I'm going to go see Divergent. In case you're out of the loop, Divergent is a Young Adult dystopian movie set in future Chicago. The movie is based on Veronica Roth's Divergent series.
You might be wondering: what is dystopian? Dystopian can be anything that takes place post-apocalyptic, after world war three, life after an alien invasion, or life after an asteroid hit or a mega-volcanic eruption causing the world to fall into nuclear winter. Basically, dystopian fiction revolves around drastic, futuristic changes. Normal life as we know it has ceased to exist, and almost always, a corrupt leadership has taken over. The plot line often follows a hero or heroine rising up and opposing oppression. Similar to Divergent is The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.
My personal opinion of why dystopian-type books and movies succeed is that our curiosity of the unknown future, and what it might be like, gets the better of us. The "unknown" in general is mesmerizing. For example, books about near-death experiences sell really well. People are curious. Dystopian fiction also pulls us in, creating curiosity about human nature and its ability to thrive in difficult situations. I think we all want to believe we wouldn't quietly succumb to an authoritarian rule, that we would stand up for what's right, just, and fair.
Getting back to the topic, Divergent is clearly one of these types of dystopian stories. I'm curious to see the movie for a different reason though. I want to see how the story translates onto the big screen. Since I haven't read the book, I won't know what was left out or which side-characters didn't make it into the screenplay. If the movie makes sense without me needing to have prior knowledge of the storyline, then the movie guys will have done a great job.
The bigger reason I'm going to watch the movie is because I hope to someday see my own books up on the big screen. How cool would that be? I bet Veronica Roth is on cloud nine! Seeing her hard work, blood, sweat, and tears portrayed with real people, actors and actresses, must feel amazing. From an author's standpoint, I know a little bit of what she's feeling. Maybe someday I'll know exactly what she's feeling.
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Creating characters for fantasy books or fantasy story lines can be a bit of a challenge for an author. Readers like to see development, a refining process, or sometimes a declining process in a character. It's what helps the reader relate to and care about what happens to the character on their journey through your plot line.
In the rough, a diamond may not look like anything special, but deep within lies potential. In the right hands the beauty and magnificence can be revealed through a series of cuts and polishes. Alternately, a series of bad choices, beginning with mapping out the diamond within, to uneven cuts and inferior polishing, can lead to nothing more than a cheap, low-value diamond.
All fiction characters, including those found in fantasy books, have the potential to be brilliant, extraordinary individuals with many personality facets. Whether they are the good guys or the bad, their personality, character, and motivation can be carefully carved out and polished by the author. Books that leave a reader thinking and pondering over the characters, in my mind, have accomplished this task.
So what are some fantasy books and/or characters that stand out in your mind as either cheap diamonds or polished works of art? I'd love to hear. Please attribute other authors when referring to their work. Use the full title and who wrote it. Ex: Divergent by Veronica Roth