marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

pondering schematas

Working out your locations or magic or characters schematically is an excellent way to avoid having them all spontaneously emerge the same, even if it's a nuisance.

However. . .

Choose your schemata with care. All that is required for a schematic to work is that it make the characters (or other stuff) different from each other. How, depends on the story.

There are places where the four cardinal virtues or the seven deadly sins work splendidly, but they do not add much. (Sometimes a virtue, to be sure, so you have a canvas to work with.) When you want more. . .

I read a story recently where characters mapped to the days of the week, and the seven deadly sins. Which set me off on pondering the days of the week. The planetary week. Much depends on whether you go Greco-Roman or Norse -- is Wednesday more like Odin or Mercury? Thursday like Thor or Jupiter? -- but Sunday and Monday you would have to go by astrological descriptions. It definitely gives you some variety. (Chesterton, of course, got some variety from week days, but he used the days of creation. Very little mapping there!)

Others would be the four elements -- or the five elements -- or Myers-Brigg personality types. Or assign each character the traits of a particular god from some pantheon -- it hardly matters which one as long as the gods have distinctive personalities, and allows much larger casts.
Tags: characterization, orchestrating characters

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