Monday, 12 May 2008

Book 2...or avoiding rehash

What happens next? I'm not going into details regarding plot, but more about process, and will be using films as an example ('cause I know you've all seen them).
The thing about writing a sequel is what's the key development of your character? The best stories are ultimately about the hero's emotional growth, but having grown immensely through Book 1, how much more immense must their growth be in Book 2? With Bond, he doesn't actually evolve in his stories (I'm excluding Casino Royale as it's a reboot, so shouldn't be considered as part of a series, will be interesting to see what they do next), he's the same at the beginning as he is at the end. Refuge is thus sort through spectacle as (lets admit it) the plots are pretty much the same. Which is why Connery was the best. In Doctor No and From Russia with Love, he isn't a superman, and the challenges are relatively small scale (from Russia with Love the whole plot revolves around he stealing a TYPEWRITER). But each challenge must be greater than the last, which is why it always ends up with FATE OF THE FREE WORLD being at stake.

The Bourne series tried to instill character development as the story does centre around him trying to discover himself (though I'll argue that Ultimatum was a repeat of Supremacy and actually the series was just one VERY LONG (but terrific) chase sequence) but did he actually CHANGE? He's still an ice cold operative at the end as he was at the beginning. Okay, he's disillusioned with the day job but hey, aren't we all? The story's about a man's mid-life crisis.

Granted, not all stories need to be based on the Hero's Journey (and if you're a storyteller, I don't need to explain this, do I?), but we are talking about the adventure the hero goes on MEANING something, rather than it being a recycle of what's gone before. To have meaning it must cause a CHANGE in the status quo.


Jon M said...

I watched Dr No recently and halfway through, when they are working against the clock, Bond goes for a kip on the desert island!!!!! For a whole night!!! I presume it was the only way they could work in the Ursula Undress scene in the morning!

Linking to comics and some films, character development becomes problematic with a 'never ending story.'

SarwatC said...

How does one deal with the 'never-ending story' and how does a character become viable for that sort of life?
I like the idea of how a saga ends (Robin Hood's death, King Arthur, Achilles, Norse myths, LOTR, etc) and isn't there something about lack of risk when you KNOW the hero's going to make it? What makes these tales classics is not just the iconic nature of the characters, but a true sense of their lives, from start to finish. And they go out gloriously. There's also the riding into the sunset (going West) which also symbolises death of the hero, and (an idea I really like) gaining some form of elemental immortality by doing so. It's cheesy, but the Guardian (starting Kevin Costner, sorry, but I'm a fan) has a good take on that.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Great to hear that things are going so well, old buddy!

And, for the record ... did Jon M deliberately misspell 'Andress; or was it a Freudian tit ... er clit ... bugger.

Jon M said...

Steve: What ARE you suggesting? :-)

SarwatC said...

Went to a talk about Fleming last night given by a bloke who's name momentarily escapes me (soory, that's really bad form, I know)but what's interesting is that he said Fleming only gave Bond back story after he'd become famous. He was a collection of influences (Fleming's dad, his brother, various commandoes he knew during the war) but that he perposefully made him vaguely empty. Perhaps this is the aspect that allows us to evolve Bond over the ages, unlike Holmes who cannot really evolve into the Modern Day (the only other charcter I can think of with Bond's literary and cinematic success).