Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Writing Secrets From Osama Bin Laden

Regardless of your political, religious or moral view of him, Osama Bin Laden has captivated the world for the last few days. Some would say for the last 10 years.

Whatever your opinion of the man himself, we can learn several vital writing secrets from the recent events surrounding his death. Consider how the following ideas may enhance and enlarge your fiction, wether you write short stories, plays or novels.

Writing Secrets

1) Osama is a riveting character. While many revile him as a murderous villian, others defend him as a charismatic leader with clear vision and organizational genious. Like any good character, he is loved, hated but never ignored. He has multiple dimensions. His actions and values created a violent rift between friends and enemies. He had power, wealth and a ruthless determination to survive.

-How can you create a character that has two opposing sides?
-What can your characters do or believe that would gain them both violent opposition and strong support?

2) Osama was a symbol. Through a potent blend of truth and lies, part myth and part man, Osama transcended the average criminal. He was the most hunted man on earth. To many, he became a symbol for violence, terrorism and even evil itself.

-What qualities might boost your bad guy(s) from average to unforgettable?
-What can your characters symbolize in your story? (Hate, fear, Evil, etc)
-Finish this sentence: "My character is the most...in the world." Most what? Murderous? Ingenious? Fanatical?

3) Osama had world scope. Far from being a small town villian, Osama affected the entire world. He was bigger than life, full of mystery. His personaliy, beliefs and actions crossed culture and time zones.

-How can you increase the "scope" of your villian/antagonist?
-How does your character affect a larger population, even the world?
-What can your character do to affect even more people?

Remember, unforgettable characters jump off the page and linger in the reader's mind long after the last page of the story. These characters crawl into our subconcious, their dark, slithering roots snatching our attention and fascination.

Put these three strategies to use in your stories and you will go a long way to creating your own memorable, larger-than-life villians.