A World of Characters


“Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.”
― J. D. Salinger

When it comes to movies, comic books, TV shows, and some of the greatest novels out there, there is always something in common that makes them great. What makes them so great are the characters. Batman, Superman, the joker, Atticus Finch, Harry Potter all these characters have made a lasting impact in the hearts and minds of many.

But what makes them so special? What makes them so interesting and worth routing or in some cases Booing at?

Character design and character development are one of the most crucial elements of a good story and memorable characters. These characters embody something that makes the readers feel that this character could be something be them a menace to society or someone that could be their best friend. But what makes a good character?

           According to Tess Barry, an undergrad creative writing teacher at Carlow University “realism” is what makes them so iconic. By being realistic, these characters become something tangible something that you could see on the nightly news or maybe someone you’ve seen walking down the street. Characters like Atticus Finch, for example, display the quality characteristics of what a good father and man embody.

He understands the risk of representing a controversial case and knows that he puts his life and his kid’s life in danger but uses it to teach and show his kids what is right and wrong and shows the town also.

Tess also talked about the Author J.D. Salinger and who he commented on one of his famous characters Holden Caulfield saying “I thought he was a goddamn Phony”

This also branches into the world of comic books. Take for instance the villain the Joker. At first, the joker was just a crazed clown with no backstory and just wanted to defeat Batman.

Many people liked the joker; he was a classic villain; however, there was not much to like about him other than a crazy clown. Now the Joker not only has a backstory, but his backstory is considered one of the best and features many aspects that make it so realistic it’s scary. The joker monologues about one bad day that made him snap.

You can spend five minutes on the news and see just how many people experience these bad days situation’s and lose control of themselves. Characters like the joker have gone through such a redesign to make them the iconic characters they are now.

(https://maphub.net/SBuccilli/map)

            Jeff Yan Dora comic book store owner mentions that the design in writing for comics books has always been a strange one. Jeff commented on how comic book legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby would get together to develop the dialogue and story of their comic book stories.

Sidebar

Avengers Endgame has made 1.2 billion dollars in its debut. This is from the culmination of over 22 years worth of character building and story arcs.

While many would notice associate comic books and superheroes to be an accurate medium for where good writing and character design comes from it is one of the best mediums. While comic books like Spider-man, Batman, and others deal with superheroes fighting for truth and justice, it is imperative that these characters have a strong background and design.

Many people can relate to the idea of a poor teenager who is picked on most of the times using newfound abilities to help people in need and defend the innocent. And just the opposite is true of the villains in these stories as some of the characters are pushed to the brink and are driven to their evil deeds. Many villains in comic books can be considered tragic characters whose background deals with past trauma or event that gives them no other alternative.

Despite all this one thing is certain and that is the characters that embody these traits and are the more popular ones are the more realistic ones. This is something that the makers of these comics believed and something that many writers also believe in.

Storefront for Phantom of the Atti

            Jessica Stroschien is a Psychology major at Carlow University and writes in her spare time. When asked about what makes characters likable she told about how many of the characters she like have a believable side to them. This allows the reader to project and also not be to lose in a world of make-believe. When asked what she disliked about a character Jessica went on to mention how she disliked characters who were weak-willed and just let change happened and not try to stand in its way. But what about these characters made them so dislikable was that it was unrealistic.

When faced with something life-changing many people resist or fight against this, however, the few characters that let this happen aggravate Jessica and make them an instantly unlikable character. When asked what type of character does Jessica write into her stories she talked about how the characters she used are often an average joe that doesn’t have much going for them.

     One of the main things about characters and character writing is that the reader can sometimes project themselves or someone else on too these characters. Without this, the characters aren’t real and are in a sense a fake. Some would say why does this matter in fiction but this is one of the most crucial parts. Fiction at its core is an escape from reality but at the same time is grounded in some semblance of realism as the reader needs to be able to associate some aspects of their lives into it.

Without this, The reader has no way of associating which leaves the world, and its characters. While fiction allows the reader to explore what if’s or see new worlds, certain aspects remain true. Realistic characters are one of these truths.

            Ultimately character design is up to the creator, and it is up to their minute of the story to set everything right and in motion. While this is key, it is important to see trends and know that the most iconic characters in the world of fiction have things in common. The common trait in these characters is realism in their design. Without this, the characters seem fake and can detract from the story.

Part of Interview with Tess Barry
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A Gateway to new worlds

“These are mostly misfits who have been marginalized in some way, either by society as a whole or on a more personal level”

– Michael Unsworth

If you’re a writer or someone that finds themselves to be creative, then you most likely have different outlets to find creative works. Many writers find that they read different works often to get more creative ideas and reference points for some of their works. Some artist finds inspiration in nature or by going to museums. Some people watch others and how they work and flow throughout their daily lives.

Maybe you watch movies or tv shows as well as read books. All of these are valid options, but there is one option that not many people consider.

           Video games often get a bad rap for the unfounded idea that they cause violence in the people that play them. Many people when they think of Video Games immediately think of games where you run around and try to shoot as many people as possible.

While this may be the case for some games, many games incorporate award-winning story, visuals, music, and other types of art that are proudly displayed throughout their game. These games go on to sell millions upon millions of copies and are more successful then multi-million-dollar movies. But what made them so successful? And why should a writer care about what a video game does?

            One thing video game brings is the idea of creativity. Many of the most successful games out there allow the player to become immersed in the story and world and explore it for themselves. These offer the player the chance to escape from reality much like a book and let them make their own stories.

Many people think of games that include role-playing like the classic board game dungeons and dragons where they make their character and venture forth into this new world. Games also cover a wide variety of different timelines and genres, and many are based on books and sometimes become more popular than their book counterpart.

Creative Ideas

            So Why should a writer or artist consider trying a video game? What video games bring to the table is the idea of a new and unexplored world with either characters, images, or music to allow the player a sense of childhood wonder. Along with these video games allow for new ideas or character types to appear. Maybe as a writer, you were struggling to find a new character for your story or maybe a personality.

That character might already exist, and you could see how they act or are portrayed through the game. Many games have unique art styles and inspire many people to create works inspired off of these games. This allows for many different perspectives or ideas to get creative ideas flowing.

            Even then the game worlds themselves allow for the person to create their own stories. They can project their themselves or the characters themselves to appear into the game and help to show off who that character is. Some games allow for the creation of your character which in my case allowed me to create a character I had in mind and see what they would look like. This is something I find as a writer to be an extremely useful tool when writing as I get to see what my character would look like and how I see them.

Don’t listen to the critics

            Just like movies and TV shows, there are reviews and critics for video games as well. Much like a movie that you enjoy or a tv show that some consider being a classic it is important to remember that personal opinion and that if you enjoy a certain game and many consider to be bad, then their opinion doesn’t matter. Use this as a moment to enjoy the story or what makes the game great just like a movie or tv show. The creative process is a strange thing, and many different ideas can stem from video games and should be used as such.

Paper Vs. Plastic

It’s sort of asking the foxes how best to guard the henhouse

McSherry, New York Times

World of Print

In today’s world, it is important to remember that everything read online is being tailored to the online reader. Articles, news feeds, and websites are all made with the idea of convincing and speed of the online world. People today get bored easily and move on to the next thing within a few moments from opening the article. With this in mind, how does an online article compare to a print article?

(Robert Kraft, Unsplash.com)

The world of print is still alive and well and more people than ever have still been getting their news through the paper. How does this compare to the vast network of the web and how does a story in print adapt to the fast pace world of the web and is the content lost along the way. Is the need for speed causing us to lose our focus and forgo the real details and truths behind the printed word and journalism today?

 The article in question deals with new regulations on A.I sensors and different policies for the internet. This article is was written by the New York Times. This news organization must ensure that the story and truth both transfer over. If these do not transfer over, then the purpose of the article is lost, and it is simply just a waste of space.

            One of the first things to be noticed with a printed story is that it is very dense and packed with words leaving very little for white space. There is also only one photo; this is because it will serve as a centerpiece and tone-setter for the story. The paper is filled with quotes from different interviews and people related or experts on the story. The story also flows overtimes connecting back and forth in different integral ways.

 (Tom Brenner/The New York Times)

            The content of the story is still there in the online version. Many of the paragraphs are still the same with the exact words, commas, and periods except that these paragraphs have been broken up and spaced to allow for easy reading. One of the major aspects to be noticed is that there are links to separate articles and sources that show data on the topic in question. The links have replaced some of the quotes instead of taking the user straight to the source and allowing for branching out and researching the topic.

            There are pros and cons to online journalism, and there are many pros and cons to paper. These stem from the desire to get information as fast as possible with as little effort as possible. In today’s world, people read fast and want to move on to the next big thing. With this in mind, the newspaper allows the reader to get the full picture with all the ideas present. While the Online source also provides this, it almost becomes the reader’s responsibility to look up the facts and delve deeper into the story. All and all it is quite clear that print media is still just as viable as online if not more.

Dangerous Health Watch

More than 30 million Americans, or about 1 in 10, have diabetes — and 90% to 95% of them have Type 2 diabetes

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

The unattended dangers of ‘health watch.’

            Stories throughout the media are all about getting information out as fast as possible to as many people as possible. Because of this, there is a lot of misinformation in the media many of them are found in information that could be considered crucial to many. This comes in the form of “health news.”

 Going on any news site or exploring social media sites can lead to misinformation. Along with spreading the misinformation, many news outlets neglect to go back and correct or give updates about these studies or alerts. This type of storytelling relies on the reader to have to search up the facts for themselves and see if there is indeed a reason to be worried or change a style of their life as opposed to the news outlet taking the time to make sure that the alert is delivered properly.

The danger of sensationalism

            This type of storytelling plays into the idea of sensationalism and can be dangerous. Many studies link drinking coffee to an increase in high blood pressure or ways to curb diabetes. In a sense, this study would be considered vital information. However, these studies are not accredited or been peer-reviewed which means that they could have a basis, false information, or information that has not been confirmed through other experiments.

            While there are health studies that need to be reported when they are conducted such as spreading the truth that vaccines do not cause autism, the stories of this caliber are seldom in the news and only pop up for a short while.

(numstocker, Vaccine vial)

One of the reasons for this is a public appeal. What is going to catch the attention of viewers and online readers in the fastest amount of time while being just factual enough that there will not be any backlash for any false information? This is where these stories of sensationalism come from as they mainly deal with ways to stay fit, control diabetes, and eat “healthy” foods to ensure that there are no future health problems.

The Diabetes problem

Diabetes is a major health crisis in America, so it would make sense that when scientific studies are done that they should be reported.

 However, the news media is constantly bombarding us with news stories about diabetes and the different ways people can fight it or what new thing is causing risk to increase.

Providing someone with the wrong information is just as dangerous as not telling them at all. What if these articles have an unintended consequence for certain individuals. Health articles and studies do not have to adhere to certain rules to be published which is a problem. Media needs to look at the bigger picture and realize that sensationalism is leading to a vast spread of misinformation that can and will be very dangerous. For instance, studies claiming there is a link between vaccines and autism. This has led to people not vaccinating and a rise in diseases that should have been easily avoided. At the same time the media is putting out studies that show there is no link.

The threat of misinformation is too high now to be ignored by so many different sources to get revenue or views for a story.

Role of Storytelling

“bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do — to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street,” Stephen King

Zhang, Maggie “22 lessons from Stephen King on how to be a great writer” The Independent Thursday 26, October 2017

Storytelling today serves the same purpose it has had for years. This purpose is to guide, teach, show, and demonstrate what people should do and what happens when decisions are made. For centuries storytelling was done orally as the idea of writing down these stories was not yet invented. Once the printed word was made storytelling went from being just oral to being found in people’s home and enjoyed by everyone regardless of status. For a long time, oral storytelling began to disappear, and printed books, novels, poems, and other forms began to take over despite a few outlier societies that continued the oral tradition. Then came the surge of digital storytelling. With digital storytelling stories were accessible more then they have ever been. Because of this the stories told had to be a catered to an audience that glances and judges wither or not to continue in a mere few seconds. However, despite this oral storytelling is almost facing a resurgence as the need for convincing and timekeeping has led to audio books which allow someone to both listen and work on something else.

            Storytelling continues to rise to the changes in society and will continue to do so. Without storytelling, society does not have the basis for values or behaviors that come with storytelling and cannot function. Society will always need storytelling to educate and share ideas and culture. Without storytelling, society has no identity, and this is truer now with the rise of digital media then it has ever been. Digital media allows everyone with a computer or smart device has an outlet to express their opinions and feel validated. While this is a good thing this can and has led to many issues with digital media. These are issues of the truth as many have abused the ability to create false information as a way to spread harmful and false ideas and beliefs without any repercussions. This falsehood of storytelling is one of the reasons that writers like myself need to practice honesty and truthful storytelling

            My role as a storyteller is many. One of the reasons I write is because I provide an escape. This escape is for anyone that feels that the real world of the news and current events is too much and need to escape to a world free of these issues. However, while my stories serve as an escape, I also must ensure that what I write is both realistic and honest as I can not spread a false narrative. This can be done in many ways, for instance when writing about the bad guy in my story I should include that not everything they do is evil as this is not realistic. It is my job to educate and show the reader what is true in our society but also allow them an outlet to escape from reality.

About Me

savion-1

“Who knows you might even read one of my stories in the future.”

Fun Facts:

  • Archery Lover
  • Piano and drummer
  • History buff

Intro

My name is Savion Buccilli. I’ve lived my entire life here in Pittsburgh, more specifically Penn Hills. My family and I like to travel and never have an issue with hopping in the car and driving around to see what’s out there. Since I was about three years old, I’ve had a love for video games, animals, and Writing. As a child, I refused to watch shows with real people in them, save a few because I always thought they were boring to look at.

Video Games

Video games were the perfect outlet for me. I’ve been playing games since I was three and I won’t be slowing down. I could make my own stories using the game that was in front of me. I thought of them as interactive books where I controlled where the story went and got to see it pan out. Combine this with my love of writing, and it led me down a strange path of future college degrees that would eventually lead to where I am now.

Carlow and Writing

At Carlow University I learned that I truly have a passion for writing and that someday I might be able to make a living out of it. While it took a little bit of time and a few changes in majors I found that writing fiction was something that I was good at and truly enjoyed. With this new-found energy, I hope to put it to work and create some truly fantastic stories.

Animals

I’ve always had a love for animals. Ever since I was little, my family has owned cats and dogs, and that continues to this day. My pets are my family and their treated like it. I’ve always felt a strong connection to animals and still make time for them if I see any. I even would dress up as Saint Francis of Assisi for Halloween. Combine all of this with the values and lessons my parents bestowed I have led a happy life which has allowed me to spread that joy with others be it through writing or gaming.