I love the MCU and I love comics, but recently I re-watched Civil War and with Infinity War out as well I feel like this needs t be touched on. The MCU is trying to make Captain America the strongest hero in the MCU when that unfortunately is not true.
I understand that for Marvel, at least in the movies, Cap is their Superman. This is all well and good except for the fact that if it’s broken down Spider-Man is really more the Superman mirror in the comics. Let me explain, Superman and Spidey both work for a Newspaper, they both have a multitude of super powers, and probably the biggest is that they both wear the iconic red and blue outfit. Captain America is like Superman in the fact that they both stand for “truth, justice, and the American way.” But, more to my point Spider-Man is more powerful than Captain America.
I will back up these claims with facts. Captain America has super strength there is no doubt about it. He is on the same level as Black Panther and Bucky. Spider-Man is much stronger than him. The only members of the Avenger that is truly stronger than him are Thor and Hulk(I’m not counting Iron Man because his strength is not form him or an accident but a suit). They have the abilities of a god and a giant green rage monster that only gets stronger the angrier he gets. Spider-Man has the proportionate strength of a spider but for a human. His base strength is approximately 10 tons, his muscles are dense not large making him quick and strong.
Cap is another animal all together. The best way his power can be described is that he has the strength of 10 men. His base strength with a bench press is around 1200 pounds. Still a lot, but not close to Spidey. He is the cream of the crop compared to other humans, but as far as super strong he is not.
Why did I go on a tangent about this? Because the MCU has a problem where Captain America is the strongest possible when it helps the narrative, and I get that I really do. All I want is a little more continuity with the comics. Just make Spider-Man strong, keep Cap as the symbol, but when he over powers Sider-Man is Civil war it’s just not possible Unless, Peter’s heart wasn’t in the fight and he let himself lose just like in the comics.
Let me know your opinions, I’m sure there are going to be many. Keep it civil and I eagerly await the responses of anyone and the discussion to follow.
Why would males need a power fantasy? Tricky question to be honest, but the answer is pretty simple: everyone likes to feel powerful. Now for male power fantasy the power is the visceral, combat driven badass with a limited amount of emotions. Basically just a walking powerhouse with a sword or axe. The problem with this character other than the obvious is that character gets boring to read after a while. Look at the most recent God of War. Kratos is still the God killing guy he always has been but is developing more as a person with emotions and learning how to parent his son.
This makes Kratos a more rounded character and more interesting to play and learn the story of. How van a writer work this in taking a fresh book with new character and make them the male power fantasy and establish that they are developing as a character and person? They can make the character similar to Kratos and use flashbacks as a device to show the character’s troubled past. Or instead of flashbacks using town folklore or interactions with characters that bring up this power fantasy character’s past work as well. There are several tools but the emotional development can be the hard part here.
It could be the death of a loved one thatvwas a result of one of their actions or a new child that they don’t want to be like them because they see that being them isn’t the best thing that can happen. Or something terrible can happen to them as a result of something that they did. But, those are just my ideas. I would be very I retested to heat what you guys thought. Please let me know so we can discuss.
Recently I finished Far Cry 5 and to not give any spoilers I’ll just say that the ending I wanted did NOT happen. Instead I was left looking at the screen saying that it was horse shit and the most unsatisfying ending to a video game since I completed Halo 5. But, as I thought about it more I realized that the ending for the game was set up so that the player would remember it. The unsatisfying ending made it a more memorable experience and overall a better story.
An unsatisfying ending feels like a cop out at first. The knee jerk reactions are that they are setting up for a sequel or that the writers got lazy and just let the story end without resolving the conflict that incited the story. I have a different view though, as I stewed with the ending of the game I thought more about how I would remember it as a story and how those mechanics could be used to make my own stories more memorable to readers. Not all endings should be unsatisfying because then no one will read it because every reader will leave the book feeling blue balled by the lack of catharsis in the ending. They are a great thing in moderation and can be used expertly in the context of fantasy writing.
Fantasy, whether high, modern, or noir lends itself to great story telling and some great unsatisfying endings. Leading with a main character and then at the end of the book with their goals almost accomplished a supporting character swoops in, kills the main character, and completes the plan because it was his all along. Or your hero is about to slay the BBEG(Big Bad Evil Guy) but unexpectedly the BBEG pulls out some trump card and overpowers the hero leaving him either gravely wounded and unable to stop him or dead as the narrative for the BBEG continues to show him ruling over the world, realm, kingdom, or universe.
These ending moments will frustrate readers because they will come out of left field and leave them staring blankly at the page wondering what just happened and they will wonder if they wasted their time, but if done correctly then as they marinate with the ending they will start to remember it as one of the best stories they have read in their recent memory. I enjoyed the ending to Far Cry 5. Honestly, I did. After the initial frustration wore off. I will remember it as great story telling in the game even if it was a little bit railroading in the way the ending happened.
But, I am always curious as to what you guys think of unsatisfying endings. Do you like them after the frustration wear off or do you stay frustrated that you wasted your time reading a story that didn’t end the way you wanted it to. Please let me know and I will be happy to discuss either view point.
Chaotic Evil, an alignment most notably characterized by the Joker. But, that is a bit cliche in my eyes, the laughing maniac running around killing everything because they think it would be fun. There is a way to work with a “Chaotic Evil” character in writing and especially in fantasy.
A character can play the long game and appear to everyone around them that they are working for the greater good but in private they are working just for themselves or for something a bit more sinister like a demon or some evil god. All of the good things that they are doing could be for a very nefarious purpose. How can this be written though?
Think of the novel as more a game and work in the biggest picture possible. And, foreshadowing is going to be your friend. In a project I am working on my character does not know that what he is doing is evil. He is mostly doing what he does for the money and personal gain. That is one way to do it or the character can know exactly what they are doing, like Cersei Lannister in early Game of Thrones. This allows the character to be more manipulative than a puppet working for a dark shadowy master.
While I am working on the former my favorite to read and to play as a character. These characters are smart and clever and always know more than they let on in their interactions with other characters. But, my question to all of you: What is your favorite type of secretly evil character to write, read, or even play? I am very curious to know what other writers and readers think so please let me know.
So I want to take a break from fantasy again and talk about something a bit more personal. When I was younger there were a couple times that I was told a phrase that really shaped who I am now and who I was at the time. I think everyone has these phrases whether we think about them or not. It wasn’t until recently that I thought about them in this context that I truly recognized the impact they had on me.
The first one was from an old friend of my dad’s who also happened to be a former school principle of mine. If you live in a small town this happens more than you think. But it must have been around my birthday because of the phrase that came up. He inquired about my birthday and upon learning when it was looked at me and told me that people born in the month I was born in were meant to do great things. Looking back on this as an adult it was probably a way to make me feel good, and it did, but there was another impact on me. This phrase stuck with me and has pushed me to be a better person throughout my life and strive to do great things even if that means that it gave me a perfectionist streak and I slowly finish the things I want to do.
The second one came from a school friend of mine when were hanging out between years in college. We were discussing career paths and how he wanted to be a youth minister and pursue that as a career and what I wanted to do. At the time I wanted to be a famous musician and had strived to do this. As we talked more and more he turned to me and said, “I don’t think you’d ever be happy riding a desk for the rest of your life.” This, unbeknownst to me, would stick with me for the rest of my life, or at least for the next few years. Recently I have strived for that desk job. Romanticizing it and eventually finding out that it was not what I wanted. That can be seen in my Office Suffering Series. I have chased that stability and tried to find it but where I have felt most at home and done some of my best work, according to me so take that as you will, has been when I have been working on my own and now riding a desk for income. Yes, the desk job has more income and if I could find a job willing to let me write and have a desk I would gladly take it, but most of the jobs I have found have not been for anything creative they have been very strict in their guidelines and the management structure has been worse.
I say all of these things to ask a question: What phrases were you told when you were younger that really stuck with you? Which ones molded you into the person you are today without you really ever knowing it or putting too much thought into it. Please let me know so I know I’m not the only one with these moments in their life.
Anxiety is something that a lot of people have in the world and it seems like that number goes up every single day. The world is a stressful place to be, but the question today is how do you use that anxiety in characters and make it work?
If you have an anxiety disorder the answer is pretty simple: write what you know. If you don’t have one the answer gets a tad bit more muddled, how can you write something that you have no experience with it and make sure that it is done properly. Looking at anxiety can affect people in several different ways: panic attacks, body pain, fatigue, and restlessness. Or if you are really unlucky you could have to deal with all of these at the same time. Personally I cycle through these symptoms depending on how anxious I am or how stressful the situation I am anxious about is. How as an author can you put these into your characters? How can you make these things sensations that can’t be explained away? Make it read like a fight scene or battle between your character and this unseen opponent that hits them mentally. Or a tightness in their chest making breathing hard and like someone is standing on it. Or the feeling of tendrils of pain extending from one point in their body and fading away as it get further into the core of their physicality.
Another way to write this especially for train of thought or dialogue is to have them repeat certain phrases over and over and over. The big thing about anxiety is dwelling and overthinking the simplest of situations. That leads to the physical symptoms and the panic attacks.
Why would you do this? To make your characters more relatable and because no one makes it out of life without scars. Especially not the heroes of a fantasy tale. That battle hardened veteran that slaughtered thousands of men with his sword single handed? Yea, he is pretty messed up in the head after words. No one can leave a climate of always being on the look-out and be fine in normal society and going back into that way of life would be hard after acclimating to normality. It puts that simple element of real life into your work that makes the characters more fun to read and allows the reader to place themselves into the story and live as that character that they want to be.
Anxiety while a terrible thing in real life is a great and super helpful tool when writing. I found that writing my personal experiences with anxiety down has been a big relief for me and made a character, that when I created him I was not going to like him, one of my favorite characters because I related with the situation that he was going through on a personal level.
I hoped this helped and if you personally have anxiety please go see a therapist and find some coping mechanisms they can be a great help. And, please let me know if you do anything different when writing anxious characters that I missed.
Just wanted to put out a quick update. Because of a couple things happening in my late all at once I have not been able to write as much as I would have hoped to. There are still 2 poems to come from the Office Suffering Series and my book should be done soon(I say that knowing full well I’ll procrastinate).
I didn’t want anyone to think I ended the series on a sour note or that I had stopped writing my book for one reason or the other. Have a great day and if you care to let me know if anything gets in your way when you write. Other than your own self criticisms.
As a writer and a lifelong creator there have definitely been things that I feel make me personally more creative, or rather get me out of my head. This can be a multitude of things from a generous pour of whisky(yes I spell it the European way) or epic metal songs and honestly anything in between.
I have the tendency to get too much into my own head and over think how something might sound or read. This is a terrible thing to do because it halts my progress. The music, usually folk metal or neo-classical, gets me out of my head and makes me write and let’s me get more into the story. The whisky does the same as long as it’s done responsibly. (I refuse to be responsible for anyone reading this getting black-out drunk and writing.) I usually just take one drink let it sit to loosen a bit and then go. It does the same thing of getting me out of my head but with less background noise.
I am very curious does anyone else use alcohol or music to get the juices going? Or do you do something entirely different like watching D&D streams, playing an RPG, or something way off like taking a hike? I want to know to open myself up to these and just see how everyone else does it as well.
It seems pretty clear at least to me that focusing on the politics of daily life and the way the governments work is far more popular in the current fantasy mainstream. Which seems odd, at least to me, that the journey type of fantasy novel with a grand quest like the Lord of the Rings or every Dungeons And Dragons campaign would fall out to the popular eye.
My theory as to why this happened was the rise of fantasy in television. Most notably Game of Thrones. The show gave the books a huge boost in popularity making them the pinnacle of fantasy for our time. GoT is a great show and a great series of books but I think the sword and sorcery or epic quest fantasy novels are a little underappreciated currently. That may change as time goes.
I say that because from my experience with fantasy noir novels and the current tabletop renaissance going on I think more people will be looking for something closer to the stories that they are sharing with their friends at the table. Or, I am completely wrong and projecting my own wants onto the entire fantasy community. But, I am curious as a reader and writer which do you prefer. The politics of normal life or the epic quest?
As a student of history and a fantasy author this question has plagued me with every sentence that I have written down. Can I make my world fantastic and still make it believable in a sense of historical and real world function?
I believe so but it requires being present while writing. It doesn’t require a medicine degree to know that a sword slash across a body is close to fatal or that if one person is fighting an army they probably are not going to survive that fight. It has been historically done but only in desperate times as a last ditch effort to help other people out. Not as a method of combat.
I have to remind myself of tactics a lot since my main characters are quite outnumbered even with an army. So they use terrain and surprise to their advantage. It’s a bit of a challenge because I play barbarian in D&D mostly so I enjoy the run in and smash type of fighting, but I’ve been good so far with making it more methodical and thought out so that it doesn’t seem that my characters are magically surviving because of plot armor instead of combat prowess and intelligence.
I am curious as to how other authors do this. I know George R R Martin does similar things (with the exception of Battle of the Bastards). Do you as an author keep conflicts more one on one? Or do you go with the amazingly powerful lead character? Please tell me as I am very curious.