Aggression yields Protagonism

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While we are often off-put by people with overly aggressive natures, there is no denying that these people typically control the room, platform or story they are in.

We saw this just last night (9/29/20) in the very unusual presidential debate. Trump came out swinging, badgering Biden, interrupting the moderator and generally asserting his dominance in the room. Whatever you think of the politics involved, whatever your expectations of decorum in a debate, and whether your mind was changed on any particular 'talking' point, I would have to say that Trump owned the room.

He pushed his narrative forward by being verbally aggressive.

I have been sort of reluctantly watching season 2 of The Boys on Amazon. It's hard for me to resist Superhero fiction made with any level of quality, and even when I know 'grey' characters aren't ever going to turn it around, there's a part of me that still watches in hope. Beyond that I still enjoy studying the craft of screenwriting and narrative.

Anyhow, one thing that I've noticed is that despite a shifting focus between several characters - Hughie, Frenchie, The Deep, Starlight, Homelander, Butcher - only a few come across as satisfying protagonists. I find myself far more interested in Homelander, Stormfront (even though she's not getting any tight POV) and to a lesser extent, Butcher.

Guess what these characters have in common? Aggression. One old adage holds that the more aggressive party will usually win the fight. For our purposes, said party will drive the plot (and strike the audience as more intriguing).

Hughie's back to being a pushover most of the time, The Deep's in an existential crisis, Starlight is trapped and mostly reactive, and Frenchie's just simping full time.

Homelander and Stormfront (and again, to a lesser extent Butcher) are actively seeking their goals, and doing so aggressively. The other stories are mostly filler for me, making this pair the primary protag and antag respectively in my eyes.

So both of these were negatively-oriented examples of protagonistic aggression, but the principles apply to all characters. Aggression doesn't always have to be verbal or physical.

One can aggressively court a love interest, or pursue a scientific breakthrough, or stand up for what's right in court. You could simply call it being proactive, but I'd argue that shifting from 'merely' proactive to fully aggressive ups the energy of a situation.

Not to toot my own horn, but I think that I succeeded in this myself with my current line up of heroes. All are motivated by a hatred of evil. Pierce from Hero's Metal is further energized by his adrenaline addiction. Jon is desperate to find atonement. Jack has a fierce dedication to the Godly aspect of Justice. All of their passions help me to show them pursuing their goals quite aggressively, so that they are never stuck in a reactive state. 

This motion creates a wake that supporting characters can ride in or pull tricks off of - they can be the ones to react. And all of it together really helps to keep the conflict in view and the narrative in motion.

Thus, when I write, read, or watch, I will continue to seek aggressive (remember that this doesn't necessarily mean violent) protagonists. I'm done with passives and characters who have to learn to 'come out of their shell', at least for a little while. 

This was all sort of off the cuff, so let me know what you think and help me refine my doctrine of protagonistic agression!

God bless.

State of the Multiverse

Hello there, dear blog visitor or regular reader!

I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who's bought, put one of my books on the tbr pile, read, and reviewed any one of my works. Just knowing that the stories are out there doing some kind of work does my writer's heart good.

Thank you!

For those who are curious, here is where the Multiverse stands right now:

RawJack has moved the most copies, with Coming to Power in second place. Hero's Metal #1: How Black the Sky brings up the rear, which I'd expect given the seemingly niche heavy metal aesthetic. I may consider altering the branding of it to focus more on sword and sorcery (so as not to scare people off), though I fear that will change my artistic outlook. We'll see.

I had been hoping that I would be able to see more quickly which of the three series warranted a sequel first, but that hasn't quite worked out.

On the note of new material, Hero's Metal #2: Out of the Deep is complete but for a few gaps that need to be filled in revision. This one has been a rough road, and various factors contributed to slow my progress and create insecurity. Whenever I read through, though, I appreciate what's grown out of HM#1 and I think that many of my fears have been allayed by the passage of the months. Currently I'm planning to polish the story up and release Out of the Deep next. Those who are interested in the strange world and heroic characters of Hero's Metal will enjoy it greatly I think.

The following release should be my first YA-style novel, working title of Rattan. This one is a mashup of Academy and Survival, with a female MC that I was quite pleased with. It takes place on yet another new planet, in a future fantasy setting that may or may not have some relation to RawJack's. I need one more revision pass on Rattan and a few final proofread, and it too will be ready to go. 

I hope to have both out before the end of the year.

Several weeks ago I derailed my other plans for the year entirely with a sudden and overpowering urge to write a Knightrider-Cyberpunk-GameLit rag that took off swiftly but was slowed when I had to go back to my day job. (Any other writers out there who enjoyed the lockdown?) I would like to have this one out within a week of the release of Cyberpunk 2077, but at this point it's a really fast turnaround and I'm not sure if I'll make it. The adventures of Gun and Octavia may have to wait a little longer, but hopefully I'll surprise us!

Heading into 2021 I plan to work up the first of my true space operas, dive deeper into Arc #2 (it's already started) and knock out the rest of Hero's Metal. As intel comes in concerning the reception of the other series, I may see fit to change the order of things. If you, dear reader, have any input I'd be glad to hear it!

I have far more concepts to work up than there is time for, and so I am always looking at the possible line ups to balance fun for you and myself with marketability. That said, if I could find my way to a sustainable crowdfunding structure/sales combo, I could go full time and just write everything! I would certainly enjoy that (it's the dream, isn't it?) and I'm sure that you would too. Stay tuned.

On the financial front I am still paying for covers out of pocket, but starting with Wave 3 I would like to consider at least small crowdfunds so I can up the art budget. 

And that's about it! 

Thanks for reading, comment here or hit me up on Twitter @HabitualLevity. I'll see you in the pages!

Get it while you can...

Here's the link to the Labor Day sale at large.

Mine are on SALE at Amazon!

$.99 Coming to Power              

$.99 How Black the Sky           

$FREE!   RawJack                                 

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