Good evening! It's wonderful to be typing again. The holiday season is really busy this year, so it's nice just to sit down and write a blog post. I'm continuing my series about writing steampunk fiction. Characters are an essential part of any fictional works. An author needs heroes, villains, supporting characters, and more. Steampunk has a wide variety of characters, but I noticed several stylized elements in many steampunk novels. I'm going to walk you through the process and this should be an interesting post.
Let's start with a protagonist. After you figure out a basic storyline, nothing can happen without a lead character. Your protagonist will shape large portions of the plot, so it's important to craft the character early on. Many steampunk works feature strong female leads. I assume it's part of the punk statement to challenge gender biases. However, an author doesn't have to choose a female protagonist. A male hero is perfectly fine too. I think it's helpful to figure out his or her physiology right away. Is your protagonist tall or short? Are you searching for someone athletic? Keep fine details in mind like skin tone, hair style, facial features, body structure, etc. These elements might sound obsessive, but it could matter. Your lead character's physiology will affect their capabilities and how they interact with other individuals. It also helps with consistency. Naturally, your main character needs a personality. This part can be tricky. It's important for a protagonist to be likeable or nobody will want to finish reading your story. However, you don't want someone who seems perfect either. Think about it. What if your protagonist is like a courageous superhero with nerves of steel, a heart made of gold, no personal issues, a completely clean background, the most popular person in town, and perfect in every way? Ironically, it already sounds boring. A reader can't relate to a protagonist who seems like a cardboard cut out. Even though steampunk is a fictional genre, the characters should seem very human. I'm not saying your character has to be a human being. He or she could be a vampire, werewolf, or something else, but the humanized qualities must be clear. Memorable heroes have a combination of character flaws and admirable traits. A balance helps the reader understand the main character's complexities. I try to make my own characters believably human and relatable. They have many values, some personality flaws, annoyances and quirks, careers, hobbies, family, bills to pay, and everything else we handle in real life. Some writers prefer an antihero or someone who needs redemption. This can be fine, but make sure the protagonist has enough decent qualities to seem likeable. Don't forget to make the main character awesome! Steampunk is interesting and fun, so take advantage of it. Maybe your hero comes from a military background and is very skilled with firearms. Perhaps your lead character is a brilliant scientist who's making huge advancements in technology. Pick something you find cool and flesh it out.
Every hero needs an enemy. Steampunk tales need a memorable villain. Great stories usually have an antagonist who has an agenda. They're often strategic, evil, corrupt, and sometimes mentally unstable. Most steampunk villains are very intelligent and appear menacing enough to defeat the protagonist. Your main villain should have a well crafted plan. Maybe the antagonist is a corrupt politician who's rising to power. The main villain could also be a terrorist who wants to make a political or cultural statement. You could use the cliche of world domination because it seems to work fine for steampunk. Just make sure the plan is believable and not confusing. If you're really good at creating villains, making a wolf in sheep's clothing migth be a good idea. Sometimes, a reader doesn't know the antagonist's identity until late in the story. Evil is subjective in a way. Some villains see themselves as heroes or messianic figures who are trying to make improvements to society. Their goals might be done through unjust and grotesque ways, but they don't feel like villains. Unfortunately, it's easy for the antagonist to become a caricature. That happens in my stories to a certain extent, but I want my books to be humorous. If you want a really serious tone and plot, the main villain has to be intimidating. Think about your favorite movie villain. You might be able to draw influences from the character. Like any other character, the antagonist needs to have a distinct personality, strengths, and weaknesses. Again, it makes him or her seem like a human being. Yes, you can have a female antagonist. Good villains aren't exclusively men. I think male villains are more common in steampunk fiction, but it can be fun to change it up.
A writer also needs a supporting cast. Your main character needs allies. The same is true for your antagonist. This part seems to be difficult for budding steampunk authors. When I read both published works and casual stories, it seems like a lot of supporting characters are randomly tossed in the story to fill up space. They don't necessarily serve a significant purpose and it seems a bit awkward. We can fix that problem. Think about what makes your supporting characters special. Does your hero need a love interest who can lead him or her to redemption and a happy ending? What about a best friend who gives emotional support to the protagonist during dark times? Your main villain probably needs a righthand man who carries out specific orders. Likewise, your antagonist might be rubbing shoulders with characters who can help him or her become a powerful figure in society. Supporting characters need context and a purpose. That's the part you should keep in mind.
I should also mention something else about characters. In steampunk fiction and other literary genres, many characters don't have an identity. It's not unusual to have characters who only appear in one chapter or simply stay in the background. If you're featuring something like a war, soldiers will be very important. Obviously, you can't give names and identities to 500 soldiers who are fighting with each other. Most steampunk works also take place in cities or metropolises. A city will naturally be busy with people, but they're only in the background. You don't have to give them a lot of attention. Background characters are often overlooked, but they matter in a way. They still serve a purpose, so you're still not throwing them in the mix randomly. Background characters are more like an emphasis or colorful element that brings some life into a written work. My antagonists always have minions or followers. I give very few of them a distinct identity because they're simply cannon fodder who are going to have elaborate death scenes. My books have a huge emphasis on action and adventure. Fight scenes are very dramatic, violent, and over the top in an entertaining way. These characters are minor, but they make a big impact in my stories.
Does anyone want to add anything to this post? Leave a comment because it might be helpful to me and other steampunk writers. That concludes my writing tips about steampunk characters. Even though I'll be busy preparing for Christmas, you'll still get to read another blog post next week. I hope you guys have good luck with the holiday shopping. Peace out!
I hope you guys had a good week. Today, I'm posting another video game review. This one might not fly for some of the gamers. I played Resident Evil 6 and thoroughly enjoyed it. Some of you are probably shocked because this game had pretty bad reviews. Here's my train of thought. I appreciate games when they're fun. Resident Evil 6 might not fit the mold of its predecessors, but it has amazing entertainment value. I'm going to break down the best and worst elements of this game. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the read.
This installment has a ton of variety. I would say it has everything except the kitchen sink. You'll have the chance to play as multiple characters. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses. The player uses several types of weapons, primarily long range firearms. Do you want to blow up a bunch of zombies with a bazooka? This is your game! It's not really a bazooka, but there are firearms that can dish out humungous damage. This installment gives the player opportunities to drive vehicles. It includes helicopters, motorcycles, Hummers, snowmobiles, and more. This game also has a massive variety of enemies. Yes, it includes zombies. How could they forget the zombies? Some of the zombies are stronger, faster, and scarier than the regular ones. You'll encounter countless mutations. It brings a biopunk element to the gameplay. Many of the creatures are human and animal hybrids and that part is kind of different for the Resident Evil franchise. Some of the mutations are pretty easy to kill and others are more challenging. Either way, they're very cool. I thought several of the playable characters were fun and surprisingly humanized. Usually, video game characters are stoic superheroes with nerves of steel. These characters had more flaws and seemed somewhat relatable. You'll also explore many locations and that part is interesting. Depending on the character and the story's progress, you could wind up in a zombie infested city, a dark and snowy mountain, the rivers of China, etc. Like I said, this game has a lot of variety. Many gamers complained about the villains, but I actually liked the main antagonists. They're not traditional Resident Evil villains, but it was refreshing to see something different. I don't want to give away too many spoilers, but the game has both a male and female villain. There's a lot of tension between the two villains and their personalities are polar opposites. However, both of them are crazy and bent on world domination. It works perfectly fine for a Resident Evil story.
I should talk more about the gameplay. The controls are different than most third person shooter games, but still easy to learn. I thought the gameplay was pretty smooth, especially for the shooting elements. This game gives the player a lot of opportunities for melee attacks and it's very entertaining. Naturally, melee attacks won't be effective against certain enemies. Just use common sense. Ammunition isn't very hard to find and periodically, you'll run across health items. Yes, I consider that a good thing. Some players think a game is much better if everything is sparse. I'm not sure if that improves a game's quality. It just makes the gameplay hard and frustrating. Anyway, the player's ability to aim is pretty good. Head shots are usually accurate. Sometimes, you can take random items and use them against enemies. I encountered a zombie with dynamite strapped to its chest. I grabbed a stick of dynamite and stuffed it down the zombie's throat with awesome results. Boss battles are really entertaining. Some of them are quite challenging, but there's always a way to win. You might have to be a little bit creative. Graphically, some of the bosses are impressive. Run a Google search on Resident Evil 6 bosses. You're going to see some really unusual and freaky pictures.
You'll always have a partner, even on single player mode. This game has a big emphasis on teamwork. I actually liked that part. You and a partner will work together to fight enemies, solve puzzles, advance to the next area, collect items, and help each other survive. When you're in a difficult situation, the other player might come to the rescue and that's pretty cool. Likewise, you'll be rewarded for helping them in return.
What are the biggest weaknesses for Resident Evil 6? The plot is a good start. It's very simple and kind of lame. Basically, the game is just another zombie apocalypse that was catapulted by mad scientists. Nothing special. In fact, many elements about the plot are similar to Resident Evil 2 and 3. It's kind of like the outbreak in Racoon City. I wish there was more explanation about the monsters. This game has a lot of cool and elaborate mutations, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of context. Resident Evil 6 is infested with creatures that have human and animal qualities, but I don't know why.
I'll give the hecklers some credit. This game isn't very scary. Supposedly, Resident Evil 6 is a survival horror game. It's actually more like an action game with monsters and zombies running amok everywhere. The entertainment value made me laugh a lot. That's not exactly a good thing. I shouldn't be laughing at a horror game. It's also lacking an open world environment. However, the linear story worked fine for the purposes of this game.
My complaints about Resident Evil 6 are pretty minimal. It's really hard to be negative about a game that was a lot of fun to play. So, here's my conclusion. Give it a chance. The price is very cheap on the Xbox One and Playstation 4. It was only $19.99 when I bought it. That's a steal. If you like past paced games with a lot of action, creatures, and unexpected twists, this game is probably a good choice. Die hard Resident Evil fans will probably feel disappointed. This game strayed very far from the franchise's roots and lacked the quintessential horror elements.
That's all for now. Leave a comment if you have any thoughts or helpful gameplay information about Resident Evil 6. Here's my message to the gamers. Have fun and keep exploring new games. The market has a ton of options. Enjoy the rest of your week and stay tuned for another blog post.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.