June 11th, 2003


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01:15 am - on helping me struggle with the character driven creative process
So, although I haven't really mentioned it in a few days, I am actually working on the comic book idea that I mentioned a while back. Right now I am working with the concept of Vagabond. She's a pretty rare character, so let me give some backstory.

Priscilla Lyons was the girlfriend of Jack Monroe, who was also the superhero Nomad, a former sidekick to Captain America. More than anything she wanted to be an American hero too, so she convinced Nomad to train her to fight and she became his sidekick, Vagabond. Eventually they split up after a fight and he wanders away drunk. She trains with some other Captain America hanger-ons, but no one really thinks she's cut out for the hero biz. She tries to get powers, and that doesn't go well. She gets into a couple of very small adventures of her own, and then no one ever writes about her again.

So I have my own take on her. The way I see it, she never gave up on wanting to be a hero, she just realized she wasn't cut out for the big time. So she kind of leaves New York and starts traveling the country as an A-Team style bounty hunter. So its years later, and she's a lot smarter, a better fighter and somewhat more bitter (they used to write her as very happy-go-lucky, which was stupid). She hasn't been fighting supervillains, she's been fighting gang members, drug dealers and extortionists. She's seen humanity at its worse and its hardened her.

So there are two ways I can write the story. One is to have Pris wandering America like Kane in Kung-Fu, trying to find her place in the world. Trying to figure out who she is as a hero and how she can make her mark on America. The theme here would be to explore the makeup of a hero. Or an aspiring hero anyway.

The other way is to reteam her with Jack after all these years and explore their new relationship. She has patterend herself after him in a manner, and she still has this deep urge to proove herself to him. Also Jack has never quite fit in to the world of heroes himself, which was one of the things that made him a poor mentor for Pris in the first place So the theme here would be to explore relationships and their implicit dysfunction given that the involved individuals are superheroes.

Or I could do something else entirely.

Poll #144428 Help Mav write his comic!

Which type of story should I write?

Solo hero by herself trying to discover herself
13(61.9%)
Pair of heroes trying to work through their past relationship while finding their place in the world together
7(33.3%)
Other (please specify in a comment)
1(4.8%)


If you like or hate either idea or have thoughts about them, I'd like to know those as well.

Current Mood: [mood icon] geeky

(18 comments | Leave a comment)

 
on helping me struggle with the character driven creative process - graffiti.maverick

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Comments:


[User Picture]From: thwomp Date: June 11th, 2003 - 10:18 am (Link)
I like the first, solo one, but I think you should try to have a definite "I'm a female quasisuperhero" angle, mostly because I like to read men writing about what it means to be a woman. First you should read/reread "skinny legs and all" and pay attention to the artist character, because Tom Robbins does a freaky but interesting job of writing women.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: June 11th, 2003 - 10:31 am (Link)
I like to read men writing about what it means to be a woman.

really? Hmmm... I wonder about that because I don't want to come across as pompous... "what can this man know about writing about women." You know...a write what you know kinda thing,
[User Picture]From: danitapgh Date: June 11th, 2003 - 12:09 pm (Link)
I like the idea of a character who is not a superhero struggling to make her mark in a world of superhumans. I like characters who have to be resourceful and use their own wits/preparation rather than relying on atypical gifts to get them through a tough situation. I don't think you did a good job of selling the story of the two getting back together. I'm not thrilled by the idea of a woman getting back together with a guy who was last seen wandering off drunk...

[User Picture]From: stephtoth Date: June 11th, 2003 - 12:14 pm (Link)
I'm not thrilled by the idea of a woman getting back together with a guy who was last seen wandering off drunk...



I am :)
But I suppose I've read too many romance novels....
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: June 11th, 2003 - 12:29 pm (Link)
But I suppose I've read too many romance novels....

I should do that. I was talking about them with someone last week. Its a form that I haven't really familiarized myself with. Got a recommended author or book?
[User Picture]From: stephtoth Date: June 11th, 2003 - 01:16 pm (Link)

Re:

oh not really :) I"m a sort of conesseure all right, but I never paid attention to authors. (those are all made-up names anyway)
Just go to the library and look for ones with the steamiest looking covers :) Those are the best.
As far as all the sub-genre's I've never been too into the historical romances, they build things up endlessly more often than not, but latley I've rediscovered the joy of time-travel romance! Modern and historical mixed! and just as steamy as you please :) (It's like Kate and Leopold, over and over and over again) good stuff.
Anyway, ask
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oh not really :) I"m a sort of conesseure all right, but I never paid attention to authors. (those are all made-up names anyway)
Just go to the library and look for ones with the steamiest looking covers :) Those are the best.
As far as all the sub-genre's I've never been too into the historical romances, they build things up endlessly more often than not, but latley I've rediscovered the joy of time-travel romance! Modern and historical mixed! and just as steamy as you please :) (It's like Kate and Leopold, over and over and over again) good stuff.
Anyway, ask <ljuser=sui66y> he knows an author who's supposed to be good. I carefully limit my romance intake (or else I would do nothing else with my life than read romance novels), so I havn't had a chance yet to look them up.
have fun!
[User Picture]From: stephtoth Date: June 11th, 2003 - 01:19 pm (Link)
mike, ask mike
who's lj user name I can't remember properly to do a link that works
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: June 11th, 2003 - 06:03 pm (Link)
which mike? I'm assuming not sui66iy since I live with him and I have not noticed a single romance novel in his book collection.
[User Picture]From: stephtoth Date: June 11th, 2003 - 07:05 pm (Link)

Re:

ya, sui66iy! (check under his bed) ;)
[User Picture]From: anisodragnfly Date: June 11th, 2003 - 02:01 pm (Link)
Jude Deveraux has been one of my faves for years, although mostly historical (wide range of time periods, though). she's of the "longer than Harlequins, shorter than forever" novel variety. you should read a couple Harlequin Regency romances (usually no sex, sorry). Barbara Hazard is pretty good at those, but it's prolly not worth actually finding a specific author for those. well, i guess that's not exactly true, some can be excruciating. Kathleen Woodiweiss is good for the extremely long with lots of sex and violence sort, although if you read too many of hers, the basic plot is pretty similar.

i'll check my booklist when i get home for other ideas.

[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: June 11th, 2003 - 06:21 pm (Link)
cool... thanx... oh... and vote or something...
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: June 11th, 2003 - 12:28 pm (Link)
I'm not thrilled by the idea of a woman getting back together with a guy who was last seen wandering off drunk...

Well, he's actually not a drunk anymore (he had a comic afterwards) but she doesn't know that. And I don't want them back together. I want them working together. In my mind, Jack was the dangerous boy in a leather jacket school girl crush that the young Pris had. The older Pris is a older and stronger and it takes more than "ooh, I can date a superhero" to get her into bed. I see her as holding a grudge against him and really not liking him all that much. What I was thinking was more a story of how they get along now.

Of course, there's no reason I couldn't bring him in later, after first establishing her on her own.
[User Picture]From: danitapgh Date: June 11th, 2003 - 12:37 pm (Link)
hmmm... I like the idea of seeing how Pris struggles and how she is hardened into a tougher version of her former self. If you see that, then you'll understand her skeptical attitudes toward a reformed Jack better. Jack would also have some wrong ideas about who she is based on the woman he used to know...
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: June 11th, 2003 - 06:26 pm (Link)
so you're saying you want to see that transformation or that you want to see the end product? See, I'm not sure the comic medium is right for showing years of introspection into a character. I'm not saying it can't be done. I just want to know if its important to you.
[User Picture]From: danitapgh Date: June 12th, 2003 - 07:28 am (Link)
So, I've never written a comic before. I've only read one or two. However, I think you learn a lot about characters in comic books, and characters can learn a lot about themselves. In watchmen (which i've started reading btw), you learn about the characters through flashbacks. In just a few pages, you see where Rorschach came from and how he got to where he is. You don't have to chronologically view all the years. If you did, you get a comic book that reads like Tolkien.

As for what I want, I feel more interested in characters if I know where they came from and what obstacles they've had to overcome. If you show me the end product, then I'd be more interested in the end product if you showed flashes into where the end product came from. But, that's just me.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: June 12th, 2003 - 01:16 pm (Link)
oh... you've started reading Watchmen... good... you'll be a better person for it. :-)

hmmm... I hate writing flashbacks... I used to joke in fiction class that I wrote the best flashbacks because I would cleverly disguise them by writing them in chronological order. So if I were going to do that, I'd have to just start at an earlier point in the story. The thing is though, if I am going to write about her as an independant solo hero and not use Jack as a character (at least at first), I'm not sure how into their past relationship I really want to get. Obviously, it needs to be there. But I think I might want to concentrate more on who she is now than on who she was. But yeah, maybe I want to give some of how she got there... I just nee to figure out where the story really starts.
[User Picture]From: beststephi Date: June 11th, 2003 - 01:30 pm (Link)
What I found most interesting in all of what you've said is her process of developing from a happy-go-lucky kid into a worldly adult from years of fighting earth scum. It seems to me a minor point that, after all those years, she would realize there's no reason to idolize Jack. Also, I don't really understand the difference between what she's already done and being a "hero". Or is it just a matter of confidence?
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: June 11th, 2003 - 06:38 pm (Link)
hmmm... so you're definitely saying that you want to see what she's doing in the intervening years (see my comment to dana) more than how she deals with the world now?

Also, I don't really understand the difference between what she's already done and being a "hero". Or is it just a matter of confidence?

That and semantics. The question is more "what does it mean to be a hero?" Does it mean you have powers, cuz she doesn't. Does it mean that she fights super villains? Because she doesn't really do that much either. Does it mean that she has a heroic attitude? Because that's a no too. I want her to be doing this for her own reasons. Because this is what she wants to do. Not for any greater cause. When she was 7 years old, she wanted to be a superhero when she grew up, and now she's still trying to be that, even though she has no qualifications whatsoever... Is there a difference between being a hero and trying to be a hero? That's the question.
 

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