In this week, we learned about both character and setting in writing. While it does definitely apply to creative writing, it also applies to journalistic writing, as it is still telling a story. We examined the most important parts of a story and, among the points that people brought up, character was directly mentioned multiple times while setting was implied. Descriptive text and imagination alluded to setting, as it was needed so that the reader knows where they are.
A professional example that primarily shows character can be seen in the visual novel Fate/Stay Night.
Something is ringing. Brring. Brring.
“…Shut up. Stop it.”
The sound doesn’t stop. It rings loudly as if I’m an enemy.
“…What? Come on, I was up late last night, so…”
It should let me sleep in a bit longer. No, it has to let me sleep in. I was deciphering my father’s will until early this morning, and I’ve used up too much magical energy. In other words, my mind and body are dead tired.
“Ah, geez. You’re really stubborn.”
Brring. Brring. Brring. Brring. The alarm clock doesn’t speak my language. So why does the ringing sound like it’s telling me “You’re going to be late”?
“…Late… Being late is bad…”
Though that depends on the situation. I’m a good student, but maybe I can get to school at the last moment just for today.
“…That’s right… I set the alarm thirty minutes early, so I should be able to sleep for thirty minutes more…”
Huh? Isn’t that strange?
“…Set it thirty minutes early…?”
I look at the alarm clock drowsily. The clock is pointing exactly at seven. I usually get up at six thirty, so the spare thirty minutes have already been used up.
…Oh, why can’t I think when I wake up.
I stare at the alarm clock for several seconds. Shutting it off, I decide to get out of bed.
Fate/Stay Night (Type-Moon, 2004)
The main character – for context, her name is Tohsaka – is also the narrator in this, which allows the writer to express her character some more. We can see glimpses that she is usually a prepared, studied girl in that she sets her alarm early, was awake at night deciphering her father’s will and refers to herself as a ‘good student’.
The setting, however, is alluded to in a couple of areas. There is mention of ‘magical energy’, which implies a more fantastical and fictional setting. Combined with an alarm clock, one might guess that this is a modern fantasy story.
In class, I tried to establish both character and setting through a single, one-page piece.
“Pfah, this is pathetic. Scrawny vermin and not a single challenge to be found.” A snarl left the dragoness’ mouth, her red eyes watching a group of limping, battered soldiers run away from her. To them, she was a giant – even for her kind. Seven foot four and every part of her body was toned to perfection. Her battle-worn scales, a hellish red. Her strength, that of a fiery juggernaut. Her ideals, might above all else.
She was the embodiment of her ancestors, as the blood of the red dragons coursed through her.
“Run away!” They shouted and screamed. “I-It’s a demon!” There were three soldiers, armed with the mass-produced steel of a city guard’s uniform. The armour that had been previously untouched was now dented, bloodied and torn apart. All three men could not fight back, for their spears were broken, leaving them with nothing but splintered sticks.
There was not a single scratch on the dragonborn. Her armour was a fortress of metal, with massive pauldrons and a draconic face that served as the chestplate. It was black with red accents, and it seemed as if the heads that emerged from her pauldrons had eyes of their own. Her halberd was one that an ordinary warrior would wield with both hands, yet she held it in one with the ease of a training sword.
The dragoness passed through the town’s arched gates. She could see an assortment of houses and establishments, yet there was not a single man, woman or child walking through the streets. Several watched from their windows and alleyways with their trembling eyes. There was nothing to fear from them – the scurrying rats and spineless monkeys dared not make a move.
It was boring.
Another snarl left the woman’s horned head as she kept on moving. The homely, comforting architecture of humans was not given a single glance. The vibrant, silken flags of an abandoned marketplace did not interest her. Eventually, the sight of another hastily closed stall was enough to irritate her beyond frustrated snarls.
“Is there no one who can provide me with a decent challenge?!” Her voice echoed throughout the streets, ringing in every alleyway and threatening to break the windows around her. To the fearful, the dragoness’ voice was like thunder.
And finally, she heard footsteps behind her.
It surprises me a little, but I’m proud of this piece I wrote. The problem I had with overwriting and vocabulary is not as prevalent here as it is in my previous pieces. If anything, I would’ve liked to write more to show here, but that would make the post longer than it already is. However, this does show that I am beginning to develop and learn. I even removed a few pieces in my editing, showing that I noticed my overwriting.
- Type-Moon (2004) Fate/Stay Night. [Computer game]. Type-Moon.