And I said “okay”.
My other fiction blog is about a magic lady where magic is not something people know about or believe in generally. It’s also about wrestling because why wouldn’t those two things be together? I read a novel recently that was about wrestling and the guy that wrote it also runs a magic school and I thought “this guy is my audience!” so I tweeted him about my blog and he never responded. What good is social media anyway if people don’t do whatever I want with little effort on my part?
Anyway, because this story takes place in a “realistic” world, I really struggle with having the protagonist resolve anything. The basic story is that magic is becoming harder and harder to do because no one believes in it, so those that do know about it are turning to the dark side because it’s easier. So she’s going along doing whatever and then she finds out about some bad magic people doing bad shit and then I don’t know what the next thing in the story should be.
Because I’m an RPG gamer who likes writing instead of being a writer, my instinct is of course to have a violent confrontation – roll for initiative! But I mostly try to avoid that for two reasons. One, people in a “realistic” world are rarely so cavalier about murdering everyone, morals and emotions and all that. And two, the police and the law and such tend to frown on murder. And while it would be interesting to write about a magic serial killer who was killing for “good” and the moral quandaries and technical difficulties therein, that’s not what I want to do.
So I keep trying to think, what do people do when there’s some bad shit going down and there’s no legal authorities that can get in the mix? And the answer is that they probably don’t do anything, other than be sad about how they’re helpless. But that’s most people, and stories shouldn’t be about people that don’t do anything, they should be about people that are exceptional, or at least interesting in some way.
How do you solve problems without violence? Remember that episode of Futurama where Vice-Presidential Ranger Michelle Nichols exclaims “Killing him isn’t working and that’s all we good at!” I do. The obvious answer is have your protagonist be smart and do smart shit and out-smart them instead of resorting to violence. MacGyver style! The problem with that is I’m dumb. How can a dumb person write a smart character?
I have the same problem with RPGs. Sometimes people make adventures where I the player, not the character, have to be smart or solve a mystery or a puzzle or something and I can’t do it because I’m stupid as hell. So I usually play a character who’s supposed to be stupid because how am I supposed to portray an INT 20 wizard?
So I’ve been trying to think of some movies or books or media I can check out where the problem is something where the obvious answer is “murder” but the character is question is not a murderer so they need to figure something else out. The first thing that came to mind was the House of Sand and Fog, but thinking about it, the main lady essentially just got someone else to do her dirty work. I also thought about Avengers Arena, but looking back at that, it’s mostly just people struggling about violence and then being violent.
If you have any ideas on things I can read or watch to get some inspiration on how characters can deal with extreme circumstances without being smarty pantses or D&D style murder hobos, let me know.
I suppose the other obvious answer is “if she’s magic, bro, have her magic her problems away”.
I used to have a dream semi-often where I found out about a sex trafficking operation and the police and the state government people and everyone were in on it, so I spent all my dream-time trying to figure out how to do anything about it. I tried calling the FBI and they said they couldn’t interfere for some reason, and then I spent the rest of the dream freaking out and not knowing what to do. I suppose it was a stress dream of some kind.
Anyway, I guess I turned that dream into a blog accidentally. With magic. And wrestling.