My loyal blog readers will be gratified (and astonished) to learn that this blog has been listed in the “Top 100 Creative Writing Blogs.”
The rankings are divided into several sections. If you scroll down to the “Fiction Writing” section, you’ll see the Advanced Fiction Writing Blog listed at the top of that particular group. Part of what makes this blog special is my loyal blog readers, so I thank all of you for participating.
I’d like to continue our analysis of STAR WARS (Episode 4) which we began a few weeks ago. In our last few blogs on the subject, we came up with a nice sharp one-sentence summary and a one-paragraph summary of the movie. Those are good high-level analyses of the storyline, but it’s now time to look at the characters. Which raises the rather interesting question, who are the principal characters in STAR WARS?
Luke Skywalker is obviously the lead character. But who should go second on the list? Is it Leia (the love interest)? Or Han Solo (the buddy)? Or Obi-wan Kenobi (the mentor)? Or Darth Vader (the antagonist)?
Each of these four has a claim to be the #2 character in the movie. It all depends on what kind of movie you think you’re watching.
If you see the romantic storyline as very important, then Leia has a claim. This is of course before we learned that Leia is Luke’s sister. For sure in the movie, Luke had a thing for Leia, as did Han. Which made it convenient when Leia turned out to be off-limits to Luke so there was no need to have a goat-fight between Luke and Han in Episode 6. That would have been a little unfortunate, because everybody comes out stinky from a goat-fight.
If you see the male-bonding storyline as more important, then you might argue that Han Solo is the #2 character.
If you see the story as a Hero’s Journey kind of story, then Obi-wan Kenobi might have a claim, even though he dies halfway through the movie in a shocking disaster that forces Luke to grow up in the Force. Obi-wan does kind of hang around a bit afterward (or else Luke is hearing some seriously bad-news-for-your-mental-health voices in his head).
If you see the story as a Good-versus-Evil kind of tale, then Darth Vader is a good choice for the #2 character.
I think that the reason the movie had such broad appeal is that the movie was really all of the above. This is kind of risky in a movie, because people like to know what a movie is. When it’s a little of this and a little of that, then it better be awfully good at both this and that.
As it turned out, the movie was awfully good at all of the above. I’d say it’s about evenly balanced between the various kinds of story, so it drew in a broad spectrum of people. There was a synergy between the storylines that transcended genre. (I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. I’m going to leave it there to prove that I can buzzword as horribly as anyone else.)
In any event, in the next week or so, I’d like to analyze the storyline for each of the 5 characters listed above: Luke, Leia, Han, Obi-wan, and Darth. What we’ll learn is something absolutely critical for the fiction writer who wants to create strong characters. There is ONE thing you must know in order to have some hope of succeeding.
What that ONE thing is, we’ll discuss next week. But you already know what it is, don’t you? You have it within you. Trust your feelings . . .
Daniel Smith says
What?! You’re leaving us hanging? Now?!
Congratulations on the award! You earned it!
(Oh, wait. I get it. Suspense. Drama. Appeal to the emotions. Keep things interesting. Don’t have flat characters. Make the reader want to know more…)
Camille Cannon Eide says
A BIG HUGE Congratulations on the top 100 ranking, Randy!! But we already knew it was #1. 🙂
Is the one thing the most Basic Value?
Doug Bolton says
You suckered us. The top 100 was your draw, and you got me. GOOD JOB!!
I will see you at this year’s Oregon Writer’s Conference, at the end of July.
Try not to get too excited when you see me.
John V says
I’d say the #2 character is Han. Aside from Luke, Han is the only character that changes in the first movie. Obi-Wan knows from the beginning he has to get Luke involved, and he does. Leia begins as a rebel and ends a rebel. The romantic angle really doesn’t begin until the second movie. Vader begins and ends a fairly typical villain. The father-son storyline doesn’t begin until the second movie.
Han begins selfish and greedy, is challenged to change by Han and Leia, and in the end, he does. So, Han is the #2 character for the first movie.
Based on the direction of the discussion, I would guess the ONE thing to be that which drives character action throughout their storyline – desire.
I will concede, however, that reading into the words results would lead me to agree with Daniel. Still, I will stick by my initial guess.
Andra M says
Congrats on making to the Top 100!
I say each character has a conflict and goal (or as Ben said: desire) with room to grow.
Cheri Williams says
Congratulations, Randy. Of course we already knew you’re the best!
Sally Ferguson says
Congratulations…an award that is well deserved!
Amy VR says
“There was a synergy between the storylines that transcended genre.”
Egads… I can’t believe you wrote that sentence either! HAHA!
Congratulations on making the Top 100 list… though I would put in on the Top 3 list!
I am waiting with bated breath for your next blog post. (That’s what you wanted, right?)
Every character is the hero of his/her own story.
Paul Epson says
Good job for the award, Randy. We’ve got here a nice array of choice where anyone can identify himself in his favorite character. The young guy in Luke, the girl in Lea, the wise guy in Obi-wan, the rough guy in Han and the evil naughty one in Darth.
Sheila Deeth says
I just went over there and found you. Congratulations! And you’re first on the list for fiction writing. Hope it brings you even more new readers.