Hey peoples, whattup!
Quickie post this week as I am in the middle of one of the best birthday weekends ever. (Nah seriously June 25 should be a national holiday) As always, I want to chat with you about the almighty pen, no mater which medium you use to express yourself. Today, I want to talk to you about one of the hardest things to actually pull off: The Ensemble Piece.
In the beginning there was the protagonist. He/She/It was your hero. The reader would follow their adventures and everything was gravy. This gave rise to the antagonist, or the villain. Complicating life for your hero, strong villains make your novels/screenplays/short stories that much better. But what about multiple heroes? What about multiple villains? What about multiple characters with goals of varying degrees on the protagonist/antagonist scale?
One of my favorite shows of all time was HBO’s “Entourage”, even though the reason why changed from season to season. In it’s first two seasons, the show was a side-splitting satirical look about the Hollywood Machine told in such a dry way you questioned whether or not it was real. As the seasons progressed, the show started to dip in to “dramedy” (or even melodrama) territory. When it was over, it’s eighth season finale wasn’t the strongest, but by that point I had watched every single episode. Why?
The strength of the characters. Not only onto themselves, but the chemistry the characters had with each other. The five main guys of the show had their own flaws, demons, and personality quirks and they interacted with other people in the shared universe without sacrificing their character integrity. “Entourage” was a rare show you could watch and say “I’m Vinny Chase. You’re Ari….. and that guy over there? Drama. Total Drama.”
Sidenote: I do a decent Drama impression. Ask me about it sometime.
As an author, I think it easier to create a world around a single character. This tends to be problematic in detective fiction, where the sole cop hero is an implausible genius living in a world of idiots. This is known as “overwriting”, and trust me I’ll get to it one day. Creating a world with true three dimensional people without them feeling like sidekicks is another skill altogether. Sure “Entourage” was based around Vinny Chase, but you could have easily have episodes featuring Turtle (especially if they didn’t end the “Lim-Hos” storyline so abruptly), or featured an entire show around Ari Gold.
I hear that there’s a female version of this called “Sex And The City”. But as a man, I say it’s probably a myth.
As always keep writing. As for me, I’m in editing mode. Trying to push for the “Book4″ project to completed and on your eBook shelves in time for Christmas. Because everyone knows, EPUB files make a great gift.