Friday, July 4, 2008

Coca-cola Formula One for Fantasy Writers

It begins in a far away place with a lonely foster son. His adopted family has cared for him but at the same time, failed to recognize or acknowledge his inherent specialness. His secret power that is even unknown to himself, owing to not having any known past, lays languishing, undiscovered until he witnesses an act of extreme heroism and/or violence that rouses him to action. He helps in some small and admittedly lucky capacity but the result is that the person he helped, recognizes his “potential.” The saved person is a man of mystery, and yet of the world, whom the commoners ignore or consider “strange.” Our would be languishing hero is of course, drawn to him and trust him instantaneously, be he Aragorn, Hagrid or Obi Wan Kenobi.

In a rush of exposition, he is removed from the bland local landscape of peasants and poor, brought to a place of peace, bounty, excellence and knowledge. Yet all this perfection is tinged with sadness, it is dying if only because no one has come with the sacred power, the chosen one, the ring, or the number of mitocondrians necessary to rejuvenate the perfect world and recall its glory days. The apprentice hero is loaded with gifts and given a stern lecture by the all knowing super mentor that knows what he is capable of becoming. This usually results in a pondering soliloquy or equally dense dialogue between the “strange hero” who has plucked this youth out of obscurity, and the mentor, with whom the strange hero goes way way back, lots of emotional baggage. The hero is accepted, he shouts yippee or mugs a grin or claps his hands as he begins his jedi/wizard/training. He is tested, during which he makes friends, enemies and comes to grip with just the beginning of his true origin. This is usually when comic relief is added and a few precious bits of dialogue that are not simply plot exposition.

Part of that origin is the story of the death of his actual family, and the decision by those who acted as surrogates to hide him away, in a basket in the water, in a home with muggles, at Bag End fishing, and on Tattoie fixing space pods racers and dealing with jawas. Discovery brings with it self knowledge and awareness of the family grudge score that has not yet been settled. Anger in the young prodgeny threatens to destroy his destiny, but with the aid of friends, a good woman, a faithful older man with a sword and a funny lovable side kick or two, he masters his emotions and his power.

In his final quest to rid the world or universe depending upon the genre, of evil, he will make mistakes and someone will be lost either through a betrayal or perceived betrayal, a mistake in judgement, or due to poor preparation on the part of our hero. He will stiffen his resolve and strengthen from this loss, as the female in his band suddenly discovers she finds him attractive and works to support his efforts in the quest.

The resulting giant climax between good and evil will take place only after the original plan to do something far more discreet fails, resulting in two of the following three things happening.
1) Death of villain, after he refuses mercy.
2) Final revelation of Villain and Hero’s relationship.
3) Conversion of villain, resulting in transformation of whole world.

Grand Finale wedding style feast which praises heroes, allows for the girls to kiss the boys, wounds to have been neatly cleaned up, and final cast of character bows with music, drums, firecrackers, food, wine, shiny medals and smiling faces.

This of course is top secret and usually what were unnecessary plot strings left unraveled will be pulled apart in the prequels and sequels that follow for oodles of dollars. Be sure to include some furry creatures in subsequent books/films, so as to garner profits from plush replicates purchased by fan boys everywhere.

Next week: The Guide to writing Romance: Hint...forbidden love,gives meaning to an otherwise bland existence that is pure duty and drudgery, which allows the individual loved to achieve artistic/personal fulfillment, even at the expense of everyone else in the world. Everyone else understands when that love, then surrendered for the good of the world, via death or honor, is discovered. Everone else except perhaps one or two immature individuals who exemplify selfishness and poor judgement in the story, gets the importance of this romance and views the affair as having been meaningful and necessary for the individual in question to achieve personhood.

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