Archive for June 8th, 2010

Jun 08 2010

Bullies as protagonists? A writing exercise

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

Bullies are a very common, almost ubiquitous obstacle for young protagonists.  More often than not, I feel they’re stale, one-dimensionally malicious characters with incredibly thin motivations. (Hell, even Galactus has a better reason for consuming the Earth, and he’s apparently a cosmic dust cloud now).

If you’d like to use a bully, one alternative I’ve never seen would be to do a bully as a protagonist. I’ve never seen that before. You may be thinking something like “of course, because such a character would be so unlikable, you dumb ****.” Granted, likability would be a challenge.  However, if Kickass’s tween serial killer and adult serial killers like Sylar or Dexter can be likable, and I think they are, a likable bully is feasible. (However, making the bully likable might be harder, because it’s harder to give a bully good intentions, whereas you can have the serial killer prey on bad guys). So our writing exercise today is to come up with as many possible story hooks for a bully protagonist, preferably one the audience likes even if they don’t want him to succeed as a bully.

Here’s what I came up with…

Continue Reading »

12 responses so far