Zhangjiajie National Park Forest
Narrow sandstone pillars, some over 650 feet high, fill the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Hunan Province, China. The park is one of several within the Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Cable cars and an incredible elevator attached to the side of a giant pillar are available to see the incredible sites. The surreal alien landscape and scenery looks like the set from the movie Avatar. This is not a coincidence.
According to park officials, photographs from Zhangjiajie inspired the floating Hallelujah Mountains seen in the film. One of the park’s quartz-sandstone pillars, the 3,540 foot Southern Sky Column (third picture), has been officially renamed “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain.”
Character development thing.
Plot points on this chart to represent how important these different aspects of a character’s life are to them. By doing that you can help determine what type of things your character deems to be most meaningful in their life, especially compared to others aspects.
A brief explanation of each aspect is below in case you’re confused about the meaning of any.
- Strength: to have physical power and strength
- Sex: to have sexual gratification and satisfaction
- Possessions: to have objects and tangible things
- Health: to have physical health and stability
- Appearance: to have a good external appearance
- Love: to love and be loved, romantically or otherwise
- Appreciation: to be appreciated by others
- Attention: to be paid attention to
- Security: to feel secure emotionally
- Approval: to be approved by others
- Respect: to be respected
- Friendship: to have friends
- Intimacy: to be intimate with a partner or partners
- Belongingness: to feel needed and belonged
- Family: to be on good terms with/have a family
- Inner peace: to be content with themselves
- Purpose: to feel as though they are fulfilling a purpose
- Self-sufficiency: to feel that they are able to provide for themselves
- Growth: to feel as though they are growing and changing
- Acceptance: to be able to accept themselves without consequence
This is an absolutely amazing exercise and I certainly recommend doing it.
An attractive, decorator-white on the walls set off several fine old pieces of furniture. An inviting fire burned in a small fireplace. In that cozy, very comfortable place the fire was throwing many-colored reflections off the leaded glass windows and sending pleasant odors of pine smoke into the small dining room. Colorful flowers showed in an attached greenhouse contrasting against the snow outside.”
The writer here is making some effort to engage the reader … the passage fails on its specifics, however. “Attractive, decorator-white,” “cozy, very comfortable space,” “pleasant odors,” “colorful flowers” — these are what is termed adjectival, the writer urging the reader to feel something rather than causing him to feel it based on the precision of the language, the specificity of the detail, and the implications. In Noam Chomsky’s “Transformational Grammar,” a “hairy” word is one that is rich in implications — evocative, specific, but with larger connotations. Thus “Ferrari” is a hairier word than “car,” and “villa” than “house.” Not many hairs are showing here.
Renegade Chapter 16 Update
Story Synopsis: Fudou Akio in between Shin Teikoku and Inazuma Japan. Also featuring Takahashi Shinobu and Fudou’s former posse member, now friend Cap.
Chapter 16 Synopsis: Sakuma and Genda are looking at Fudou for the first time since Shin Teikoku. They are not happy.
How to make a scary villain
Nobody hides under their blankets when they see Snidely Whiplash or Jesse and James. Here are a few tips on how to make an effective villain that makes your readers sleep with a nightlight.
- Give them an unusual, unsympathetic reason to hurt or kill.
If Lord Skulsanstuf kills for revenge, because of bigotry, or to prove how cool he is, he’s not as powerful. Readers hear about people in real life killing for those reasons all the time.
Instead, make him kill because he wants beautiful people never to have the experience of growing old and ugly. Make him kill because he thinks the only way to stay pure is to drink a glass of blood every morning. Then do a chapter from his perspective and show how delighted he is with his way of thinking. Instant chills.
- Allow them to kill fully developed characters.
Nobody cares that Lady Lotsoblood burned an entire village to the ground and tortured all the children to death if nobody in that village is important enough in your story to have a name. Look at all your characters and figure out which ones are the most expendable. Then let Lotsoblood work her magic.
- Go in detail about the strange deeds they commit.
I would never want to be stabbed, but I especially don’t want a knife to run down the side of my cheek, lifting parts of my skin so my assailant can brutally rip them off later. That sounds a lot worse because I can imagine it better in my head.
If you want a character to stick in readers’ heads for a long time after they finish your story, having a fleshed-out personality helps, but it’s not good enough. There’s an enormous difference between A) a character who is shy, tries to be brave around her boyfriend, wants to break free from society’s constrictions but is too lazy to do so, and can’t figure out how to care about strangers and B) the same character, only this time, she always wears a bright pink scarf and loves the study of insects.
Harry Potter has a scar, Katniss has a pin, John Egbert has a green ghost shirt, and Ash Ketchum and Finn the Human both have special hats. An item of clothing or extremely striking physical feature will stay in a reader’s mind far more easily than “defined cheekbones” or “large, blue eyes.” When you give physical description, try to give an unusual visual marker at least to your main character. Not necessarily to set them apart from the other characters or mark them as special within the story, but to set them apart from the hundreds of people your reader sees every day on their way to work or school.
Likes, dislikes, and obsessions make your characters pop off the page like no other character traits can. Sure, your protagonist is arrogant, but wouldn’t your story be more interesting if he were arrogant and liked pizza more than almost anything else? It doesn’t even have to be a plot point. Hobbies and interests make characters more human. Sadly, I’ve read many stories where the characters were only bundles of traits who only formed opinions about other characters and never on which TV shows deserved to be cancelled. Such characters are not fun to read about and probably need to be fleshed out more.