*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the television show, The Lost World (which is loosely based the book of the same name). Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the either the book or the television series.
There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.
In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from The Lost World to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.
The ladies man. The macho man. The hunter who always bags his kill. This is Lord John Roxton.
Lord John Roxton is very much the epitome of the hunter, both in the jungle and in the ballroom. The younger son of an aristocrat who inherited his title when he accidentally killed his brother on a game hunt in Africa, John appears to have it all. A title. A tidy inherited income. Women at his feet and in his bed. A reputation of a fierce hunter.
Played by Australian actor Will Snow, the audience appears to immediately know who this man is and what his journey will be over the course of the narrative. The audience will soon be surprised. Under the smooth manners of an aristocrat and the adventurous nature of a man who has seen much in his life, John Roxton who is burdened by his past. The ghost of his brother hangs around his neck like a chain. His will they or wont they relationship with the mysterious and equally emotionally burdened Marguerite Krux (played expertly by another Australian performer, Rachel Blakely, who will be discussed in the coming weeks) adds more emotional depth to the character and leads him away from the Gaston like initial first impression.
To sum it up: Appearances should be deceiving. How deceiving they should be and what emotional turns the character takes is up to the individual writer. That deception on the part of the writer, if it is well written is very often the key to the success of the book or the movie. As soon as the audience thinks they know the character, the deception changes their perspective and properly hooks them in for the rest of the story. That deception, when written properly is often the key to writing success.
Life immediately after college is often very confusing. The expectation is to get a job, eventually settle down, maybe a have a kid or two and lead a generally quiet life But what happens when this expectation does not meet reality?
In the 1994 film, Reality Bites , Lelaina (Winona Ryder) creates a mockumentary of her post college experience. Her best friend, Troy (Ethan Hawke) is a musician who has lost several minimum wage jobs. Her other friends, Vickie (Janeane Garofalo) and Sammy (Steve Zahn) are grappling with their own issues. Vickie is anticipating the results of an AIDS test while Sammy is in the closet. Then, along comes Michael (Ben Stiller), who offers Lelaina a career making opportunity. Now she must choose not only the life she wants, but the man she wants in her life.
I have two thoughts on this movie. The first is that the feelings and experiences of the characters feel very universal. Those of us who do complete college most often come out of it with a question what to do with our lives. Without the structure we have had for the last two decades, our life feels incomplete. But on the other hand, this movie is very Gen-X specific and it does feel a little dated.