WSPR #3: Motivations

So… coronavirus…

I intended to keep this blog going with weekly updates, but all my plans were halted in their tracks. Of course, I blame the virus.

Although perhaps I shouldn’t overdo this blame: I’ve certainly had enough time to keep writing and keep writing about writing while I’ve been stuck in the house. Still, there’s a level of anxiety and uncertainty that kept me unsettled for several weeks, as lockdown measures increased and I had to figure out what this new world of social distancing and self isolation entailed for me.

Sadly, it took the wind out of my sails a bit, writing-wise, and I’ve only recently been getting back into the swing of things. It didn’t help that I hit a particularly thorny chapter, where I’d been umm-ing and ahh-ing over how exactly to present things for some time already.

Underlying this thorniness was a problem of motivation. Not mine, but my protagonist’s. Breaking Hell is a shounen story at it’s heart, and shounen protagonists typically have simple and direct motivations. “I want to be the King of the Pirates!” or “- the Hokage!” or “- the Wizard King”; or “I want to save my friends!” or “- the girl!” or “- the World!”

Breaking Hell grew in the telling, so I didn’t start off with a simple shounen motivation for the main character. In fact, he started out with an entirely different characterisation which perhaps I’ll write about more another time.

Characterisation is a subtle art, and I’ve been trying to straddle the line between on-the-nose declarations and muddy motivation. It’s important to know what a character wants and how they are making decisions. And, in shounen especially, an ardent and determined spirit is an essential part of a winning main character.

A few conversations with friends helped clear up some of the issues I was subconsciously vacillating over, and I think I now have a good idea how to proceed.

I’m really excited to get past these chapters which, though not boring per se, are really an extended set up for the more action-y and fun chapters to come. In particular, there’s one character I can’t wait to introduce; I almost wish I could jump ahead to his chapters right away.

But, of course, all the bricks of a house are needed to keep it standing up. Brick by brick, I’ll get there.

Outside of writing, I’ve been having some success developing ideas for the second story arc of Breaking Hell. I don’t want to jump ahead and ruin anything – I want to keep this blog roughly contemporaneous with chapter releases – but I’ll just say it involves a game.

so long for now


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