Posts Tagged With: thor

Opinion time! Near-invulnerability in a protagonist?

I’ve been kicking around a new story idea for a while, and while I won’t give too much away, I can reveal that it’s going to be a middle-grade fantasy story with lots of comedy, adventure, etc.

Right now, I’m working on fleshing out the main character – who we will call MC for ease, as I haven’t worked out a name yet. The concept with MC is that his father is a sorcerer, but MC himself is absolutely incapable of doing magic — not just that he has no talent for it, but he literally has no access to magic whatsoever.

Now, MC needs a “shtick” — you know, that one element that makes him special, that gives him the edge he needs to be a hero. For example, Harry Potter may not have been a very good wizard (at least in the first books), but he was an excellent flyer, which he uses to navigate many obstacles through his various adventures.

The first “shtick” I thought up was invulnerability. MC’s father is called the “dragon sorcerer” — not because he’s a dragon, but because he just really, really likes dragons. My thought is that the sorcerer did some dragon-magic-funtimes to MC when he was a wee babby, and this ended up burning the magic out of MC, but in return gave him skin as hard as dragon scales. Note that his skin doesn’t actually look like dragon scales — it’s just magically tough.

Now, near-invulnerability … that has some serious pros and cons. The main con, of course, is that he’ll be invulnerable (or close enough) — which means that, whilst on his adventures, readers will never really worry about his safety, due to the aforementioned invulnerability. On the pro side, though, there’s lots of fun stuff going on here — he’ll be reckless, because he knows he can’t be hurt, which will get him into all sorts of sticky situations. He’ll have a hard time connecting with other people, because his dragon-scale-strong skin has always made him different, singled him out from his peers, and they might even resent him. And he’ll also have a sort of superiority complex — an aloofness, if you will — because on some level he knows he’s superior to others, at least in that one aspect, and that’s a dangerous thing for a 12/13 year old to think.

So I guess my question is — do you think that fairly major con outweighs all the pros?

 

Unrelated media of the day:

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Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Book Review: The Friendship of Mortals by Audrey Driscoll

Next up in the awesome self-published authors series, I present to you my review of Audrey Driscoll’s The Friendship of Mortals. By the way, this book is currently FREE on Smashwords, so if it sounds intriguing, give ‘er the old download!

The Bookfriendshipofmortals

The Friendship of Mortals

The Genre

Literary Fiction / Sci-fi / Fantasy

The Author

Audrey Driscoll – a librarian and cataloguer, gardener and writer. She discovered the writings of H.P. Lovecraft many years ago, and after reading his story “Herbert West, Reanimator”, she began to wonder about Herbert – what motivated him to reanimate corpses? And thus the Herbert West trilogy began!

The Plot

Herbert West can revivify the dead – after a fashion. He persuades Miskatonic University librarian and aspiring alchemist Charles Milburn to help him, but risks their friendship for the sake of his experiments. When West prepares to cross the ultimate border, only Charles can save his life – if his conscience lets him.

The Review

The cover of this book does not do the story justice. This was one of the most fascinating and thought-provoking stories I have ever read. It’s told from the perspective of mild-mannered archivist Charles Millburn, but the real story revolves around the incredibly fascinating, mysterious Herbert West and his necromantic attempts. I absolutely loved this setup – Herbert West’s story became so much more intriguing when viewed through the eyes of another. This is definitely what the author intended when she wrote this gorgeous piece of literature, and I feel she pulled it off beautifully.

Herbert West alarmed, enchanted, and terrified me all at once. He is ruthless in his ambitions, confident that he will not be discovered, and willing to do whatever it takes to get his way. He should have been the villain of the piece but, perhaps because the story is told through his loyal follower Charles Millburn, I was instead sympathetic for him, and wanted him to succeed despite the fact that what he was doing was morally questionable at best.

The only complaint I can really make is that I felt the story dragged in places. The first half of the story was absolutely gripping, but once the characters separate and go their own ways for a bit, I wasn’t quite as enthralled – although once they get back together, the story picks up pace again.

Overall, a gripping and fascinating insight into a brilliant and disturbed mind (Herbert West, not the author!). I would definitely recommend this to any fan of H.P. Lovecraft, fans of sci-fi/fantasy, and anyone who just enjoys excellently written literature.

The Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Click here to visit Audrey Driscoll’s blog.

Click here to check out the book (currently free to download!)

Unrelated video of the day:

Thor 2: The Dark World trailer came out today! Words cannot convey my excitement for this movie.

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

How do you write a good sequel?

I actually got on this topic because of the following video:

Now, I would like to clarify that I am aware Phantom Menace is a prequel, not a sequel. I do understand the distinction. But it’s basically the same concept — you’re continuing a story that’s already been established.

So here’s my question to you — how do you write a good sequel?

I am currently reworking the sequel to Imminent Danger, that book I keep babbling about that I will be self-publishing sometime this century. And I’m racked with self-doubt (“wracked”?) because it has to be as good as the first book, but I’m not sure how to make it that way. As the fast-talking man in the Star Wars video says, sequels/prequels need to be new and original, but they also have to evoke a feeling of familiarity. So how do we achieve that delicate balance?

My current strategy is to write the story I want to write, then get someone else’s opinion on how it holds up as a sequel. I can’t be a good judge of that, because I wrote it. I’m too close to it to see it clearly for what it is. I think that’s where George Lucas went wrong – he was so confident in his own artistic brilliance that he disregarded other opinions, hence the mediocrity of Phantom Menace and, to a slightly lesser extent, the other two prequels. I’m not going to lie, I actually do quite like Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith (parts of them, anyway), but there’s no way I would ever call them better than the original trilogy.

Another thing I’ve tried doing is going back and reading the first book and writing down the things that I liked about it, the things that made me laugh, the things that made me “awww!”, etc. Then (hypothetically), I will take that list and apply it to the sequel.

I don’t know. What makes a good sequel? How can you ensure a sequel’s as good as the original? Can an author be trusted to reliably evaluate their own work?

Cool news for Chuck/Thor fans:

Zachary Levi (Chuck!) has been cast as Fandral in the upcoming Thor sequel. Fandral, to remind you, is Thor’s Asgardian friend, the skinny, blonde, mustachio-ed guy with the rapier. Or was it a legit longsword? I don’t remember. Anyway, I’m extremely excited because I love Chuck, and I love Thor, and it’s going to be awesome having them together! Click here to read the article and watch Zach’s interview with Leno.

Image cred: http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/UPDATED-v0-4-Star-Wars-Opening-Crawl-After-Effects-Template-SEE-FIRST-POST/topic/9001/

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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