Hold on a moment while I put on my nerd cap, to talk about a fabulous series called My Hero Academia, by Kouhei Horikoshi. For those totally oblivious to anime (and manga – the written comic form of popular Japanese story-telling), My Hero Academia is one of the top hits currently being published and animated for TV. (check Amazon Prime and Hulu)
A short synopsis:Izuku lives in a world where 80% of the population has been born with a Quick – think X-Men, but even zanier. Unfortunately for Izuku, who longs to be a professional hero, he’s Quirk-less, just a normal kid – which isn’t so normal anymore. Just when his dreams are in danger of being crushed by bullies and reality, he has an encounter with the #1 Hero of the age, All Might, and gets the chance to become the next greatest hero himself.
As much as I want to plug the series (go watch it! Now!) I actually want to touch on two characters and two themes, that I see running through Horikoshi’s story. Continue reading →
“We often find the hero and villain have the same goal, but are using different methods to reach it.”
That quote was used in a panel of writers talking about anti-heroes and villains at the annual North Texas Teen Book Festival. All the authors had one thing in common: they’d written tales with the villain – an anti-hero – as the protagonist. They explored the reasons why they had chosen to write stories from the “bad guy’s” point of view, and went over their favorite villains and anti-heroes.
I have two favorite “villains” about whom the above quote happens to be true. One is from a book series, and one is from an anime. *spoilers ahead!* Not every villain has to share a goal or vision with the hero, but oftentimes adding comedic (or tragic) irony to the conflict in your story causes it to have greater depth and complexity.
As a kid, did you watch Cinderella and Prince Charming get married, and wish that your adult life would turn out just the same? I will personally admit that being pulled out of a hum-drum life by a handsome, perfect man who would give me a crown, beautiful dresses and dance with me at balls sounded like the best of all possible futures – when I was 9. Continue reading →
Writing is a balancing act of complements and contrast. When you’re strategic in your placement of flat and round characters, you can create a focused, textured story that feels grounded in reality no matter how many dragons crawl through its pages. Let’s begin with looking at what flat and round characters are.
I’m putting my nerd hat on for this post, since I am using anime and manga as my primary examples. In all 18 years of reading and watching Japanese stories, there’s a character type their writers use that I don’t see utilized in American stories often: the friendly rival.
I feel like the only appropriate way to start this post is with a quote from George Washington in “Hamilton” by Lin-Manuel Miranda:
Can I be real a second?
For just a millisecond?
Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?”
It’s one of those seasons for me where everything feels a little darker than usual. There’s a heaviness to the air, in my limbs, and in my soul. Yeah, it’s dramatic, but we’re writers. Drama comes with the territory.
I’m guessing most of you have been in one of these seasons, and if you haven’t, you likely will be at some point in the future. Especially for creatives, the dark seems to follow us around a little more.
So today, when I just don’t know if I can get the words out any other way, I have this bit of encouragement for you–and for myself. Continue reading →
Recently I attended a writer’s conference in a foreign country. To all of you wondering, foreign in this context means not America.
There were twelve of us there and we were there together for one week. Everyone learned lots of things. Including me. Five years and two English departments at institutions of higher learning and—I still don’t know it all.
So in light of that illuminating statement allow me to share with you three things I learned in my week away.
1. It All Started Because of a Dream:
Every blog post you’ve read, every lecture you’ve attended, every book you perused, and all of your own experience will tell you that you must buckle down and work. Write that book, edit those sentences, iron out that plot, blah blah blah blah blah. But sometimes you have to cut loose and live a little. The writer’s version of a wild party. Remember why you like to write.