The official blog of Jane Domagala


If I was to say to you the sky isn't blue, you'd probably respond with, 'You crazy, bitch!' Or maybe you wouldn't, but you would think I had gone colour blind. But I say, it's a matter of perspective. Let's go into outer space for a moment and look down on the earth. Notice anything? We can see the blue of the water, the dark masses of land and white clouds. The sky (our atmosphere) has become as clear as glass. So whether the sky is blue or not is a matter of perception.

Who your characters are is also a matter of perception. All you see is a dangerous man stalking you. You don't realise he's actually trying to protect you from the terminator. A good way to show the many sides of your main characters is to have the reader view them through the eyes of other point of view characters. We all have a different opinion of who our friends and enemies are. You may think your protagonist is wise and kind, but is that what the other characters see?

For example, your mother thinks you're wonderful and doesn't mind you bringing over your washing, while your partner can't stand the way you leave dirty socks on the floor. Your co-workers think your strange because you like dragons, while your writing friends think... well they probably think your strange too, but not because you like dragons.

If you only have one point of view character this can be difficult to show, but not impossible. People adapt their behaviour depending on who they're with. You don't sware in front of your nana, but might curse like a sailor around your mates.

Ask yourself, how does your protagonist relate to different kinds of people? Do they treat the peasant on the street differently to the king? Do they say one thing and think another? How does their posture change around others? Do they stand tall in front of their friends, but shrink when their overbearing boss is around?

How do the other characters perceive your protagonist? Do women the women think he/she is rude, while the men find them hilarious? Is your protagonist misjudged by some and seen right through by others? Do others see the good/bad deeds of your protagonist? Do others wonder how your protagonist can be revered/loathed, while all they can see are the shortcomings/achievements?

Find the many facets of your protagonist and bring them out through the eyes of others, because from where others stand the sky might not be blue. 

Name Change and Building World Culture

Some of you (R&G) may notice that my blog is no longer called Too Drunk To Be In Love. It's now called Domasphere. Why the change? Well, as much as I like my original name I didn't want people to think I was some kind of drunken louse. Also there's a spacey element to Domasphere, which I just happen to have an interest in - Very cool, sometimes nerdy, but always pretty stuff.

Had an interesting conversation today about the different cultures sampled when creating societal structures in a fantasy worlds. There are many to pick from, the same way you might pick at a chicken carcass in the hopes of creating your own unique salad of a culture that fits your story. I myself have dipped my finger into the Mongolian nomads, licked the spoon of Egyptian hierarchy and gluttonously devoured from the plate of medieval England. But what I find most fascinating is the culture of animals. Animal society, though perhaps not always as obvious, can be just as complex as human society.

Take for example lions: Highly skilled, bold, lethal, hunt to kill with very little thought for anything other than filling their bellies and surviving.

Gorillas: Peaceful until provoked, protective, wary, powerful when the need arises, otherwise happy to sit, eat and pick bugs off each other.

And my fav, killer whales: Cunning, never miss the second time around, rarely miss the first time around, hunt for the thrill, curious, intelligent and yes wolves of the sea.

So my point is, when building your world and the societies that fill it don't be afraid to extend beyond the boundaries of ordinary existence. You don't have to restrict yourselves to humans only. Even ants have a complex society with rules and hierarchies that they have to live by. In my opinion, humans are just glorified animal. And if you need proof of that just watch a football game.
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