Wordy Wednesday: Put the Ordinary in Extraordinary

Today was my first day at the office! I was only there for a few hours, so it was a pretty chill first day, but it was cool. And now I am exhausted.

And I don’t have much else to say, so let’s dive right into this week’s Wordy Wednesday, shall we?

This week we have a writing process post.

I’ve talked a lot about character development on the blog–primarily because it’s not something at which I’m naturally, well, at all decent. But I’m learning to make my characters more complex and realistic, and in the process I’ve learned a number of ways to go about doing that. Currently the one I’m looking at, in particular, is putting your character in “ordinary” situations.

This can range from thinking about what your character would purchase at the grocery store to what she would do in those last moments awake at night to how he would handle getting a cold. What would she do if she found twenty bucks on the street? What would he order at a fast food restaurant? (Which fast food restaurant would be his favorite? Would he even eat fast food?)

It’s these ordinary, everyday things that make up so many of the little pieces of our personalities. And they’re what make it so that we can relate to one another.

Like, thinking back on my interactions with friends in the past week or so, the main things we have discussed are:

a) Opinions on current events (gay marriage, the confederate flag, etc.)

b) Opinions on pop culture stuff (Jurassic World, Taylor Swift’s open letter to Apple, etc.)

c) Opinions on food (Chipotle, breakfast, etc.)

My friends lead diverse lives. Everyone’s off studying abroad or working somewhere unique or taking classes this summer. We have different backgrounds and live in different places and, ultimately, are insanely different people. But these ordinary things bring us together.

If your character has super powers, that’s awesome. That’s a good jumping off point for getting someone to pick up your book. But the reader can’t relate to that.

On the other hand, if your superhero protagonist has nasty allergies or acts like a five year old every time she sees a cute dog or is addicted to House Hunters? Those common, ordinary characteristics transform your character into someone I’d not only like to let save my city, but with whom I’d like to be friends.

Running with the superhero example, let’s think about superheroes: Superman is a really difficult hero to work with nowadays, because he’s too perfect. He doesn’t have those ordinary quirks and flaws that define humans. People have trouble relating to him, so he’s losing popularity.

Who is popular right now? The Avengers. What makes the Avengers so popular? Not their powers, but their banter and weaknesses and interactions with the every day. (Steve Rogers has trouble understanding twenty-first century technology. I understand that.)

The situations you put your characters through don’t necessarily need to go in your novel. You don’t even necessarily have to write them out. You just need to consider them. Let complexities develop organically. Think about how your extraordinary characters would go about doing the ordinary.

The point is that five thousand, million, billion little things go into making us who we are. Let your characters have those same kinds of complexities.

Maybe next time your hero is saving the world, he should crave shawarma.

Thanks for reading!

~Julia

NaNo Day 24: Movies I’m Excited to See

No NaNoing so far today, and I probably won’t work tonight, because I have a couple projects due tomorrow. But if all goes well, I’m hoping to write that last 2.5K tomorrow. (In which case I get to spend all of Thanksgiving break working on a term paper instead. Yayyy.)

This morning I got my stitches out, and while my dermatologist says the nerves in my arm won’t grow back for another six months to two years, I’m really glad we went through with the semi-emergency surgery, because the weird mole did turn out to be moderately dysplastic. (Read: pre-cancerous.) Which obviously isn’t a big deal (I end up with one basically every time I get a sunburn)–but, like, it COULD have been if we’d left it in. So take that as a warning, please. Get your skin checked every once in a while.

After that, my dad drove me back to school, and I’ve been floating between classes and group projects and trying not to get blown away by the fifty MPH gusts of wind ever since. And now I just got back from a screening for one of my film classes, which reminded me: There are a lot of movies coming out at the end of this year and during 2015 that look REALLY, REALLY GOOD. And I’m super excited for a lot of them.

So: Movies I’m Excited to See. November 2014 Edition.

This of course isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are the ones that came to mind that have trailers out.

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Birdman

Release Date: November 14, 2014 (Out Now)

What It’s About: An actor, once famous for portraying an iconic superhero, tries to reclaim some of his lost fame by acting in a Broadway show.

Why I’m Excited: Besides the plot itself (which sounds awesome), I’m excited to see this because they shot it so that nearly the entire film looks like one, super long take. Like whoa.

The Theory of Everything

Release Date: November 26, 2014

What It’s About: It’s the love story of Stephen Hawking and his first wife.

Why I’m Excited: Stephen Hawking fascinates me and this just looks really beautifully done. And I’ve heard great things about Eddie Redmayne in this.

Into the Woods

Release Date: December 25, 2014

What It’s About: All your favorite fairytales interwoven into a complex, twisted, dark, mess of wonderful.

Why I’m Excited: Into the Woods is far from my favorite musical, but it’s still a really cool story, the majority of the cast should be awesome, and it has some great music. (Also some music that will be stuck in your head forever and always, if the fact I sometimes still find myself singing it after playing Little Red in a production of Into the Woods Jr. my junior year of high school is any indication.)

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Release Date: December 19, 2014

What It’s About: The magic in the tablet that makes everything in the Museum of Natural History come to life at night is running out, so the museum gang journey to London to figure out how to save themselves.

Why I’m Excited: This movie was not at all necessary to make, but it looks hilarious and, ugh, Robin Williams. (Disclaimer: I got free passes to an advance screening, so I’m possibly biased.)

Annie

Release Date: December 19, 2014

What It’s About: It’s Annie, updated to modern day circumstances with modern day sounds.

Why I’m Excited: I’m a tiny bit nervous for updating the music and storyline of such a classic, but this looks WAY too adorable for that to keep me from being excited for it.

Pitch Perfect 2

Release Date: May 15, 2015

What It’s About: The college a cappella competition goes international.

Why I’m Excited: Do I even need to say?

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Release Date: May 1, 2015

What It’s About: I’m honestly not even sure, except that it involves the Avengers and a creepy robot dude singing about puppets. (According to imdb: “When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to The Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans…”)

Why I’m Excited: I love the Marvel universe and this looks like it will be sort of like Avengers meets Winter Soldier. Which I am really, really okay with.

Tomorrowland

Release Date: May 22, 2015

What It’s About: George Clooney and Random Teenage Girl share memories of a mysterious place called Tomorrowland and try to figure out what it is. (So basically what everyone’s going to be doing until the movie comes out.)

Why I’m Excited: It’s based on part of Disney World and the editing in this trailer is beautiful.

Inside Out

Release Date: June 19, 2015

What It’s About: It’s the story of a little girl whose family moves and all the emotional upheaval caused by that–from the perspective of the emotions.

Why I’m Excited: Pixar. The cast. Also it vaguely reminds me Osmosis Jones, which was a highly underrated film (or at least seemed like one when I was six).

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So those are some of the movies I’m excited to see over the course of the next half a year or so. What movies are you excited for? Any really awesome ones I missed?

Goal for today: 1,000.

Overall goal: 46,000.

Current word count: 47,537.

~Julia