Sunday, June 15, 2014

Beautiful People | Masara

This week I discovered this fantastic blog link-up called Beautiful People. The host blog, The Notebook Sisters, post new questions for your characters at the beginning of each month and then you get to answers them. After that, you link your blog on their page and other writers or readers can click on it to learn about your characters and you can learn about other people's characters. I'm really excited about this! 
The character that I chose to do for this set of questions is Masara, the main character from my science fiction novel Crec. Let's get right into the questions!

1) What is their full name and is there a story behind why they got it? 
Masara M. Gold. There's not much of a story behind her first name; her parents just really liked the name Masara. The middle initial comes from her mom's maiden name, Morgan. In the future Earth Masara lives on, the classic middle name disintegrated from culture. Everyone uses their mother's maiden name initial as their middle initial.

2) How old are they, and when were they born? 
Masara is fifteen and was born on September 17th.

3) Describe their physical appearance. 
Masara has long, wavy, brown hair and mud brown eyes. She has an oval shaped face and is smaller in build and stature—about five foot three inches in height. 
Bonus questions 1: What is their race/nationality/ethnicity? 
Bonus questions 2: Do you have a picture of them? If so, include it!
A photo of Georgie Henley that
looks exactly like Masara

4) Describe your character's personality first in one word, and then elaborate with a few sentences. 
Suspicious. Masara is suspicious of both people and events. Her inquisitive mind and over-analytical thought process doesn't allow for much to pass through her filter. While she may not always act on these suspicions, she notices danger in things and people where others don't.

5) What theme song(s) fit their personality and story arc?
Probably "This Is Home" by Switchfoot. I've been looking for better songs for my characters and I know there's probably a more suited one out there than this. But this one, especially the first verse, captures her fairly well.

6) Which one of the seven deadly sins describes your character? 
Envy. Not necessarily of possessions but of courage. She looks at her best friend Piper and sees in her a fearlessness that Masara has lost.

7) If they were an element (fire, water, earth, air), which one would they be? 
Earth. Masara has a set opinion on things, won't be moulded into someone else's plans, is stubborn and unshakeable.

8) What is their favourite word? 

9) Who’s one person they really miss? (It could be someone who’s passed away, or someone they’re not close to anymore, or someone who’s moved away.) 
Her dad. Because of his job, Masara hardly ever gets to see him anymore.

10) What sights, sounds, and smells remind them of that person?
Her brother's and her own cutlass sword, and cinnamon or the two big ones. Her dad taught her and her older brother, Trey how to use a sword and gifted them each with their own one Christmas. As far as the cinnamon goes, her dad used to bake cinnamon twists Saturday mornings when she was a kid and so the smell of it reminds her of him. 

And so that wraps up the questions! If you want to read more posts like this or write your own, click here.
If you want to check out the Pinterest board from Masara's world, follow this link

If a character I mentioned in Masara's answers interested you (despite the little information XD) or you know of some others that I've mentioned in previous posts, be sure to comment below and I'll keep them in mind for the next set of questions. 

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Archetypes: All the World's a Stage Part 1

Read previous entries on archetypes:
Archetypes: A Hero's Journey Part 1
Archetypes: A Hero's Journey Part 2

In school we recently picked up Archetypes and it got me thinking about them all over again. I figured since I haven't written about them since February, it wouldn't be a bad idea to reopen the topic.
When I wrote about them last time, I discussed both the origin of archetypes and the different journeys that characters can go on. Today I'll go through the different recurring situational settings that come up in archetypal stories. Situational settings are basically the premise of stories.

FUN FACT: Carl Jung, the psychiatrist that came up with the idea of archetypes, also came up with the idea of introverts and extroverts along with other personality types.
All of us are living, breathing archetypes! I'm not sure why, but I find this really cool.

1) The Desert

The desert is commonly associated with spiritual sterility and barrenness but shouldn't be confused with the wasteland archetype. 
If you've ever seen the movie Hidalgo, you would know that this archetype fits it perfectly. The main character, Hopkins, has close relations to the Native Americans and their spiritual traditions but refuses to acknowledge this side of him until the climax. 
By the end of a story in the desert, the hero will likely come out of their spiritually stale place after leaving the desert or just before they do. 
The hero may also contrast the others in the desert and become the only one who isn't barren. Throughout the story they may be the only character that's taking their beliefs anywhere and their battle involves changing the minds of others. 
ex. Hidalgo, Quarantine by Jim Crace

2) The Orphaned Ruler 

In this story, our hero grows up ignorant to the power he/she really holds. He could be anything from a prince separated during a war and raised by a young peasant girl to the son of a mafia leader sent away for his own protection.

So how does the hero discover their power? It could happen through a number of ways but according to the archetype it happens after they're rediscovered by their parents.
Rapunzel in Tangled
The most classic and well known example of this is Tangled. Rapunzel is kidnapped by Gothel as a baby and is raised without knowing that she's a princess. After unknowingly visiting her home kingdom (and a few other happenings) she discovers that she's the lost princess. This discovery sets the stage for the events that lead to the climax.
The hero in this story always, always discovers their true identity and this discovery will bring both good and bad to the character.
ex. Tangled, Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz, Jupiter Ascending 

3) The Damsel in Distress

This one is pretty self explanatory but incase you're not familiar with it: a beautiful young woman is rescued from a monster by a handsome young man who later marries her. Tons of fairytales follow this settings.
Shrek is the complete reverse of this archetype. The creators flip everything on it's head. The monster isn't really a monster, neither the hero or the damsel are drop dead gorgeous and while they get married, it's certainly not expected.
The monster in this story doesn't have to be a beast, it can also be a monstrous person like in Cinderella. Simplified, the monster is the villain.
ex. Cinderella, King Kong, Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

4) The Long Journey

Hiro (Masi Oka) and Peter
(Milo Ventimiglia) in Heroes
This one is pretty vague but probably my favourite. It could include anything from a difficult quest to a pursuit for revenge. When I first read this archetype I initially though that all stories fit this category but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was wrong. Most romances don't fit here and neither do most contemporary novels.
The hero could be physically trekking across miles of land (The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien), waging war on an empire (Code Geass) or saving New York from destruction...again (Heroes). 
ex. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, Code Geass, Heroes, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Hades and Percy in the movie
adaptation of The Lightning Thief
5) The Katabasis

Katabasis is a Greek word meaning "going down". In literature and especially greek mythology, it refers to a decent into the underworld. This one can be taken both literally or metaphorically. The hero could literally descend into the underworld or could enter an 'underworld-like' place in hellish conditions such as a dystopian land.

Our hero in this story is brave, very motivated and sacrificial—they have to be, it's the underworld! In these stories, our main characters may spend quite some time in the underworld or they may visit it briefly. An important element to note is that the hero can not die or it would not be true Katabasis. Anabasis (a Greek word meaning "going up") should always follow Katabasis.
ex. Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, Orpheus and Eurydice from Greek mythology, Alice In Wonderland

6) The Garden

The Garden is known in the archetype world as one of the 'Big Four'. It's a symbol for birth, fertility, abundance, growth, peace, tranquility—you get the idea. Characters can find refuge in gardens and while the entire story may not take place in one, it's something that our hero will continuously return to.

Gardens can sometimes be ruined or 'poisoned' which will force the hero to leave, sending them on their journey.
ex. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, An Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden

A still from the film adaptation of Beastly
7) The Redemptive Rituals 

At the beginning of these stories, the protagonist screws up. The premise will then surround their redemption.
The ritual could be a set thing that they must do according to society, a contract or a spell, or something they believe they must do in their own heart to make things right.
A famous example is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Our protagonist has a bitter heart and is shown through three spirits that he needs to change.
Redemption must always be found in these stories or the premise is worthless.
ex. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Beastly by Alex Flinn

8) The End of the World

Another self-explanatory archetype: so many popular young adult novels fall under this archetype. Whether it's a dystopian/post-apocalyptic society or the impending doom of a city, danger will always be looming over the heads our our heroes. There might be a time limit like there is in Heroes but that's not always the case. Instead, the danger may be the world they live in or the people that want to destroy the world.

ex. Oblivion, I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, The Scorch Trials by James Dashner, Enders Game by Orson Scott Card

Which archetypes do your stories fit into?