating existence so I was thinking about what would happen if we suddenly discovered aliens but then something occurred to me
What if aliens don’t exist? Like, in the millions of planets and systems we don’t find any other life. Nothing. We find out that we are the only living thing in this giant and never-ending galaxy
Jack knew something wasn’t right when he woke up. The covers were too
hot on him and his head was pounding like he’d been drinking too much
the night before. He shifted, trying to get his bearings, but at some
point during the night, he must have pulled the covers over his head. He
struggled free, enjoying the fresh air, before noticing a pair of paws on the bed. When he moved
his arms, the paws moved too. What followed next was a confusing jumble
of panic and incoherent screaming that came out as yowls.
must have passed out again, because when he came to, he was still
disoriented and nauseous. He confirmed that, no, it had not been a bad
dream. Somehow, he’d grown four legs and a tail overnight.
After the initial panic, he jumped on his bedside table where his phone was,
but he was uncoordinated, and ended up knocking the phone to the ground.
He batted at it on the floor, but found that the battery had drained
itself overnight when he’d forgotten to charge it.
Cursing and swearing to
himself, he wandered his apartment on shaky legs.
Thankfully, he hadn’t quite turned off the tap in the bathroom and the
dripping of the faucet helped to parch his thirst as he tried to think
of what try next. He needed to get help soon. Otherwise, he was going to
end up starving to death in his own apartment.
In the living
room, Jack found a window that he’d left open because it had been too
hot last night. He squeezed out onto the fire escape and tried not to
look down. It was strange in this body. Jack never had an issue with
heights before, but now, a glance downward to the street had his head
spinning with vertigo.
Left with no choice, Jack began to climb upward with the dim hope that someone had also left a window open.
didn’t get too far before the enticing smell of spices and baked dough
reminded him how hungry he was. He followed the smell until he staring
into a kitchen where someone was bent over, pulling pies from an oven.
Jack called out for the guy’s attention, and when he finally glanced in
Jack’s direction, he scrambled to open the window.
kitty. What are you doing so high up?” he asked. Jack stiffened when the
guy picked him up, but he let himself get rescued from the precarious
ledge. “Where did you come from?”
Help me! I’m not really a cat! Jack tried to say, but as expected, it came out in a series of pitched meows.
okay. You hungry?” He set Jack on the floor to rummage around in his
fridge. He set out a plate of leftover meatballs which Jack, losing his
composure, attacked immediately.
“I’ll take care of you.
Don’t worry, little–uh– guy?” He attempted to lift Jack’s tail to
check, but Jack had hissed and swiped his claws. “Okay, never mind.
We’re not going there,” he said backing off. Satisfied, Jack continued
to eat, though with a suspicious eye on the guy who’d now dropped onto
his stomach to watch Jack with a bright smile.
So what if those two boys from Columbus didn’t take a chance? What if they looked at the path in front of them, and turned back. What if Tyler’s dream of music stayed just that: a dream.
Where would we find them, if none of this had happened?
Would Tyler just be the boy that checked out your groceries? Would we find him living out his life in Columbus, barely scraping by, hanging onto the last remaining threads of a dream he once had. Would we find him awake late at night, unable to get a melody out of his head, but insisting to himself that “i need to sleep, i have work tomorrow.” Would we find him married and happy, but constantly wondering “is there more to this. Is there something more I could do.” Would we find his notebooks filled with unsung song lyrics: bits and pieces of Addict with a Pen, Goner, Ode to Sleep, strewn out in phrases, ideas, and sketches. Bits of songs that were never given the chance to materialize into something more.
Would we find Josh working behind the counter of a drum store. Would there be pages of drum and drumstick sketches beneath the cash register: ideas for his own designs back when he had almost enough money to make it happen. Would we hear the jangle of a bell as a young boy comes in, and finds Josh, the most tattooed man in the store. And just like young Josh, would the boy come in and sit down at the drums, immediately transported to a concert as he closes his eyes and invents the beat. Would we find Josh glancing over the live concerts playing on the tv, wondering if maybe that could have been him. If only he had taken the leap. If only he had taken the chance. If only his voice didn’t give way, if only his knees didn’t buckle at the very thought of being on stage. Would he go home to a loving family, and tell himself “I am content.” Would we find him staring at the pink sky as it fades into night, desperately wishing he could articulate the feeling the world gives him. Desperately wishing someone could understand the art that floods his mind.
Welcome to Fitblr - 7 things you F***ing need to know.
On a side note
I don’t know how to tell you this so that you’ll listen
maybe if I swear in the title.
I want to take a quick moment (haha. Me. quick. HA!) to talk to the newbies. To the folks just starting out on this journey. To the people who have had enough… for real this time!
The thing is, I’m going to tell you a bunch of things you already know and unless it is “for real this time” FOR REAL AND HONESTLY you are going to blink, stop reading this post half way through and move on to the quick-fix detox tea companies that post pictures of unrealistic “skinny” people and promise you a handful of lies. If that’s you, you aren’t for real this time. Good luck though and when you figure out that you aren’t going to lose 100 lbs in a week for that perfect chiseled beach look - come on back. We’ll be here.
For those of us on the “for real this time” trail, there are some things I want to tell you and you’ve probably heard them a million times before, but maybe this time a lightbulb flickers over your head and you have a brilliant AHA! moment all because of me. Probably not, but maybe. And maybe you are sitting there wondering who the hell I am and how I can possibly tell you what to do. First, I am not telling you what to do. I am telling you things I know FOR ME. Do they apply to you also, Maybe!
So who am I? I am just like you. My name is T. I am a blogger and a fitblr and a runner (ha!) and a swimmer (ha!) and a weight lifter (ha!) and a kickboxer (ha!) and a god-damn-zen-master (ha!) (or so I have been told - because here in my world, EFFORT IS EVERYTHING! I THINK THEREFORE I AM! I have nearly 500 followers which is breadcrumbs in the blogger world but HUGE to me and much to my chagrin a bunch of them are porn blogs I can’t seem to make go away… sigh.
My highest weight was 220 lbs. My current weight is 206 lbs. My body fat % has dropped from 45% to 40%. I have been working, steadily on my fitness for almost two years. When I started, I knew nothing. I was sore, tired, sick and lazy. I’ve been working on this for two years, and yeah, it got a bit easier, but I still have to work at it every single day and today when I woke up sore and achy and tired I knew I wanted to share this with you.
Things the new-to-this need to know (or things the old-at-this needs to be reminded of):
1. Don’t expect it to be easy - remember how I talked about quick fixes and detox teas. THEY ARE ALL LIES. This is not going to be easy, not even a little bit. Prepare yourself for hard, then expect harder. You’ll probably cry. You’ll probably quit. You’ll probably cry. Keep going.
2. Don’t expect it to be easy - people are going to tell you all kinds of things. “I lost the weight and didn’t change my diet”. “Oh, I just woke up like this.” “Take this pill” “I don’t eat carbs” bla bla bla. People are going to downplay your effort and success. One of the hardest parts of your walk down this path is comparison. COMPARISON IS AN ASSHOLE. FUCK COMPARISON. YOU DO YOU. (I can’t make my capital letters any bigger…) YOU. DO. YOU. Everybody else has their own journey and 80% of them are going to lie to you because they don’t want you to know the before. YOU.DO.YOU.
3. Don’t expect it to be easy - your body is going to tell you that you can’t do it. It is going to tell you that it is tired and sore and incapable. THAT IS NOT YOUR BODY. That is your brain. Your body is far more capable than you are giving it credit for and the first time you feel your body accomplish something you didn’t think it could accomplish will give you a type of confidence-boosting-euphoria you will never find in any fucking blueberry-acai-grapefruit-organic-detox-cup-of-overpriced-water-lies. Keep going.
4. Don’t expect it to be easy - I bet you have a goal weight. You have a plan. You are going to do this this time because you have written it down on a piece of a paper and you are going to lose 20 lbs and you are going to look beautiful and you are going to be able to go onto a beach in a bathing suit and that person is going to notice you because you are really-really-ridiculously good looking now. Find that piece of paper. Got it? BURN IT!
You are already really really ridiculously good looking. I know we say that all the time here at Fitblr Central and we are going to keep saying it until you also start saying it. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. YOU ARE GOOD LOOKING. YOU.DO.YOU AND THAT IS AMAZING! Own that shit! Flaunt that shit!
You don’t need to lose 10-20-30 even 50 lbs. Oh? Your doctor said you need to for your BMI? Fuck the BMI. More bullshit. You don’t need to lose weight. YOU NEED TO BE HEALTHY! YOU NEED TO FEEL STRONG! (You may need to lose fat) but you 100% DO NOT need to lose weight. A lot of my posts are tagged with #duckthescale (an autocorrect faux pa I retained and use regularly) and I mean it. Fuck the scale. Who gives a shit what you weigh? BE STRONG! BE HAPPY! BE HEALTHY! BE FLEXIBLE! BE COURAGEOUS! BE KIND! BE CONFIDENT! BE A FIGHTER! BE NICE TO YOURSELF! Don’t make your goal your weight. please. You will end up disappointed. Focus on literally a million other things, not that useless number.
Unlearn everything you thought you know. You KNOW a lot of things. Dr. Oz. Oprah. Advertisement. Healthy and Beauty products. The people on that TV program with the catchy song and the spokes-person who looks like an angel; all of these people have taught you a lot of things. Forget them all. My favorite quote of the moment is: “I’m still learning. I’m still unlearning.” It is way harder to unlearn all the crap you’ve been “taught” than it is to learn the new stuff.
5. Don’t expect it to be easy - you will need to wade through piles and piles and piles of overwhelming information. You will talk to hundreds of people who offer you advice (good) and advice (bad) and opinions (both warranted and un-requested). You will need to learn which advice is worth listening to. Here’s a tip: most of it isn’t. Read. Research. Talk to professionals. Talk to people in community groups and social media who can help (be careful who you listen to). Find people you trust and trust your instincts and don’t expect it to be easy. Find what works for you. You’ll get there.
6. Don’t expect it to be easy - go slow. Don’t start out at 400 horsepower straight out of the gate. You’ll just break something. Take it slow. If it means you spend the first 2 weeks at the gym walking on the treadmill doing a weird book-reading juggling act while trying to secretly spy on all the gym goers using the equipment so you can hopefully figure out what this shit show is all about (true story) then do that. Just go slow. The Rock once said “for the first (enter timeline) I just went to the gym, sat there, and read a magazine. It’s about building the habit” (not his exact words but you get the idea) That really stuck with me. Build the habit however you need to. Remember: you.do.you.
AND THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER:
7. Don’t expect it to be easy - BE KIND TO YOURSELF. This may be the hardest thing you do. Forgive yourself. Recommit every morning if you have to. If you take 5 steps today, take 6 steps tomorrow. If you skip a day, start again tomorrow. Be patient. Work hard, always. Love yourself first and please please please be KIND to yourself always.
A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means-the only complete realist.
One of the constants in life is change. We really only have an illusion of control over our lives…There is so much out of our control.
We have to find a new home for our dogs. As it is when I am at work, they are alone. Due to my schedule and lack of yard, they have to be walked twice a day. My ex has to come back to walk them. How can we both move on when this labor of love is still a daily requirement? Yet, it has taken us over a year to actually rehome them.
When I moved at the age 14, I had to sell my horse. Doing so was necessary but when I had the opportunity to visit her a few years later, her new owners hadn’t cared for her properly…Which I internalized I think. I felt guilty for not being able to care for her.
Perhaps, this is one reason I struggle at giving them to new families? Or maybe because I feel they are my family and my responsibility? I know one important lesson in life is being able to let go… So this will be a good opportunity to practice and teach my son how to let go.