Saturday Smorgasboard: Lessons From Wrestling And Comic Books

By: Christopher Bartlett

I’m sure most of you are looking at the title this month and wondering if I have lost my mind. I can assure you I haven’t, but I was going back to where I started really understanding writing. Two things that pop up every time are wrestling and comic books. 

Both are episodic with a larger story being told overall for the characters involved in the plot. Granted, one has an easier time of starting off characters as villains and then turning them into heroes and visa versa. This is something a lot of writers forget currently. We spend so much time on the protagonist that we forget to make the antagonist just as deep. 

You also see how characters can be villains or heroes one minute and then just the opposite the next. Prime example being Hulk Hogan who was America’s poster boy hero during the 80s and then became the biggest villain in wrestling during the mid-90s when he joined the NWO. Yet, he was turned back into the hero. He was presumed to have forgotten how to be by the fans’ cheers. 

Take Morbius, who went from being a villain of Blade’s to being an ally. While both are a common being type that is usually considered to be only a villain in most universes. Yet, since Anne Rice started writing about vampires, they have been used as heroes in multiple formats. I’m not saying she got it from comic books or wrestling, merely how each can influence the other to make better writing. 

The best lesson I got from each was to never be afraid to make your heroes into villains. Similar to the rule about killing your darlings. Basically, combined, it taught me to let the story and characters flow where it makes sense, and sometimes throwing in a swerve isn’t a bad thing as long as it makes sense. 

If, at the end of the story, you have to make some miracle happen that makes no sense to get the result you want, then you need to find where you made a wrong turn. Look at every ending you have ever read, even the ones you didn’t like. Did they make logical sense? If the answer is yes, then even if not a happy ending, it was still a good ending. 

Now, that doesn’t mean a good ending doesn’t leave an opening of some sort for a sequel, but that is a whole other discussion. But at the moment, I’m having a craving for a cup of coffee. Yep, definitely time to raid my private coffee stash. If you’ll excuse me.

*Tips his hat walking out the door towards his private study.*

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