As The World Falls Down

June 8, 2010 at 6:37 am (fantasy, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

The title of this post Not just a fond memory of David Bowie as the Goblin King in Labyrinth – though if you want a trip down memory lane you can watch the Goblin King himself in action and you may never eat peaches again.  Though I do want to know how he did that thing with the glass balls. I know I tried this as a kid (with tennis balls) with zero success, than again, I can’t juggle either.

The title of the post is actually referring to character creation and how it is easy for characters to be strong and amazing when things are going well but would they actually cope with the situations they get thrown into.

If you read an older style action novel then the hero, stepping from mundane life to saving the world, will simply shrug off any number of attacks and set backs and continue to plow forward with reckless abandon, possibly having one touching loss of confidence scene. These characters don’t come off as realistic though they work because these stories are simply about the action and that’s all they ever claimed to be.

Far more realistic is the character that ends up catatonic after their world gets torn apart around them but that isn’t particularly interesting either and can kind of leave your story high and dry if your protagonist goes on a mental holiday for half the book.

So what does your character do as their world falls down?

Are they helping it along?  Do they follow Sarah’s example (back to Labyrinth) here and smash the walls apart and give no heed to the possible consequence because it is worse to stay where you are? Do they run and hide and need someone or something to help them find their way again? Do they take advantage of the wreckage?

How does your character deal with the world falling down?



  1. shylockbooks said,

    One example of a catatonic character throughout an entire series: Bell Swan. Specifically in New Moon. Great post!

  2. Lynn Rush said,

    I have a handful of characters that just get flat-out angry and fight, even fight those who can help.

    I have a couple characters who run. . . flee from the frustration…but it eventually comes back to bite them in the butt.

    You’re right shylockbooks—Bella Swan was catatonic!!!

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Catatonic for a lot of the story and that meant the story didn’t really get very far.

  3. Talli Roland said,

    Hm. Good question! I think it depends on the character. My main character at the moment would probably live in denial for awhile.

  4. Alex Willging said,

    I think my character(s) go through a few stages of Paralyzing Terror, then Guilt and Despair, then The Faint Gleam of Hope, and finally Do Something Before It’s Too Late. I’d like to think that’s how many people go through a crisis and I hope my characters can reflect that.

  5. rahmama said,

    My main character is rather impulsive and jumps into the middle of things without thinking. I’m writing his major crisis scene now so this topic is of interest to me. He’s going to hit bottom, experience guilt and despair, plenty of terror and emerge victorious. And would you believe this Protagonist is a cat?

    I don’t really get the whole Twilight craze. I haven’t read them and from everything I’ve heard (especially the catatonic Belle Swan!) I think I’ll pass.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Cat’s are very emotive and respond well – I think your protagonist could be quite interesting.

  6. Tooty Nolan said,

    My character ALWAYS rise to the occasion – often by duplicating the efforts of characters in their favourite TV shows. It’s silly – but it’s fun – and writing’s supposed to be fun, isn’t it?

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Writing is always supposed to be fun. If it isn’t fun to write, how can it be enjoyable to read?

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