Character Development: Looking at Guardians of the Galaxy

Yesterday, Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I went and (finally) saw The Guardians of the Galaxy. We were discussing it later (of course), and agreed that we like other Marvel movies better. I really like all the Avengers movies. But Guardians tied that in nicely (that is one of my favorite things about Marvel—everything somehow connects!). Anyhoo, I realized that my favorite part of those movies is watching characters grow and develop.

[NOTE: If you haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet and want to, stop reading. Otherwise, continue.]

Guardians_of_the_GalaxyEach of the five characters who breaks out of prison, Rocket, Groot, Gamora, Peter, and Drax, grow at some point during the movie.

Groot is the “muscle” of the Rocket-Groot partnership. It’s just he and Rocket. Until they find friends. He begins to grow when he is speaking with Rocket, not about to let their friends just be taken. It is evident when Groot grows his branches around his friends to protect them and utters the words, “We are Groot.” Ugh, my heart freaked out about that. It was so touching! But I knew he’d grow back.

Drax was like one of those always-angry bullies, willing to do whatever it took to “get even.” Drax grew when he told Groot that he had been letting his anger control him—he realized it. Yes, he’d lost. They all had. And it made him more empathetic to the others who had lost much, also.

Rocket was like one of those bullies who you’re not exactly sure that he’s a bully, but he pulls all sorts of stuff on others and is super smart. He DID return to help his friends, which was a big step for him (even though out of everyone, he was the most hesitant). Rocket grew when he was sitting in the midst of Groot’s sticks. Groot had been his only friend. But when Drax comes and pets him, Rocket relaxes. He has lost, but he still has friends!

At the very beginning, we meet Peter Quill as a boy, right until we see him be abducted by a UFO. He protects himself because he doesn’t want to get hurt. He didn’t reach for his mother’s hand, because it might hurt, and he hears her die instead of watching it. He doesn’t stay close to anyone, not even the “family” of men who had abducted him and basically raised him. But he is willing to help Nova, especially when he sees Gamora’s heart to save it. He DOES want to help. We see Quill’s growing toward the end when he holds the stone and reaches for Gamora’s hand, too. At the very end, he opens the package from his mother that he’d been hanging onto for 26 years, because he can finally move on.

These five, who had escaped prison, save Nova. Their hearts have turned around. The five, who hated each other, are now good friends who stand up for each other.

Watching characters grow is one of my favorite parts of a story. This Saturday (today), on this day that I have nine hours to myself (because Dr. Coyote is in the library), I have been working on writing and fixing spots in my story that I’ve been looking at for too long. Maybe it’s time to take a new approach. How are my characters growing? Can I see them all grow? Or do they stay the same?

What do you look for to know if a character is strong or weak? What else could I look at besides character growth? What do you like to see in characters?

Anna E. Meyer

Writing: To God Be the Glory

I spent most of last semester learning about having to advocate for music education in all that I do.  Transferring that thought, I have justified and reasoned why I like to write so much (for myself, mostly).  So why do I like to write?  (This is me thinking out loud almost more than “advocating”.)writing for the glory of God

General: I think and speak better through writing, most of the time.  It has become my life’s mission to display and present and proclaim God all the time in many different ways to many different people.  One of the ways I can do this is through writing.

Fiction: I like to write fiction because I am allowed to present Christ in a new way.  I love analogies, and in writing fiction, I am allowed to bring some of the analogies to life.  Fiction is a powerful medium, and I’ve been given the passion and the gift to use it.  I have stories to tell: stories of God’s love, redemption and forgiveness.  I have my own story to tell, and I have evidences of God’s power and righteousness to share.

Letters: I don’t write as many letters as I would like to, but I have been writing letters to more people in the last semester.  My own letter writing has evolved into something in which I can encourage the letter-receiver with scripture and with Christ-centered chatter.  I’ve discovered that my two most prominent love languages are words of affirmation and quality time.  It takes time to write a letter, and I think about the person I’m writing to all while I write it.  As I said, in a letter, I am given the opportunity to encourage and affirm the receiver of the letter.  Snail-mail letter writing is a lost art, but I believe in it still!

Blog: Sometimes, I feel like I have a message to share.  Nothing new or profound, just what God has been teaching me recently or something that’s on my mind.  I love making spiritual analogies, and there are a lot of them here on my blog.  I share my testimony, I write about my struggles, and I write about school.  But in all this, I can see God working through it.  He is King of everything, not just what directly talks about him.

I worship God through writing.  Be it a letter, an off-topic blog post, or fiction completely immersed with God, I praise him through it.  Writing is one of the gifts I have received from the Lord, so all I can do now is use it for his glory.  I am trusting him completely, as in the next year I will try to get some things published.  To God be all the glory.

Anna E. Olson, unpublished writer, trusting in Him always.

“Real Person” and Her Mishaps

Once upon a time there was a fictional character who was really cool.  Even though this character was only in the book series she starred in, all who read the stories fell in love and wanted to be her best friend (she was so cool!).

Then one day, one of the readers was like, “I think I’m gonna go into this story and hang out with this really cool character!”  And so, somehow, she did.  RP somehow got into the story and became a part of the action.  But RP?  She could leave the book whenever she wanted to join the real world again.

The author of the book had no idea where this new character, RP, was coming from.  The setting of the story was not even an actual place.  It was a fantasy-fiction series, for heaven’s sake!  Most of the characters had a super-power of some sort.  Apparently, this was RP’s—coming into the story and baffling everyone!

The readers delighted in the new character, but soon became jealous of RP and how similar she was to the most of them.  At school in the real world, RP had quickly become the most popular, for she knew what she would be doing before she did it.  She also kind of bragged about it.  In the story, too, RP’s popularity grew, for none of the other characters knew what would happen.

But pretty soon, RP became the bad guy.  Disrupting relationships?  Destroying the utopia that had been the setting of the book?  It is said that things get worse before they get better.  Even at school in the real world, RP had begun to make enemies.

After being confused at how her stories had come to involve RP, the author realized RP’s true identity.  So, the author grounded her daughter for her interference and hacking into her mother’s work computer.  And though the fictional characters had RP banned forever, the author started a new series just for RP and let her write whatever she wanted.  Creative writing shouldn’t be limited to just the published few, but all who enjoy it!

A Creative Writer Who Smiles A Lot, Anna =)^2 (Smiles Squared)