Friday, April 6, 2012

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#132) -- Tinkering with Old Characters, part two

Yesterday you said, "The secondary elements can change as needed as long 
as the core of the character remains the same." What did you 
mean by that? What is the core, and what are secondary?

The core is who the character is, plain and simple. For example, Conan is a heroic warrior prone to fight rather than diplomacy. John Carter is a soldier. Captain America bleeds red, white and blue as a super soldier.

The secondary elements are things like time period, costumes, sidekicks, etc. (Unless they have direct bearing on the core of the character.) Tonto shouldn't be a wise-cracking comedian, for example, nor should Kato be the leader of the Green Hornet.

For an example, let's look at the recent Land of the Lost film. When the core dynamic of the group changed from a father trying to protect his children, the story lost it's footing and became a trapped by dinosaurs and mutant lizards generic story... then a comedy. Even with the cast and with humor, the movie could have added the kids to play it true to the core of the characters, and fans would have flocked to see it.

Does that make sense? I hope so. Because I'm not sure else how to explain it.