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HOW TO CREATE & KILL YOUR DARLING CHARACTERS
By © A P von K’Ory
We, as writers as well as readers, know that readers can never resist turning those pages where characters are constantly in danger or facing very unpalatable decisions that place them squarely on dilemma. Think in terms of James Bond films, reeling from one hardship or catastrophe into the next. By the time Bond overcomes all the dangers and saves the day, we sigh with content.
Dilemma means facing tough choices. Whichever choice the protagonist makes, something bad will happen or someone will be endangered, preferably someone who means a lot to the protagonist. It could be an innocent child, the collapse of democracy or massive environmental pollution. It could be the spouse or parent of the protagonist. It could even be his job or the scientific research they worked on for years and whose breakthrough is only a step away but threatened.
I personally have huge issues with killing my darlings that I work especially hard to overcome. I don’t want them to even have the common cold. Instead, I kill the virus before it gets to my beloved protagonist. Consequently, I kill my reader’s joy in rooting for my protagonist. Observed from that angle, I do kill my protagonists in a way. A bad way. I make the protagonists uninteresting for the reader, who will then chuck my book aside and pick a more interesting book from another other.
There are several ways to make the protagonist interesting.
I just finished reading Michael Dobbs’ House of Cards trilogy. His protagonist, Chief Whip and then Prime Minister, Francis Urquhart, is the nastiest protagonist I ever read. He literally walks over dead bodies. But the books kept me going deep into the night because I kept on hoping someone with stop this terrible person. Book after book, Urquhart remains the nastiest, most criminal protagonist I ever came across. No wonder the trilogy was first filmed by BBC, and now by Netflix. Urquhart is the only one who finally stops Urquhart – by arranging to get himself publicly killed (rather than lose being re-election as Prime Minister for the umpteenth time). He does that spectacularly, with all the media in attendance worldwide. How? He simply walks to a political rally of his opponent, practically shoves the man off the microphone, and takes over, addressing the opponent’s gathered thousands, while this political opponent, already getting more popular and destined to succeed him, plays the gentleman and lets Urquhart go ahead. Urquhart ruins the chances of this successor. Urquhart remains nasty and a winner even while rigging his own death.
So how do we create such an unforgettable character? Here are five points:
(Tune in next month, in October newsletter, for the pointers!)
- By A P von K’Ory
Facebook Author Page: https://facebook.com/APVonKORY
GOLDEN SHANA: The Chase
GOLDEN SHANA: The Capture
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Author’s Note: I write in British English, so some spellings and phrasal verbs may be unfamiliar to American English speakers.
Strategies for Peace, by Bruce L. Cook and Maria Cristina Azcona (eds.)
BRUCE L. COOK AND MARIA CRISTINA AZCONA - Full Index. I join Maria Cristina Azcona in offering this collection of viewpoints on peace making. She and I joined Ernest Kahan in 2014 to establish the Worldwide Peace Organization in Argentina. Here we identify a startling variety of facets on the crystal which represents peace. Virtually everyone claims to want world peace. Only a few take measures to promote it. Each writer who seeks peace suggests a unique dimension. It's our hope that this volume will encourage students, professors, and peacemakers to consider this comprehensive look at ten strategy perspectives which, if taken seriously in private and public life, might lead to our shared objective - worldwide peace in our time. * Leadership * Language and Leadership * Interspiritual * World Citizenship * Family Relations * Role of Women * Education * Medical Actions * The Arts * Conflict Resolution
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Publishing New Writers,
September 2017 (no. 1809)
Dr. Bruce L. Cook
1407 Getzelman Drive
Elgin, IL 60123
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