I have been watching the new series “Once Upon A Time,” and the depth of the characters amazes me each week. In the advanced creative writing courses I took, it was always discussed that characters are never all bad or all good (except in some young children’s books). This series turns everything you knew about fairy tales on its head. Snow White married her Prince, had a baby, sent baby away to live in the “real” world, fairy tale land is cursed, the inhabitants live in the “real” world with no memories, Snow White’s daughter has a child, gives child up for adoption, comes to cursed fairy tale land to help child and unknown mother, and does the Evil Queen control everything?
Red Riding Hood IS the Wolf.
The latest story line that has really taken me in is the turning of the audience to be sympathetic to the “evil” Rumpelstiltskin. You want to hate him, you think that he cannot love, but you are wrong. He lost his wife because he was a coward, and his son believed that he was a coward because he would not fight. In an evil turn of events, he is granted great power and uses it to show his son that he is not a coward. This plot backfires when his son sees him as an evil wizard. In the midst of all his evilness, one person grows to love him and he sets her free only to lose her. So now do you feel sorry for him? Or do you see his evil ways as a result of all that has befallen him? Now add in the fact that his “real” world persona is just as complex.
Each week you see deeper and deeper into what makes these characters and how their varying stories are entwined. I usually love a good fantasy story, but I tune in week to week to find out what is behind the actions and emotions of each character and how are they going to change.
The next time you are plotting out a story, try looking at how your character changes from the beginning of the story to the end. What caused them to change? What made them the way they were when the story started?