How to write fiction

How to write fiction using drugs (namely addictive characters)

selective focus photo of pink tablets
Photo by Dear W on

Drug…what’s a drug according to the not as almighty Merriam Webster[1]?

Drug. Noun. \ ˈdrəg  \ plural drugs

1a: a substance used as a medication or in the preparation of medication according to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

(1): a substance recognized in an official pharmacopoeia or formulary.

(2): a substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, prescription drugs: drugs for treating high blood pressure

(3): a substance other than food intended to affect the structure or function of the body

(4): a substance intended for use as a component of a medicine but not a device or a component, part, or accessory of a device

2: something and often an illegal substance that causes addiction, habituation (see HABITUATION sense 2b), or a marked change in consciousness

Now, deviating a bit (by not standard measures) from this accepted meaning; I’ll take Chuck Wendig’s idea about characters: the characters of a story are the drug in it that makes the story addictive.

Aha…did he mean I must sow poppies in the garden and pop out a bit of opium derivates to suffuse the pages on them or….I must entertain my own flowerpot with green weed to fill brownies? More or less. To tell the truth, there are a number of recipes to do so and my recipe book is not exactly in the chef’s amount of expertise and yet…We can review those I know with transforming your characters into real peyote as goal.

 All right. The same way, there are special mangas in the language learning section in book stores   —right, to learn Japanese!; there are some that show how to create characters… As a matter of fact, many of the traditional mangas  — include Korean and Chinese versions; portray a section of one or two pages depicting a profile section (the size may vary) with character’s blood type, s&m tendencies, birthday, favourite clothes, favourite food, if they like Line or any other messaging service. And this might be thought as creating a “type”. A simple perspective of individual… when a really addictive character requires even more detailing.

In Fitzgerald’s words (F. Scott):

“Begin with an individual and you find that you have created a type, begin with a type and you find that you have created—nothing.”

In my unathorised opinion, a character ends being something CONTRADICTORY AND AT THE SAME TIME very PREDICTABLE. It has to be someone you know so well, but so well you already know if they might go back to save their family instead escaping alone. It has to be someone you know who will take the sword and sail to conquer the Holy Land….

They’re like Shrek and onions. They have layers. According to Wendig, it is much better if they become more and more complex every time. The character might look like deceptively simple at the beginning. They can’t be perfect. Remember; if they’re perfect they’ll never get themselves in problems and without problems, there’s no conflict. Chuck Wendig, Libbie Hawker and Cathy Birch agree that the character has to have serious issues.

Even the most unmovable and seemingly perfect characters are not so. Unless you want to end up with a plot you can’t move anywhere towards and you see yourself in the need to finish it ASAP with an extra sweet happy ending that never solved the problems derived from your  original plot. Something I don’t like but can be very popular; specially for romantic stories. Such is the case of Eggnoid[2], a very popular webtoon at the moment; which sparked the problem of the notion to the right of eradicate the lives of human beings for the crime of destroying a planet and which main focus ends being the ultra handsome stud with a beautiful soul…who might never exist anywhere. Yet we need to drool over something, don’t we? No matter if the name is k-drama or romcom. Besides, diversity is something wonderful and can give birth to a great range of different plots that I don’t criticise it as evil or mediocre but as something that left me unsatisfied about solving the said problem.

Robert McKee stablishes the character as something that should evolve to keep our attention in order for the movie to stop being a summer screening and become a break from the usual patterns of storytelling. Just like Kinsye Millhone devours fast food inside a vocho (VW scarab) whose floor is more tossed wrappings than metal; and at the same time training her body to be able to run a life’s marathon. Seriously, Kinsye is all the time running away from the bad guys at the end of all her literary lives.   

So far, you and I know that to make a peyote, molly, snow, cocaine character we need to:

  1. Create contradiction so we can reveal its complexity along with the development of the plot
  2. Make them trickily simple

Make them predictable to the point we know them better than we know ourselves. Consequently, we know exactly what they will do. What we don’t know is what we (the author) are about to #$%”$%& in their lives.

[1] Strangely enough, Spanish has Royal Language Academy which regulates everything happening to Spanish whilst English doesn’t! Yet the recognized? Dictionary to dictate the fashionable use of words is the Oxford. Tough I could only access either the Oxford reference or the Merriam Webster. Hence…

[2] To analyse what you think is good as well as analyse what you consider a failure helps to develope your own style and improve your narrative skills.

Deja un comentario

A %d blogueros les gusta esto: