Out of character interlude 2 – Ela versus Negan, Dawn of Justice

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I read a blog about stuff.  It’s pretty good.  The other day the author mentioned that he was four when Return of the King (the movie) came out.  I was in my mid-20s.  It made me feel super old and lame.  Which I am, but being reminded of that is never fun.  This has nothing to do with anything but I figured you’d want to know.

I wonder sometimes what I’ll do if Ela dies.  I mean I have her name in the URL so clearly I can never write about anything else.  A few ideas I’ve kicked around are a prequel (weak), continuing the story with another character (meh), or going back and doing short runs of things from the perspective of other characters and the effects of Ela on their lives (might be okay).  But then last night as I was falling asleep I had the thought – what about putting the character of Ela in a different story?  And for a reason what came to mind is Ela in the Walking Dead. 

First obviously you MUST know my history with the Walking Dead.  I read the comic books WAY before the TV show came along and made it cool and popular (and therefore gross).  By the time the TV show rolled around we were in the tail end of the zombie fad started by 28 Days Later and I was suffering from zombie fatigue.  So I didn’t watch the first season right away and when I got around to watching I found it kind of boring.  But it was based on a comic book so what was I going to do, not watch it?  This was in the pre-MCU boom days before comic book properties became cool and popular (and therefore gross) so if something was comic book related and wasn’t horrible I was probably going to watch it. 

The second season picked up though and I was in for real.  For a while.  After a couple seasons Walking Dead started suffering from a bad case of Lost-itis, where the show was way more popular than anyone expected so they needed to milk it for everything its worth.  They started telling the exact same story over and over – everyone’s together yay!  Oh no, everyone is separated, boo!  Reunited! Yay!  Ripped apart boo!  Repeat ad nauseam.  After the Governor attacked the prison for the SECOND time I was out. 

And that’s how it was for a long time but then one day I was flipping through the channels and I saw some people with Ws on their heads running into a town and violently attacking people and I was like “Whoa, what is this show?” and after a while I saw the lady who plays Carol and I was like “that actress must be in this show” but then I kept watching and figured out that it was Carol (still alive!) because I was watching the Walking Dead.  That episode was pretty rad so I started watching again for a little while but then stopped again because it sucked.  Hard.

And that’s how it was for a while but then there was a massive media blitz – RICK’S LAST EPISODE !!!!!!!  And I was curious how Rick was going to die so I admit they got me top tune in again.  And the lead up to RICK’S LAST EPISODE !!!!!!! was decently good.  But then that episode was GOD AWFUL and I was mad because they suckered me back in to watch that crap.  I’ll never watch this show again I shouted at the moon. 

And that’s how it was for a while but then a couple weeks ago I started getting caught up for no reason I can explain.  Anyway, the point is that’s probably why when I was half-asleep the idea that came to my mind was Ela in the Walking Dead.  Which is a horrible idea.  Maybe you could argue (please do the one person who reads this blog) that Ela is an anti-hero but more probably she’s just a straight up villain protagonist.  And that doesn’t really work in the Walking Dead.  An awful person in an awful world is just depressing, and not very interesting.  An awful person in a world that’s more “normal” is little more viable. 

I didn’t really have a template in mind when I created the character of Ela, but a few months after I started writing this blog I re-watched the Last Seduction and I realized that and Linda Fiorentino’s character is basically her.  And if you take that character and stick them into the Walking Dead you have a minor character whose one of Negan’s minions and make has a couple cool scenes before they die.  Because there’s really nothing else you can do there other than a redemption arc and who would want to see that?  Nobody that’s who. 

But the idea of putting her in another setting and story could be a good one if she dies prematurely.  There’s probably a genre like that – character X in this setting and that setting and so on – but I’ve never heard of it. 

Did you know that there’s three different podcasts called Raised By TV?  Because there are.  Which is what I would also call my podcast if I had one.  Which I do not.  This has nothing to do with anything but I figured you’d want to know.

Out of character interlude

I started this blog mostly as a lark and somewhat as a joke but I’m enjoying it at this point.  One thing I’ve realized (with apologies to whomever mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa) is that while writing based on D&D is mildly silly it’s kind of nice to have a structure of what your character actually can do.  Obviously to the zero people who ready this blog, are intimately familiar with D&D (Pathfinder really, but you know), and pay CLOSE attention to every detail I’m somewhat fast and loose with the minutia of how the rules would work but there’s a solid base there.

The thought that came across my mind is if I were writing a story about a super spy who’s a Muay Thai champion, motorcross enthusiast, classically trained chef I would be in a bit of a pickle because I don’t actually know anything about those things.  Could this character Muay Thai kick the door of a car off?  Who knows?  Not me for sure.  They say write what you know but that’s lame because most people don’t know anything interesting – and I know because I talked to a person once. 

Of course there’s the theory that as the author you can have the character do whatever you want or need them to do for the story you want to tell, but  I’m enjoying (in this format anyway) having some limitations.  Ela can’t fly halfway across the world and summon an army of Valkyries because the rules say she can’t.  That’s kind of nice.  I think it’s been shown many times over that people don’t create their best work when they have total freedom – having some boundaries to work within usually helps, even if eventually they end up ignoring them all once you get started. 

I don’t read so many comics anymore because I’m old and unhip but when I did one thing that often bugged me is the wildly inconsistent abilities of the protagonists.  There’s no way around that really, the Hulk has had 100s of different writers at this point, if not thousands – it’s not like there’s a Hulk Bible of EXACTLY how strong he is.  But it’s annoying when the abilities of the hero in question change to service the story – or when their abilities are “forgotten” in order to create drama.  One issue Captain American jumps out of a plane without a parachute and just lands fine because he’s awesome.  Next issue he’s “trapped” on the 15th floor of a building with no way down.  What changed?  A little bit of consistency is nice is my point. 

And while I like using the D&D framework it does make things a little wonky.  Ela isn’t totally helpless in combat just because she’s a 14th level character now and D&D is a linear deal whereas if I was just writing 100% off the cuff I’d probably never have her be any good at fighting.  And her social skills are all so high as the rules are written she should basically be able to convince anyone of anything.  But hey, pros and cons.