One Character’s Character

I received an inbox message on my Facebook author page today from a fellow author who has graciously offered to review Knightfall. I don’t know exactly where he is in the book, but he wanted to share an opinion:

“You have created some truly deplorable antagonists…well-played!”

My friend, if you only knew the depths I could delve into. I wrote Knightfall to be accessible to preteens, so what you read was a toned-down version of what I could have written. To tell the truth, even if the novel was for adults only, I still wouldn’t have gone into much more detail (or depravity). I didn’t feel it was necessary. I’m glad to hear the finished product still had the desired effect, for every author strives to have her/his readers feel something for her/his characters.

But this inbox message brought me back to another character I created, who was much more despised than any who appear in my novel. And by “despised” I mean the other fictional characters hated him. The readers absolutely adored him! I had many members of that particular society tell me how much they loved his rants and his fury-induced rampages. They would visit the site on a daily basis to see what he would come up with next.

I would like to share a bit about this character, if I may.

In my previous post, The First Step Is Actually The Easiest, I mentioned I was part of something called an “e-federation”. To be more specific, it was a wrestling e-federation called Supreme Championship Wrestling. I wish I could add a link here, but the site no longer exists. The federation has been defunct since December 2008. A former member had started to create a page on a Wikia site, for any who are interested.

Let me explain what was entailed in this online society. A member created an online persona in the form of a wrestler. One could add a manager or sidekick if one wished, but the wrestler was to be the main focus. The federation would broadcast an event every week, much like professional wrestling you see on television. In the SCW, we did something most other e-fed didn’t. As well as posting taunts and mini-segments on a message board all week long, we were required to submit a short story. The members were the ones to write how the matches progressed and who would come out on top. The combatants facing each other sent in their stories, which were judged by a panel. The submission that was deemed the most interesting, while furthering a storyline, would then be posted on the event. This happened week in and week out (for the most part, if real life was nice enough not to interfere).

Shan Toril

My main character (I had two during my tenure there, plus a manager, and I helped with another when his handler was too busy) was a brute named Shan Toril. He would run at the mouth and insult every other character in the federation. These rants, or “blargs” as another member dubbed them, were what everyone enjoyed. Shan would never call his opponents by name. He would always come up with a derogatory twist to their name and use that when referring to them. He was also prone to promise everyone he would shove his fist down their throats. He was an all around mean guy.

And I backed that up with brutal match submissions. Some of the things I came up with belonged in horror films, not professional wrestling. But the other members enjoyed these sadistic fantasies of mine. We all wish we could smack others who irritate us. We just don’t do it because we are either nice people, or we simply don’t want to spend any time in jail.

I also used this angry persona to vent my frustrations. Not literally, of course. I don’t believe in broadcasting all my woes on the World Wide Web. I simply took all my pent up aggression and let Shan Toril release it in a physically safe way. When I couldn’t swear at a fellow employee for not doing their job right and making my job that much harder, I sent Shan to slam a steel chair across another wrestler’s back. When I couldn’t slap a customer upside the head for being an idiot and wasting more of my time than was necessary, I let Shan insult his opponent between punches. When I was actually having a good day, I had Shan choke his opponent until he was about to pass out before slamming him to the mat (just because it was expected of him).

The only way to really appreciate what I mean is to actually read what one of these matches. I have found one and have posted it in the Writing section of this blog. Feel free to mosey on over and enjoy (or click here).

This federation was a huge help to me. I was part of it for many years, wrote many matches, interviews, segments and appearances. Authors who studied English during their post-secondary education no doubt had many assignments to hand in. My SCW submissions were my essays and exams.

I had to incorporate many differing characters in my submissions, staying true to the persona the other members had created. If you couldn’t portray your opponent as she/he was meant to be seen, your story was usually not picked. So I learned how to convey many personalities, which helps greatly when you have a cast of characters you need to make real for your readers.

Your writing also had to be interesting and action-packed, since they were fight scenes for the most part. Some of SCW’s members were atrocious writers, but they won their matches because they were a much better read than their opponent’s once you got past all the glaring errors.

You’ll also notice in the example I provided we used comedy once in awhile. It was usually done with the commentators, but there was a wrestler called Mad Cloon who was all about comedy–and inflicting pain. I enjoy interacting with him immensely.

I treasure my time spent with Supreme Championship Wrestling. Though it was meant as an entertainment venture, I used it to better myself as an author. I also appreciate the fact it permitted me to use it like a therapist, without charging me a cent!

Anybody else out there have an unconventional way they learned their craft?


~ by Marc Labelle on October 2, 2012.

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