How to Write Redemption

Everyone loves a good redemption story. It is one of the aspects that I believe helped make the original Star Wars trilogy so endearing: Watching Darth Vader rise from darkness to save his son. Redemption is also a hopeful message. Not only does it assure us that anyone can become the good guy, it gives a feeling of control. If these characters are so in charge of their destiny, than maybe we can be too.

Today’s post looks at some ways to write a successful redemption arc. This is by no means a definitive “how-to.” Writing is variable and unique – pretty much every rule can be broken by someone who knows what they’re doing to achieve a powerful effect.

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How Voice Separates Children of Blood and Bone from Avatar: The Last Airbender

Picture a world where certain people are gifted with mastery of the elements. It is a land that lived in relative harmony until an ambitious king seized power by launching an unexpected attack. Our protagonist is a young adult, one of the last of her kind – a people being driven to extinction in these turbulent times. She teams up with her brother and a third friend to try and restore balance – but she must do so before the solstice. Also, she is being hunted by the son of said evil king, but said prince is emotionally conflicted.

Sound familiar? Let me give you a hint:

Except not quite. A similar idea breathes new life in Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood of Bone.

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Lessons Learned From Fanfiction

In today’s world, many writers start by writing fanfiction. For those who don’t know, fanfiction is original work based on/inspired by existing properties. It is amateur work (although one could make the argument that the expanded universe of something like Star Wars is simply professional fanfiction), written by fans for fans. On the surface, there is no merit to it. Authors will never be paid for their work. That said, it can be a value learning tool. A free workshop in a sense.

I wrote a lengthy fanfiction story for Avatar: the Last Airbender and I will attest to the value in what was a tremendous learning experience.

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