Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Here's me spouting

If you're a fan of Star Wars (I am, even after the prequels) then, at least once, you've seen or read an article when Lucas talks about the Hero's Journey.

It's a real thing. It's not something he made up to justify cardboard actors in an effects-laden space opera.

This guy, Joseph Campbell, devoted much of his career to it. He was huge and did a lot with fairy tales and folklore and mythology. I'm not going to bore you with the details, but if you are interested, google him. Trust me, it's worth it.

Anyway, Campbell lays out a blueprint for a Hero's journey. There are necessary steps to become a hero, like humble beginnings, the wise mentor and the hero's death. Not every story has every element, but all have at least some.

When I set out to write The Fourth Queen, I wanted to make a true fairytale. I read alot of Campbell's work and laid out my plot with all the necessary steps for Zandria to become a hero. Yes, Zandria is the hero, regardless of the story's end. Without going over every detail, she comes from humble beginnings and is thrust out of her element. She meets her Obi-Wan in the form of Prince William. She even experiences the Hero's Death in the bell chamber. That is when she truly becomes a hero and is "resurrected" as one. That is where her character arc completes.

Oh yeah, character arc is important to me. If the character never changes, why do we care about them? Sometimes they change for good, other times for worse. At least one character in a story has to have an arc, or I don't consider it a real story. What's the point of only having a story arc with no character arc?

Now you're sitting there thinking, "He ripped off Star Wars." From the beginning of written communication, people told stories and before that they actually talked and told stories. These elements were present from the start and are infinitely older than Lucas, Campbell or Shakespeare, but maybe not Beowulf.

So, I did not borrow from anything, instead I worked really hard, did a lot of research and created a traditional, structured fairytale. Also, it's a really fun story!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Three's Company

The dwarf Lord Vanril, the snail-like General Gusk and the gypsy witch Sasha. Oh, and Adam.

One of these things is not like the others. Three of these people are not nice. Their only goal in life is to bring about the return of the Forgotten Evil.


Don't read this unless you've finished The Fourth Queen, or don't mind spoilers. The three baddies fail and Adam changes sides. When Adam, a ten-year-old boy, is introduced, he is working for the bad guys. He spent his life underground as a slave in a mine. They send him above ground to stop Zandria and Olena in their quest. He gets his revenge by helping the sisters instead.

*****END SPOILER*****

Vanril, Gusk and Sasha were all created as recurring characters. Until the final showdown with the Forgotten Evil, the girls need other nemeses. We probably won't ever learn much more about them than that they like to do mean things. (The preceding sentence might win an award for the most repetitive use of "th")

Adam serves a better purpose. He is the same age as Zandria. While that age is still young, as the characters grow older, their relationship may develop into something more. Adam also becomes one of the identifiable characters for male readers. True, The Fourth Queen is a classic fairytale about two sisters, but boys like fantasy-adventure too.

I needed a guy like Adam to balance the story. Besides, he's a good kid, only a little misunderstood.

There's one other male lead still to be introduced. Before then, I'm going to act like George Lucas. Next post, I will spout off about fairytale structure and the Hero's Journey.