Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Art of Elevating Minor Characters - Arrow

I recently abandoned my in depth study of all things job related and sat down to enjoy something I'd been putting off for a long time - watching Arrow. Specifically, the first seven episodes (I would've watched more, but sleep called my name and I answered.) I gotta hand it to CW - they really know how to make a superhero show exciting, regardless of the elevation of that character in the DC comic universe. I think they've risen to the challenge of putting DC on the front lines of entertainment akin to Marvel's dominance in the movie realm. As I watched the show, I realized a few key points to take away from their successful formula.

The Flawed Hero - Oliver Queen is flawed. He starts out as a flawed brat and undergoes a physical and mental transformation to become a flawed hero. He's pretty good at putting bad guys away, but everything else around him is literally spinning into a whirlwind of crap. He doesn't have all the answers. His solutions aren't perfect, but they're the best he can come up with given his circumstances.

Romantic Entanglements Should Always Be Screwed Up - The CW really went out of their way to through Oliver Queen into an exquisite mess. The lost love, the cheated girlfriend, the broken heart, the best friend dating your girl behind your back (okay, while you were presumed dead), and then, unlucky in love, falling for a dangerous criminal who has a vigilante heart just like his? Wow! Nicely crafted!

Level Up the Intrigue and Twists - Family betrayals, secret assassinations, Russian mob ties, and all things in between, around, above and below! It's a delicate balance and intricate dance to include all the elements and keep everything straight. I'd be lying if I didn't say I was looking forward to catching up.

So, why do I think all these things are so great? Obviously, the viewing public likes them or Arrow wouldn't be in it's fourth season. But that's not near the key reason why I'm so entertained. No, it is because, unwittingly, I've woven the same elements in The Chronicles of Reztap! Let's break it down, shall we?

The Flawed Hero - it would be hard for anyone to argue the Tar Reztap doesn't start out seriously flawed. He does change throughout the series, of course, but he still manages to screw things up even with the best of intentions. It wouldn't be funny if bad things didn't keep happening, but I can't just put him in constant peril without some reward for the reader. Tar and his crew of misfits all change and progress, some for better, some for worse.

Romantic Entanglements Should Always Be Screwed Up - Sure, you see Tar going through some confusing times with Princess Slurk in The Adventures of Reztap, and there is more messed up fun in the prequel Mishaps and Mayhem. While it isn't out yet, and I'm sorry for the delay, you'll find things get messy for other members of the Namreg crew.

Level Up the Intrigue and Twists - I'm going to break this to you as gently as possible - there are things woven throughout the entire book series that you will miss out on if you don't read every book from prequel to finish. I have six books planned (not including the all important prequel) and I'm in this for the long haul. There are loose ends, dangling plot lines and other narrative devices meant to keep the reader coming back for more. I'm not totally a doof, though. Each book has its own beginning, middle and end, but there are elements in every book that tie-in to future events. There are really no wasted characters or events, although I'll admit there will likely be no future impact on the story lines as a result of a night with a bottle of Lobotomy Slammer.

In short, I enjoy when writers take the same approach to storytelling that I do. I can only hope I get a fraction of the readers in comparison to the watchers of Arrow. It's a good show and I'm looking forward to catching up a little more on Netflix.


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