“Who You Are” Stories

Once I wrote that in superhero stories ‘what you do’ isn’t important, but ‘who you are’ stories are. The notion that when presented with a bomb in a school, every single superhero was going to try and stop it, but the question of what happened should be presented in terms of showing something of the character of that superhero. Did they rush? Did they flag? Did they try to absorb the bomb’s explosion with their body? Did they do that, and survive? Was the challenge finding the bomb, or was it in an elaborate disassembling scene? Was it dealing with super-heightened PTSD from Scarecrow Serum and the time they were trapped in a school as a child?

But never ever doubt that yes indeed: The hero is going to stop the bomb.

If the central character can be described as ‘going to a location, being powerful, leaving’ then that’s all there is to them and I get bored. That’s because altercations and interactions should be opportunities for the character to show me something of themselves, to deliver the dialogue in their way, to give me some feeling of connection to or understanding of what it is like being them, in these heightened situations. Merely being powerful isn’t what makes any individual character cool, it’s how you learn about who they are that does. And then, when you do that, make the person you’re showing me an interesting person worth empathising with on some level.

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