As a writer, I adore characters. So not only do I love to read, I also love to watch tv. Because characters–they’re everywhere! One show that has swiftly become a favorite of mine is Once Upon a Time (OUAT). Why do I love it? I have a list for that.
Strong women. Not even kidding. The main character, the heroine, is an intriguing and focused woman, still trying to figure out who she is but dedicated to those she loves. The main villain(ess) is also a strong female who is wholeheartedly dedicated to her goals. And there are a handful of other female characters who have their own strengths. Yes, there are some incredible male characters too. But what I love is that the female characters don’t simply exist to be rescued by the males or to support the males as they go on adventures. The women of OUAT are the story.
Complex characters. The heroine is not squeaky clean. She has made her own bad choices, doubted herself, tangled with some dark stuff. The villainess shows moments of light, situations where she makes the right choice, sacrifices herself or her goals. And she has actually become increasingly helpful, or “good,” over the seasons. I love that kind of honesty, characters who aren’t purely one thing or another. They’re messy and flawed and constantly learning. Like real humans.
Double duty identities. As you can probably imagine, OUAT finds its roots in fairy tales. But most characters have more than one fairy tale identity. For instance, Rumplestiltskin is also the crocodile from Peter Pan, as well as Belle’s Beast. Red Riding Hood is also the wolf. (Wrap your head around that one.) I love how the writers refuse to conform to the usual fairy tale limitations. And somehow they keep all the storylines straight.
Real world consistency. When these fairy tale characters are first transported into the real world, they are given real world identities and have no memory of their previous lives. But who they are, at their core, doesn’t change. Snow White is a teacher. Jiminy Cricket is a therapist. The Huntsman is the sheriff (although that changes later). A change in circumstances and setting doesn’t suddenly change who they are.
Difficult choices. The characters don’t have easy lives. (And thank goodness, because otherwise I’d get bored.) They’re constantly presented with difficult choices and situations, ones that don’t have an obvious answer. And they struggle. Sometimes they make the wrong choice. Sometimes they hesitate for too long. Sometimes they follow terrible advice. And I love it. Because haven’t we all done stupid things at some point?
There you have it. Five reasons I watch Once Upon a Time.
And if that weren’t enough, I’m apparently like the main character. No, really. See?
When an INFP is the heroine, I kind of have to watch.
For me, great stories are all about the characters–their personalities, their humanity, how who they are impacts their choices. When a writer forces a character to act in a way that contradicts their personalities simply to advance a concept or a plot piece, I stop reading or watching. Because if you compromise your characters, twist them around so they aren’t genuine any more, what’s the point? You’ve ceased to be a storyteller. Now you’re just playing with toys.
Be a storyteller, my writer friends. Honor your characters.
And if you need inspiration, watch Once Upon a Time. 😉
Psst. Bridget. You get to hear from one of my sisters today. Here’s what Jaime Wright wants to say to you:
Hey. So. Here’s what’s on my mind. Have you written to your husband lately?
Ok, I know, I know. You don’t know him yet, you say. I get that. But get this: he’s probably out there. Somewhere. And it’s time you start writing him.
Well, the idea is simple–if he’s on your mind, you’re less likely to make a stupid mistake. Really. I mean, picture this: you’re on a date when you’re sixteen and you’re excited about your new boyfriend. He moves in for the kiss and maybe more. You’re thrilled, you’re terrified, you’re okay with it, you’re not. Everything you’ve ever been taught collides with everything you ever wanted and then BAM!! HE appears. Not literally, but in your mind. The man you’re going to marry someday.
You see the choices you make now will affect your relationship with him later. Picture it like a bag of dirty laundry you dump all over the floor of your honeymoon room. Every t-shirt has a name on it. Your first kiss. Your first – um – yeah.
Sort of changes your perspective, doesn’t it? ‘Cause that would be mortifying. Yet it happens in so many new marriages and for some reason, society seems to be ok with it. But why isn’t it cheating? It is. Stealing actually. From the man—from your man. And you’re the thief.
So write him a letter. Get to know him now. Tell him what you’re hoping for. Explain what you’re waiting for. Sure, waiting isn’t popular. In this culture, it almost doesn’t make sense. I mean, who buys a pair of jeans without trying them on first? But your future husband isn’t a pair of jeans. And he’ll cherish new. If he’s a stand up stellar dude, he’ll accept used, forgive it even, but used definitely isn’t first best.
He’s worth it. You’re worth it. Be independent. Stand up to society. Realize the value in the treasure that is you. Tell him today that you’re anxious to meet him. And, that next day, see if he doesn’t pop into your mind, with a tip of his head, a concerned look on his face, and a hopeful breath that you’ll remember … he’s your future.
Professional coffee drinker, Jaime Wright, resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing historical romance with a distinct emphasis on suspense. Her day job finds Jaime directing an HR Office and developing her employees and their training programs. She’s wife to a rock climbing youth pastor, mom to a coffee-drinking little girl and a bottle-drinking baby boy, and completes her persona by being an admitted Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Blogspot junkie. Jaime is a member of ACFW, enjoys mentorship from a best-selling author, and has the best critique partners EVER! (yes, that’s an exclamation point)
In her “down time”, Jaime reads voraciously, socializes incessantly, drinks coffee addictively, and overuses “-ly” words excessively.
What’s Dear Bridget all about? It’s a series on my blog composed of letters to a hypothetical teen girl named Bridget. Why Bridget? It means strong. And it represents the current generation of young women. These letters are my attempt to break through the chaos and the crap that’s flying at today’s young woman in order to offer advice and encouragement, from me and other incredible women who remember what it was like to be in her shoes.If you’re a teen girl and you’ve got a question or issue you’d like us to address, let me know. Just click on the contact button (that round envelope icon at the top of the sidebar) and send me your thoughts. If you’re an awesome adult woman who remembers those teen years clearly and would like to write to Bridget, feel free to contact me and tell me about yourself.