Hi everyone! I’m Ms Geraldine, a teacher and curriculum writer at Lil’ but Mighty. As someone who grew up with a love for creative writing, I hope to make it less daunting for my students through fun free-writing exercises. Welcome to my very first post titled “Write for Fun!: My Favourite Character Should Have…”, in which I will be sharing one of my favourite ways to get my creative juices flowing!
So, how do you “Write for Fun?” Every single one of us has a favourite character that we know deeply and love dearly.
It could be when we are in the midst of a tear-jerking anime, a long-running television show, a blockbuster film, an addictive video game, or a riveting storybook that we find ourselves drawn to certain characters, though we may not always know why. Perhaps we find an affinity for these characters, because they face similar struggles as us. Or maybe we admire and aspire to be these characters, especially when they showcase the confidence, intelligence, or discipline we wish we had. Whatever the reason, all of us wish for our favourite characters to achieve the happiest and most fulfilling of endings.
However, despite how much we may love and care for them, none of us play a part in deciding what happens to our favourite characters. After all, none of us are writers at Netflix or game developers at MiHoYo (creators of Genshin Impact)… YET. So, while we still remain passive consumers of the stories involving our favourite characters, I am sure all of us have asked ourselves variations of the following questions before:
Today, instead of wallowing in dissatisfaction, disdain, and disappointment, let’s turn these feelings into a fun writing exercise, through which we can do justice to our favourite characters.
After all, that’s how some well-known books and films came about. Their creators decided to adapt existing fictional material and make it their own. Take The Enola Holmes Mysteries or Sherlock Sam for example. Both drew from the same source material, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic mysteries featuring the great detective Sherlock Holmes.
Recently adapted into a Netflix film, The Enola Holmes Mysteries was penned by American author Nancy Springer who decided to introduce a feminist heroine as Sherlock’s younger sister. In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories, no such sister exists and it would have been much harder for young female readers to find a character to relate to.
As for Sherlock Sam, Singapore’s greatest kid detective, creator AJ Low introduces a local spin to the British detective, reimagining him as a cheeky boy solving mysteries in Singapore and across the world. What better way to make the detective more appealing to younger audiences?
“How could this happen to my character? Why did they make my character do such a foolish thing? Why didn’t my character do this instead?”
Just like AJ Low and Nancy Springer, you too can introduce your own spin to your favourite character. Just ask yourself the following questions to plan a storyline featuring your own favourite character! It would also be good to grab a spare piece of paper you have lying around so that you can scribble down your answers. (To help, I’ll also answer the questions along with you on how you too, can “Write for Fun” — you can find my answers in the images below each question.)
1. Who is your favourite character and where do they come from?
- Write down your favourite character’s name in the centre of your piece of paper.
- Underneath your character’s name, pen down the original storybook, anime, television show, video game, or movie that they come from.
- After that, draw a circle around what you have written down so far.
2. What do you love, appreciate, or admire about your favourite character?
- Extending a branch from the circle in the middle of your paper, reflect on the specific things you like about your character.
- Do you love them because they are humorous? Do you appreciate their compassionate and empathetic heart? Do you admire their unwavering bravery in the face of all danger?
- Writing down what you love about your character will remind you how to characterise them when you start on your story later.
3. What was the particular moment that you wish did NOT happen to your character?
- Extending a branch from the circle in the middle of your paper, scribble down what happened to your character that you really disliked, or were disappointed with.
- Were you disappointed with how one of your character’s friendships was represented? Were you frustrated with how cowardly or weak your character was portrayed during a combat scene? Were you angry with how your character spoke to someone else during a particular conversation?
- Whatever the particular moment you disliked, try to describe it as vividly as possible!
4. How would you have written this particular moment differently? What exactly would you change from the original? Or, what would you add to the original moment to improve it?
- With more branches, add on ideas to the disappointing moment you just scribbled down.
- Keep what you love about your character in mind as you brainstorm ideas on how to rewrite this moment, as it is important to keep your character’s portrayal as accurate as possible.
- You don’t want to plan unrealistic ideas which make your character unrecognisable!
Hooray! Now that you are armed with a well-developed plan, you can begin rewriting your chosen moment.
If you are curious, an excerpt of the rewrite based on the above mind-map can be found below, and the particular moment I am rewriting comes from Avengers: Infinity War just as Bruce Banner (Hulk) informs Tony Stark (Iron Man) of the threat of Thanos.
There you have it: my step-by-step guide on how to introduce your own spin to your favourite character, especially if you are upset with how they behaved in the game, television show, or movie that they came from. I hope that this exercise has showed you that you can have a lot of fun writing about the characters you love, so don’t limit yourself to just reading about these characters in a book or watching them on a screen!
Leave a comment sharing who your favourite character is or which game/television show/movie moment you’d like to rewrite! If you feel up to it, why not type out your rewritten moment in the comments too? Let’s try to write for fun today!
(And yes, for those of you wondering, I am a big Marvel fan. Talk to me about it if you’re my student!)