Posts Tagged ‘Avengers’

Admit your faults

Posted: February 4, 2014 in Writing
Tags: , , ,

SplatterA lot of writers have a hard time letting go of their manuscripts and just getting the damn thing published. One of the biggest reasons is because it’s constantly not ready, it’s not done, it’s not perfect.

Perfection doesn’t exist, and it never will. Even the most beloved books on our shelves have their issues, but it’s a matter of those issues being outweighed by brilliance.

So learn to live with your mistakes. And learn to admit your faults.

Sometimes you’re going to have to settle when it comes to your story. You’ll have to use that cliche to get from point A to point B, or maybe you’ll have to leave that plot hole because there’s just no way to fill it.

A perfect example of this is The Avengers. If you listen to the audio commentary, you’ll hear Joss Whedon talking about his experience writing and directing the movie. The commentary itself is brilliant if you’re a Joss Whedon fan. I could listen to that man talk about anything. He so funny and insightful, and I love the way he operates.

But that commentary is also a gold mine for writing knowledge. And one of the biggest things that stuck out to me was when he talked about the scene where the Chitauri all died after their mothership was destroyed by the nuclear bomb.

I’m not proud of that either, okay? That’s… It was necessary to make sure we understood that they didn’t have to just clean up for the next 17 hours by still fighting, but… So they could actually have their moment of triumph. But it’s a device I am not fond of and probably shouldn’t have brought up.

I’m glad he brought it up, though, because we often think that writers don’t know when they use a cliche or can’t tell they’ve used a trope in their story, when in fact they probably just couldn’t find a solution to their issue. It’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t mean they’re not brilliant. It’s just how things have to work sometimes.

Let me rephrase that.

It’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t mean you’re not brilliant. It’s just how things have to work sometimes.

Your manuscript is not going to be perfect. Not ever. Make it as good as you can and then send it off to live in the hands of your readers. If there’s something wrong with your story, admit to your faults. Sometimes it just can’t be helped. But being aware of those issues and trying to avoid them in the future is the best thing you can do.

Have you ever written something and known it was a cliche or a trope, but also knew you couldn’t get around it? What did you do in a situation like that?

There are going to be a lot of great shows airing this fall. Some oldies-but-goodies will return, and there are even a couple of spinoff shows, which I always enjoy watching if I like the original.

There are going to be some new shows too, but I’m throwing down the gauntlet right now: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to be the best one.

If you haven’t seen the promo yet, watch it here:

Reasons why ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ is going to be AWESOME:

1. It’s a spinoff of The Avengers. I mean, you kind of can’t go wrong if you’re basing your show off of the third highest grossing movie of all time, right? People love The Avengers for about a million reasons, and even though nearly all of the characters from the film won’t be involved, it’s still based in the same world. And that’s definitely something to be excited about.

2. It’s a TV show. I’m a huge movie buff, but sometimes television just kind of trumps film. Would you rather have a two hour movie, or a 22-episode season? I guess that would depend, but in this case I’m super excited this wasn’t turned into a spinoff movie, but a spinoff show instead. We’re going to be able to get so much more action and information now, and it’s going to be amazing! I’m sure it’s going to go on to see many seasons.

CLARK GREGG3. COULSON LIVES. “I’m clearance level six. I know that Agent Coulson was killed in action before the battle of New York.” *Coulson emerges from the shadows* “Welcome to level seven.” YEAH, THAT JUST HAPPENED. It was so heartbreaking when Coulson died in The Avengers, so I’m so glad to see him back. I knew he was involved with the show, but I thought this might take place pre-New York Battle, but it’s not! He’s going to add so much to this series. 😀

4. It’s got it all. Action, comedy, mystery, supernatural elements. Seriously. We’ve got some kickass characters (they are spies, after all), some hilarious lines (I want to walk around quoting “Don’t touch Lola” all day), some intriguing story lines about the protags and antags alike (“S.H.I.E.L.D. Government. Scary men in dark suits that come after guys like you.”), and we’ve also got some superheroes. The latter is probably what I’m anticipating the most because we’re going to be able to see a lot more characters than just the ones in the movie. Yay!

5. Joss Whedon is involved. Whedon is like King Midas of the movie and television industry. At this point, it’s like saying, “Yeah, Chris Nolan is directing,” or “Yeah, Morgan Freeman is starring.” You know it’s just going to be out of this world. Whedon has a great record with television (well, according to the fans, at least), and this is going to be exactly his element. I wish he were MORE involved, but as of right now he’s sort of overseeing it and directing the first episode. Good enough for me!

Honestly, there’s about a hundred other reasons why I seriously can’t wait for this show (not least of which is that Melinda May looks completely amazing and whoever plays Agent Ward is, whew, *fans self*), but these are the big ones. I was excited before, but the premiere is better than I ever could have hoped it would be. It’s just…ahhh…*flails*

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up for me.

Are you excited for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Will you be watching it? What are you most looking forward to?

Here’s the next post in this series where I discuss TV shows and movies and the knowledge that we can gain from watching them. We can apply that knowledge to our writing. As always, I never pretend to be an expert. I just like exploring my own thoughts on the matter as I write these blog posts! I welcome all comments and would love to hear what you think about this topic.

Make sure you check out my previous post, titled, “How to write a dynamic character arc, with Caroline Forbes.”

WARNING: This post contains spoilers for both The Avengers and the Firefly follow-up movie Serenity.

As writers, we often fall in love with our own characters. It’s not hard to do. After all, you spend so many hours with them, and you know each and every one of their secrets. You know exactly the type of person they are underneath the face they present to the world. That type of raw honesty and understanding is hard to resist.

So, when the time comes to kill one of your characters, it can be one of the hardest decisions you make. Sometimes they feel like your children, or your lovers, or your best friends. And you’re the one that has to drive a stake through their heart.

It’s not easy.

But it’s necessary.

The best example I can think of is in The Avengers when Phil Coulson dies. Up until this point, each of the superheroes was only looking out for themselves. They weren’t trying to work as a team. They didn’t see the bigger picture. They just wanted to prove they were the better man.

And then Phil died.

Avengers Phil CoulsonPhil was just about the one thing they all had in common. He held a place in each of their hearts, no matter how small that place that was. He had a relationship with each one and each of the heroes liked him. It wasn’t like Fury, who was obviously connected to each one as well, but was also the boss and, in some scenes, the antagonist. It was different with Coulson.

So why did Joss Whedon kill off Coulson? Because he had to. It was the spark that ignited the fire underneath the Avengers’ butts. It got them angry. It made them determined. They’d win the war for Coulson, because he died believing in what they were a part of.

Coulson’s death was the catalyst. It’s actually what moved the movie forward and into that final act. Not all deaths are like that, but it’s important to note that even though Coulson was important and loved (especially by fans), he had to die. It had to happen.

Other examples come to mind, like Wash from Serenity. His death didn’t work in quite the same way as Coulson’s did, but it was still important and still noteworthy. Sometimes death occurs because that’s the next logical step. Sometimes it occurs because other characters need to know what it feels like to lose someone they are close to. Characters are only interesting when they change, and sometimes they can only change when something drastic happens.

So, kill your darlings. Take those beloved characters, chew them up, and spit them out. It’s sad and horrible and will leave a bad taste in your mouth, but it’s so important to do it. It’ll effect your reader, and that’s a good thing. The more emotions they feel, the more invested and attached they are to your book.

These are just two tiny, tiny examples in a world of beloved characters that had to bite the bullet. Just in Harry Potter alone I can name ten people off the top of my head who also fall into this category. In fact, the death  of loved ones was the driving force behind all seven books. It’s horrible what Harry went through in his life, but (from a writing standpoint) it was so, so necessary.

And on that note, I’ll also say that if you do kill off a character, stick with it. You can bring some characters back to the dead, surely, but it depends on the circumstances. Most of the time, dead is dead and it’s better that way. You’ll lose the impact of death in your stories if you backtrack too many times. I love a good death (which sounds weird, but is true). I love to cry and be angry and hate the writer(s) for taking a little piece of my soul. But it’s cathartic and sometimes feels that way actually makes you feel better.

What is the most heart wrenching character death you’ve ever experienced in someone else’s work? Have you ever had to kill off a character you loved?

Hey everyone! I’m over on Ddog’s blog today talking about the five things I’m MOST looking forward to in The Avengers, which is coming out in ONE WEEK. Go on over there and see what I have to say – and don’t forget to comment! I’d love to know what you’re most looking forward to in this movie.

A few weeks ago Ddog guest posted for me and asked us if the Spider-Man reboot movie was a good idea. If you missed it (or just forgot to comment!) head on over there and show him some love.

I’ll check into ROW on Sunday, and on Monday I’ll have a nice and shiny new post for you. Let’s see if you can figure out what it’ll be. Here are three clues: blue, hair, and travel. (No cheating! Leave your guesses in the comments below.)