April 6th, 2011


In Which We Get Objective

Or, Indiana Monkey And The Temple Of Plot

Objects have power.  Indiana Jones knows this.  Lara Croft knows this.  Harry Potter does, too.  It is this power that makes them sacred.  Not power in the sense of magical (although this can certainly be the case), but in the sense certain objects can create action, especially if you attach them to characters who then carry them through story.  They become symbols.

The Weekend Novelist offers a couple of excellent examples of this.  Take Cinderella.  Her glass slippers show up in Plot Point 1 as a part of her character wardrobe, and her transformation, from her Fairy Godmother.  They carry her through being wooed by her prince at the ball until the Midpoint when Everything Changes and she loses one.  The prince carries the slipper all over the land until he arrives at Cinderella's house in Plot Point 2 and the sisters try on the slipper in turn.  The slippers serve their purpose in the climax when they bring Cinderella and her prince together and they transform Cinderella once again in the climax, this time for good.

For a more contemporary example, let's take Harry Potter.  Where would Harry be without his wand, which carries him through crisis after crisis in seven books until he defeats the Dark Lord with it? His broomstick is another object, as is Hedwig.  Where would Indiana Jones be without his trademark whip and hat?  Lara Croft her dual pistols and the sacred objects she hunts?

My objective for the first part of this week of ROW80 was to come up with a list of objects and attach them to characters.  I already had one for my protagonist FK, which was the ship he needs to make a new life.  It symbolizes freedom and redemption for him, and will follow him throughout the story.  Here are some others I came up with, for other characters:

The Helper: His object is his winning smile.  No, seriously.  A sacred object doesn't necessarily have to be physical, and his smile personifies his story line.  As a former Imperial Assassin his smile conceals, charms, insinuates. It is the smile of a snake-and only he knows if he's poisonous or not.

Helper/Romantic Interest: Lute--as a minstrel her instrument is her partner.  It has influence over her audience, and music has a magic all its own. It is her livelihood, her closest companion in her travels. It will serve her well in FK's hometown.  Her other object is fire--it symbolizes her moods, her passion; it is the element she embodies.

Antagonist: Also fire, but the fire of the weapon that destroys the kingdom, city by city, town by town, resource by resource.  It is anger and revenge and greed.  It rages across the land, destroying all in its path, and it's path leads to FK's hometown.

Antagonist's Agent: Poison.  It is love and power to her, and she wields it much like the minstrel does her lute.  It creates havoc that gives her control.

My objective for the rest of the week is to take each of these objects and place them along my Aristotle's Incline at strategic points in my storyline.