By Christine Thackeray
My oldest son Brian is home from college for a semester and is dying for a creative project. He's decided to start a weekly on-line comic. He's kicked around all sorts of different ideas and finally decided to do a super hero family on skidrow since all super hero work doesn't PAY anything. (Hey, the economy's been tough on some people.) The father has a back injury and constantly is nagging his grown super hero kids to get a job like that spider guy and superman. Of course the boys get fired right and left.
It has possibilities, but I keep telling him that his main character needs a PASSION and a FLAW. The more I write and study writing, the more formulaic I get, especially in the initial creative stages. When it comes to actually building a scene, I'm much more organic but the elements that create a story have become so clear in my mind that I can't watch a movie or read a story without holding up my requirements and seeing if it they meet the grade.
I recently saw "The Avatar" and "2012". I expected to HATE both movies but left really enjoying them because their main characters where awesome. In Avatar, you have a marine who has lost his legs and with it his moral compass. Through the movie he falls in love and finds something to fight for again. "2012" is silly fun. The main character is a writer who has lost his family and his original vision. As the world falls apart around him, he's able to fight for what he believes in and saves his family. Both plots worked for me because the main characters had PASSION and a FLAW which they were able to overcome.
So for my son he's decided that his character is the middle brother who doesn't feels his super power is anything important (he has the ability to shrink different parts of his body or the whole thing.) All he wants is to be appreciated, but stuck in the shadow of his muscle-bound older brother, his brainy younger brother and his youngest super-sonic ADHD brother we'll see.
The scary thing is that very little fiction is involved. But that's another story.