Monday, September 04, 2006

Writing 004 -- The Shadow in the Hero

This one was fun to do, but I can't help but bang my head against the wall. There are just so many other dimensions of this topic that I could have gone into; there are so many literary and cinematic examples of the things I did discuss.

I'm also aware that I ended the discussion rather quickly. An oversight in editing. Sorry. But there will be plenty of informal follow-up in future shows.

If you can think of other examples of the Shadow archetype, post them here. Think of the books that you have read and the movies you have seen. Trust me. Examples are all over the place.


Zonie said...

Oh and by the way you have a great voice for radio. I love that east coast accent. :)

Anonymous said...

im enjoying these, but you have to fix this one. Protagonist has nothing to do with being good. A protagonist can be an anti hero. Still, this is good stuff though.

Tom Occhipinti said...

Yep, I noted elsewhere on my blog that I have to further discuss the different traditions that deal with the definitions of "protagonist" and "antagonist." There is a definite disparity.

That discussion won't be in Writing 006 (which will be out this weekend), but rather Writing 007.

Zebby's Daddy said...

In my thoughts of characters and characterization, I always include static/dynamic, round/flat, and two other character types: secondary and minor.

A static character is one that makes little or no change. They don't learn their lessons. The dynamic character changes or learns their lessons. The dynamic character appears even more dynamic when propped up next to a static character (this is usually one of the only reasons I use a static character in the first place).

The flat character is one you know little about and learn little new information about them as the story progresses. The round character has the reader knowing a lot and learning more about the character as the story works toward a climax and conclusion.

The secondary character is not a protagonist or antagonist but still has some importance in the story; if the character were removed, the story would be altered or different.

The minor character is not any of the above and can be removed from the story without any change. I almost never use these in short stories, but they seem to fit better in longer works. I think of cab drivers and dog walkers when thinking of minor characters--they make things realistic.

Tom Occhipinti said...

Ahh, but then while I can still accept the term "minor" for them -- I don't think they are superfluous. If they add that "realistic" element to your story, they are indispensable. Just for secondary reasons.

And if they add dramatic balance, thematic underscore or a foil element to the story, they are actually vital.

My rule of thumb is that if one of my minor characters doesn't serve the story in this way, I'll probably just delete them. Sure -- a minor character can give a "real" dimension to my story -- but more likely than not, they have another purpose as well.

voodoomusic said...

I'm writing a novel with a good guy and a bad guy. Halfway through, the bad guy turns good. We now have two heros fighting for alpha male status. Do I now need another real bad guy? I do introduce more of a flat character that is steps on to finish off the bad guy's job, but no true bad guy after this. Or, because these two main characters are still antagonists to each other, is that enough?