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Trying to understand character's wound and lie/misbelief

BiggusBeardus

Minstrel
Hello!

I've been reading a book called "Creating Character Arcs" and watching YouTube videos on writing and this book and a few videos talk about the character's "lie/misbelief." And then there is the "wound" that caused the lie/misbelief. This book says "In order for your character to evolve in a positive way, he has to start out with something lacking in his life, some reason that makes the change necessary." Why do they have to change?

The lie, from what I can understand, is a "...deeply held misconception about either himself, the world, or probably both." It is a direct obstacle to fulfill the plot goal. And it apparently comes from some "wound" that was a traumatic event in the character's life. So do all fictional characters have to have psychological issues before they can go out into the world and do anything? I'm so confused.

I can read those words, but I don't entirely understand them. Why does my character have to start out with issues? Why can't he just decide to go out and do stuff and have an adventure? Am I just writing a "flat arc" and don't know it?

In chasing this "lie", I've come up with some backstory for my MC and the side characters, but it feels forced. And the story I've come up with so far has nothing to do with the "lie" and stuff I've forced on my characters. There's definitely nothing like a lie preventing the plot goal. The characters WANT to go do stuff. Why? For money. They are poor street kids that become thieves and they want money. The story is about them trying to get rich quick, they get in over their heads and then have to get themselves out of trouble. Plain and simple.

I'm working with the Hero's Journey model, and in Christopher Vogler's book, The Writer's Journey, he says: "The Hero's Journey model is a guideline. It's not a cookbook recipe or a mathematical formula to be applied rigidly to every story." He goes on to say that basically you don't have to follow the model exactly and you don't have to include all the parts.

Is this lie business the same way? Do I need to give my characters issues to make a good story? Can anyone help me wrap my head around these concepts?
 

Queshire

Auror
Zuko from Avatar the Last Airbender is a good example of the idea in action. The lie he believes at the start of the series is that to have worth as a person he needs to regain his honor & win his father’s approval by capturing the Avatar and the wound which caused this was getting scarred by his father in a duel and exiled from home until he captures the Avatar. By the end of the series he's firmly on team Avatar's side and fighting against his father.

In your case the lie might be something along the lines of the street kids believing they need money to be happy when maybe they'd find contentment by moving out to the countryside and raising sheep or something.
 

BiggusBeardus

Minstrel
Zuko from Avatar the Last Airbender is a good example of the idea in action. The lie he believes at the start of the series is that to have worth as a person he needs to regain his honor & win his father’s approval by capturing the Avatar and the wound which caused this was getting scarred by his father in a duel and exiled from home until he captures the Avatar. By the end of the series he's firmly on team Avatar's side and fighting against his father.

In your case the lie might be something along the lines of the street kids believing they need money to be happy when maybe they'd find contentment by moving out to the countryside and raising sheep or something.
Wow! Great example. That show is sooooo good in so many ways.

As for my characters, I'm trying to think of ways their life would be better besides getting a bunch of money, but "in their minds" money would solve all their problems. I'm going back through this character arc book and trying to reread stuff. I'll also consider raising sheep ;)

There is a section on Flat Arcs that I haven't gotten to yet. I skimmed it just now and that sounds more like my MC.

But the Zuko example hits home. The dumb examples in this book just don't do it for me.

Thanks for responding.
 
A wound or a lie or a misbelief is something along the lines of someone ‘never thinking they are good enough’, which psychologically would be considered an inferiority complex. That can affect the decisions someone makes and can have many consequences in the course of a persons life.

So your characters are children who I assume are orphaned or just abandoned by their primary care givers? - you already have a powerful set of psychological issues that these children are probably dealing with, whether they are conscious of that or not.

Children who do not have a secure attachment to their primary caregiver (which is usually a parent) will have insecure attachment disorders. This means that they might have an inferiority complex, feel mistrusting of others, or might even be overly trusting of complete strangers. There’s an entire litany of other issues that homeless children will inevitably deal with, such as hyper-vigilance. They live on the streets and so they’ll probably always have an underlying anxiety of being hurt or killed, and not knowing where they might end up or be sleeping for the night. Children who go through a lot of trauma will often engage is risky activities - such as stealing. How high are the stakes? How far are some of your characters willing to go in order to procure cash? Is the misbelief that they are unhappy because they don’t have money, or it is deeper than that? Are they searching for money because deep down they are searching for a home? For security? For happiness?

The lie or the misbelief might not be the driver of your story, but those are some things to think about?

As for me, I found a really useful piece of advice for my own process which as long as I keep this in mind throughout the writing;

1. What does the character want?
2. What stands in their way of getting it?
3. What happens if they don’t get it?

So you have;

1. Tension
2. Conflict
3. Stakes

I’m not published yet so I’m just learning how I can implement this into my writing, but so far I find it very helpful, and it seems simpler than lies/misbelief to me.

- maybe I should mention that I always consider the psychology before hand, this way that factor will drive the characters actions.

I have one main character who is tired of being poor, stuck in the cycle of peasantry, she wishes for a better life, she’s jealous of the noblewomen who get to wear fine dresses, who don’t have dirt beneath their fingernails and who don’t have to light their own hearths - but is that life really all it seems? The closer my character gets to this noble lifestyle, the more she realises that perhaps it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. That’s just one part of her arc, but it fuels part of the plot and hopefully moves it forward in interesting ways.
 
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BiggusBeardus

Minstrel
A wound or a lie or a misbelief is something along the lines of someone ‘never thinking they are good enough’, which psychologically would be considered an inferiority complex. That can affect the decisions someone makes and can have many consequences in the course of a persons life.

So your characters are children who I assume are orphaned or just abandoned by their primary care givers? - you already have a powerful set of psychological issues that these children are probably dealing with, whether they are conscious of that or not.

Children who do not have a secure attachment to their primary caregiver (which is usually a parent) will have insecure attachment disorders. This means that they might have an inferiority complex, feel mistrusting of others, or might even be overly trusting of complete strangers. There’s an entire litany of other issues that homeless children will inevitably deal with, such as hyper-vigilance. They live on the streets and so they’ll probably always have an underlying anxiety of being hurt or killed, and not knowing where they might end up or be sleeping for the night. Children who go through a lot of trauma will often engage is risky activities - such as stealing. How high are the stakes? How far are some of your characters willing to go in order to procure cash? Is the misbelief that they are unhappy because they don’t have money, or it is deeper than that? Are they searching for money because deep down they are searching for a home? For security? For happiness?

The lie or the misbelief might not be the driver of your story, but those are some things to think about?

As for me, I found a really useful piece of advice for my own process which as long as I keep this in mind throughout the writing;

1. What does the character want?
2. What stands in their way of getting it?
3. What happens if they don’t get it?

So you have;

1. Tension
2. Conflict
3. Stakes

I’m not published yet so I’m just learning how I can implement this into my writing, but so far I find it very helpful, and it seems simpler than lies/misbelief to me.

- maybe I should mention that I always consider the psychology before hand, this way that factor will drive the characters actions.

I have one main character who is tired of being poor, stuck in the cycle of peasantry, she wishes for a better life, she’s jealous of the noblewomen who get to wear fine dresses, who don’t have dirt beneath their fingernails and who don’t have to light their own hearths - but is that life really all it seems? The closer my character gets to this noble lifestyle, the more she realises that perhaps it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. That’s just one part of her arc, but it fuels part of the plot and hopefully moves it forward in interesting ways.
That's good stuff. Thanks a lot, that really helps. Some things I just need to talk out to get them. I did some work last night and gave them some traits that include some you mentioned.

You questions about what the character wants and all are very helpful too. I have a similar list that a YouTuber uses that is Desire, Fear, Misbelief. She pointed out that every (I guess) Disney movie establishes these things in the first 5 minutes of the movie. She also said the hook is internal conflict and internal conflict is desire vs. fear. But I'm going to add your questions to my notes too.

I've never really tried to walk in my character's shoes. It's hard when you aren't like your characters. I've just always pictured my stories like a movie in my head and I just describe what is happening. I guess I need to go a little deeper.

Thanks for the response. And thanks for being nice. It is so hard to avoid trolls these days. This forum has seemed pretty safe so far.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
It's perfectly all right to have your character just want to go out into the world. They might even want to go out in order to do good and make the world a better place. They don't have to labor under a lie or even a delusion. Moreover, the reader can see a flawed character without needing the backstory. I think here of Sidney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities. The man is clearly damaged, but we don't really need to know why. He has let himself down; only he can redeem himself.

I also think of books like The Glass Bead Game or The Magic Mountain. Great literary works, but no one has to labor under a great lie.

Which is not to suggest that the approach is a bad one. It's fine. It's done all the time and to great effect. It's certainly worth keeping in mind as you develop your own characters. Does the approach fit? Does it enhance the character, and thus the story? If so, run with it, and those advice books will help you on your way. OTOH, if it doesn't fit, leave all that advice to the side and don't give it another thought. There are many ways to create engaging characters.
 

Miles Lacey

Maester
The characters WANT to go do stuff. Why? For money. They are poor street kids that become thieves and they want money. The story is about them trying to get rich quick, they get in over their heads and then have to get themselves out of trouble. Plain and simple.

In most countries street kids are too young to qualify for any form of social security. Most employers see them as parasites, criminals or worse and would never consider giving them work. So, how else are they expected to survive, or get ahead in life, except by committing crimes? Hunger and desperation often leads people to do very irrational and even self-destructive things such as stealing, drug dealing, prostitution and getting caught up in get rich schemes where they end up owing lots of money and getting into strife with various people including those they recruited into their get rich scheme.

I can see a situation where these kids flee their town to avoid the consequences of their actions. At first, they refuse to consider that their actions caused the mess they're in. However, as they progress in their journey, they not only realise how messed up their thinking was but that they could make things right and redeem themselves. By the time the journey has ended they have learned an important life lesson and redeemed themselves through their actions in the eyes of the people of the town they fled from.

(I apologise for the rant. I'm poor so I tend to get touchy on issues like homelessness, poverty and unemployment.)
 
Mythic Scribes is indeed a friendly place, that welcomes trolls, just the type you mention.
Yeah okay…typo made that mean something entirely different…Mythic Scribes indeed welcomes the mythical creatures known as trolls, not the cowardly keyboard slammers known for internet bullying….
 

Devor

Fiery Keeper of the Hat
Moderator
This is one of those pieces of storytelling where if you ignore it completely, one of two things will probably happen:

1. You will include it naturally and not even realize you've done it.

2. Your character development will feel lacking.

There are exceptions. No rule is set in stone.

And there's wiggle room, and room for leaving things a little vague, with results like: "Oh this counts, if you overthink it a whole lot...." and "Three different readers have written essays with wildly different ideas about what the misbelief and the wound actually were."

So don't take it too dogmatically, especially if you don't quite get it, and if you're forcing it onto your characters. Don't let rules get in the way of your story.

But that said.... someone mentioned Zuko. But Zuko is obvious, he makes a whole about-face because he started with serious issues. And this doesn't have to be "issues"-levels of heavy.

So let's take a look at Sokka instead. He goes through a few different arcs in the show, all of them typical of a normal person. Let's look at one from the wound/misbelief perspective.

In the beginning his misbelief is that he has to be a warrior, that it's all on him to protect his village, caused by the wound of his father telling him so when he left for war. Because of this, at first he's a bit insular and scared, pressured by the responsibility.

Neither he nor his father did anything wrong here. Going off to war is a bit dramatic, but that's life. The father's still alive, and by all indications was nothing but a supportive father. The wound is mostly the sudden shift of moving from one stage of life to the next. The misbelief here is mostly the stress-related mistakes that come with that responsibility.

We see growth on this arc pretty early, especially when he seeks out training from Suki and the Kyoshi warriors, admitting that he isn't a great warrior, and that he needs help. By the third season he's completely reversed, seeking training to resolve the misbelief that he can't support the powerful people around him, caused by the wound of watching helplessly while they do amazing things on the battlefield.

They don't have to be clinically damaged to have a wound and a misbelief.

You've got orphans who want to go make money on a heist? Honestly, with that setup wounds and misbeliefs should pretty much write themselves. Just let the characters connect their past to their attitude, and then let them grow.
 

BiggusBeardus

Minstrel
This is one of those pieces of storytelling where if you ignore it completely, one of two things will probably happen:

1. You will include it naturally and not even realize you've done it.

2. Your character development will feel lacking.

There are exceptions. No rule is set in stone.

And there's wiggle room, and room for leaving things a little vague, with results like: "Oh this counts, if you overthink it a whole lot...." and "Three different readers have written essays with wildly different ideas about what the misbelief and the wound actually were."

So don't take it too dogmatically, especially if you don't quite get it, and if you're forcing it onto your characters. Don't let rules get in the way of your story.

But that said.... someone mentioned Zuko. But Zuko is obvious, he makes a whole about-face because he started with serious issues. And this doesn't have to be "issues"-levels of heavy.

So let's take a look at Sokka instead. He goes through a few different arcs in the show, all of them typical of a normal person. Let's look at one from the wound/misbelief perspective.

In the beginning his misbelief is that he has to be a warrior, that it's all on him to protect his village, caused by the wound of his father telling him so when he left for war. Because of this, at first he's a bit insular and scared, pressured by the responsibility.

Neither he nor his father did anything wrong here. Going off to war is a bit dramatic, but that's life. The father's still alive, and by all indications was nothing but a supportive father. The wound is mostly the sudden shift of moving from one stage of life to the next. The misbelief here is mostly the stress-related mistakes that come with that responsibility.

We see growth on this arc pretty early, especially when he seeks out training from Suki and the Kyoshi warriors, admitting that he isn't a great warrior, and that he needs help. By the third season he's completely reversed, seeking training to resolve the misbelief that he can't support the powerful people around him, caused by the wound of watching helplessly while they do amazing things on the battlefield.

They don't have to be clinically damaged to have a wound and a misbelief.

You've got orphans who want to go make money on a heist? Honestly, with that setup wounds and misbeliefs should pretty much write themselves. Just let the characters connect their past to their attitude, and then let them grow.
Thanks! That helps. Again, ALAB is such a good show.

So I've written up some stuff about each of the characters, but now I'm just trying to figure out how to "show" it in the story and make them change. I'm writing an outline and filling in details, but I still haven't grasped how to show the characters changing. I'll figure it out eventually.

Thanks for your response.
 

Penpilot

Staff
Article Team
Thanks! That helps. Again, ALAB is such a good show.

So I've written up some stuff about each of the characters, but now I'm just trying to figure out how to "show" it in the story and make them change. I'm writing an outline and filling in details, but I still haven't grasped how to show the characters changing. I'll figure it out eventually.

Thanks for your response.

You might find this series of videos from author Dan Well useful for this.

 

LittleOwlbear

Minstrel
That's a great question I thought about a lot today, and about my main character, I came to this:

My main character is an high elf and high elfs are in my books a society full of perfectionists for different reasons (they are obsessed with their interests and special fields, they live long enough to become perfect in their field, and they think as fey creatures, they are supposed to become prime examples anyway and they are all called exceptionally beautiful all the time), and some are less perfectionist than others, some so much more.
My main character's mother, who's a powerful mage herself, is (over)bordering on the narcissistic line. Both are barely in contact anymore (although my main character loves their father, who's quite the opposite), but they often still think they have to be perfect, and they are also very proud of their magic powers, knowledge and being the director of a magic school.
At the start of the story, they get poisoned with pure iron (because there is this old folklore that iron sucks out the magic of fair folk and I took that quite literally) and kidnapped while defending their students, so they lost most of access to their magic powers for some months, and need more help than they would like to admit. Since they are the director of a school, they should be the one being in charge of responsibility.
Normally they are quite positive and self-confident with most stuff, but when it comes to their fields and responsibility for others, they are just... not perfect. And maybe they accept they never will be.
They also have an half-elf son and they know their own mother was wrong, so they tried a lot to make it better, but you can't change your ways all of the sudden completely.


Back tot topic:
I'm also on the bord with "don't force any kind of development, if it doesn't come naturally to you".
It was an interesting thing to reflect on, but I've written this before. I think it will feel forced and artificial, if you pressure your character into some sort of pattern for development. Just write what you think comes natural to them and makes sense for them.
It's absolutely fine to just let them go out for an adventure, and I think characters who's personality is made up by issues first and firemost, will become a pity party more than feeling like an actual human(oid...) being. Mostly I also don't like characters who are written like that, personally. Having issues is one thing, maybe also an important for every character, but don't make those the center of most characters personalities through and through, imo.
You want someone just chasing an adventure, then write it like that. There will be more character depth to them in other way, I'm pretty sure, you don't have to follow some writing dogmas.
In general, don't force change, imo. Especially not from one "development" scene to another. Maybe that can work, but usually change needs time and people, who try to change, often fall back to their old patterns too for some time.
 

BiggusBeardus

Minstrel
That's a great question I thought about a lot today, and about my main character, I came to this:

My main character is an high elf and high elfs are in my books a society full of perfectionists for different reasons (they are obsessed with their interests and special fields, they live long enough to become perfect in their field, and they think as fey creatures, they are supposed to become prime examples anyway and they are all called exceptionally beautiful all the time), and some are less perfectionist than others, some so much more.
My main character's mother, who's a powerful mage herself, is (over)bordering on the narcissistic line. Both are barely in contact anymore (although my main character loves their father, who's quite the opposite), but they often still think they have to be perfect, and they are also very proud of their magic powers, knowledge and being the director of a magic school.
At the start of the story, they get poisoned with pure iron (because there is this old folklore that iron sucks out the magic of fair folk and I took that quite literally) and kidnapped while defending their students, so they lost most of access to their magic powers for some months, and need more help than they would like to admit. Since they are the director of a school, they should be the one being in charge of responsibility.
Normally they are quite positive and self-confident with most stuff, but when it comes to their fields and responsibility for others, they are just... not perfect. And maybe they accept they never will be.
They also have an half-elf son and they know their own mother was wrong, so they tried a lot to make it better, but you can't change your ways all of the sudden completely.


Back tot topic:
I'm also on the bord with "don't force any kind of development, if it doesn't come naturally to you".
It was an interesting thing to reflect on, but I've written this before. I think it will feel forced and artificial, if you pressure your character into some sort of pattern for development. Just write what you think comes natural to them and makes sense for them.
It's absolutely fine to just let them go out for an adventure, and I think characters who's personality is made up by issues first and firemost, will become a pity party more than feeling like an actual human(oid...) being. Mostly I also don't like characters who are written like that, personally. Having issues is one thing, maybe also an important for every character, but don't make those the center of most characters personalities through and through, imo.
You want someone just chasing an adventure, then write it like that. There will be more character depth to them in other way, I'm pretty sure, you don't have to follow some writing dogmas.
In general, don't force change, imo. Especially not from one "development" scene to another. Maybe that can work, but usually change needs time and people, who try to change, often fall back to their old patterns too for some time.
Don't use the force. Good call. I'm just new and I don't want to make boring characters so I'm reading all this stuff that says do this and do that and don't do this. It's a little overwhelming. Thankfully all you people here are really nice and are giving awesome feedback.

Thanks for your response.
 

LittleOwlbear

Minstrel
Don't use the force. Good call. I'm just new and I don't want to make boring characters so I'm reading all this stuff that says do this and do that and don't do this. It's a little overwhelming. Thankfully all you people here are really nice and are giving awesome feedback.

Thanks for your response.
I had that problem too some years ago and it really takes the joy out of the writing process, imo. I spent more time studying writing advices than writing. xD
Since then I don't listen to "do this, don't do this, do that instead" anymore.

Instead I trust my own experience I made with myself and other people in 31 years for characters and their development and all. They are more valuable to me personally, also for my emotional connection with my characters and my own writing, and I think that will also often shine through as some kind of "the author's own truth", than just following advices.
 

pmmg

Myth Weaver
Everyone has things they believe that are not true.

In a story, it is not untypical for the MC to have one (or more) big thing that they believe that is not true, and the evolution of them has them come to believe differently to grow and resolve the story. One way to develop the thing they believe that is not true is to start with what you want to say with your story (we are strong together, for example), and then give the MC something opposite of that (everyone stands alone).

This has been shown many times to be an effective method for creating a story with change and growth. Typically. in a story, all characters begin with things they believe that are not true, but the heroes/Protags change and grow and overcome them, and the villains/Antag's don't--they usually remain static.

Here are some examples.

In Star Wars, a tale I know well, many characters begin with beliefs that are not true.


Luke: Believes he is stuck at home and cannot claim control over his own agency. He believes that the Force is not enough, and it is impossible, maybe even foolish to try and depend on it. He believes in the ideal of his father, and in the rightness of the rebellion.

All of these are untrue. He can leave, he just wont. He can learn the Force, and it is enough. He must confront his father, and accept that good can be corrupted and maybe not brought back.

Han: He believes that there is no value in becoming attached, that money is more important than friends, or doing the right thing. He thinks the Force is hokey and those using it are kooks and old fossils.

But all of these become untrue. He passes on money to save his friends, and trusts Luke to use the Force to destroy the Death Star.

Leia: She believes she cannot be shown to be vulnerable and still be strong enough to lead the rebellion.

But this untrue. She does fall for the scoundrel and finds more strength in it.

Yoda/Obi Wan: Only a fully trained Jedi can defeat Darth Vader. There is no good in him. Must stay and complete the training. Only an agent of evil.

They are wrong. There is still good in him. Luke was not the Jedi they through they needed. His faith in the goodness of others was stronger than their misconception.

Vader: It is too late me, son.

Wrong again. It was not too late. He was reached and the story culminated.

Palpatine: Your faith in your friends is yours....

Wrongo... That was part of his strength, and what the emperor did not get.



All these stories culminated into all of them having to confront what they thought was true, but wasn't. They all believed one thing, and over time came to see that it wasn't.


Another more obvious story...the wizard of Oz.

Dorothy believes she will be happier if she leaves home, and that she lacks the power to return. But...she's always had the power, she just needed to see that it was what she really wanted.

Tin man, Lion, Scarecrow....I mean their whole characters were this. If I only had a brain, or a heart, or courage, but they had always had these things.

The Wizard....If only he was a true wizard, then he could help. In his fear at being discovered, he made a big frightening show. But he always was able to help, he just didn't believe.


And another...Justice League....


Superman believes he has to protect them team, and risk himself always to keep them safe. Its a lie, they are all capable.

Batman believes he is best alone, and does not need the team...He is wrong, the team is needed for many of their problems.

Wonder Woman... She believes in the way of the warrior and lacks compassion and better judgement. She is softened by her teammates and become more the hero than just a heavy hitter.

Hawkgirl, thinks she cannot be forgiven for being aligned with those on her home planet and does not deserve to be a hero, but she is hero, and she can be forgiven.

Flash does not think he is hero enough, and that he is not as capable as the others....he is wrong. Without him, they lose to Brainiac.




After writing all that, I am going to agree with Devor, in that this is not stuff that does not work itself out on its own (usually), and to pick on up something Skip said elsewhere, you have to write your characters for a while to really know them. You don't have to know all this upfront. You can see it develop as it goes.

I am not sure it is possible to write a character that does not have some beliefs that are just not so (or maybe, they would not be much of a character if they didn't). But the way this is meant in a video on beliefs and lies, is one that, when the character comes to resolve it, they are also resolving the story.

The things they believe, and the things they believe that are not true are important to discover, and can point to what the internal conflicts of the characters really are. When they coincide with the external conflicts, then they kind of multiply the impact, and the direction of the story. I would not want to let them go uncultivated.

The story is about them trying to get rich quick, they get in over their heads and then have to get themselves out of trouble. Plain and simple.

Looking at what you've written, I would say the obvious starting point for what they believe that isn't true is that 1) there is a way to get rich quick, 2) there is a way to do it that does not get them in over their heads, and 3) they will be capable of getting themselves out of trouble.

All of those would be a good thing for them to have to come to think differently on.
 

BiggusBeardus

Minstrel
Everyone has things they believe that are not true.

In a story, it is not untypical for the MC to have one (or more) big thing that they believe that is not true, and the evolution of them has them come to believe differently to grow and resolve the story. One way to develop the thing they believe that is not true is to start with what you want to say with your story (we are strong together, for example), and then give the MC something opposite of that (everyone stands alone).

This has been shown many times to be an effective method for creating a story with change and growth. Typically. in a story, all characters begin with things they believe that are not true, but the heroes/Protags change and grow and overcome them, and the villains/Antag's don't--they usually remain static.

Here are some examples.

In Star Wars, a tale I know well, many characters begin with beliefs that are not true.


Luke: Believes he is stuck at home and cannot claim control over his own agency. He believes that the Force is not enough, and it is impossible, maybe even foolish to try and depend on it. He believes in the ideal of his father, and in the rightness of the rebellion.

All of these are untrue. He can leave, he just wont. He can learn the Force, and it is enough. He must confront his father, and accept that good can be corrupted and maybe not brought back.

Han: He believes that there is no value in becoming attached, that money is more important than friends, or doing the right thing. He thinks the Force is hokey and those using it are kooks and old fossils.

But all of these become untrue. He passes on money to save his friends, and trusts Luke to use the Force to destroy the Death Star.

Leia: She believes she cannot be shown to be vulnerable and still be strong enough to lead the rebellion.

But this untrue. She does fall for the scoundrel and finds more strength in it.

Yoda/Obi Wan: Only a fully trained Jedi can defeat Darth Vader. There is no good in him. Must stay and complete the training. Only an agent of evil.

They are wrong. There is still good in him. Luke was not the Jedi they through they needed. His faith in the goodness of others was stronger than their misconception.

Vader: It is too late me, son.

Wrong again. It was not too late. He was reached and the story culminated.

Palpatine: Your faith in your friends is yours....

Wrongo... That was part of his strength, and what the emperor did not get.



All these stories culminated into all of them having to confront what they thought was true, but wasn't. They all believed one thing, and over time came to see that it wasn't.


Another more obvious story...the wizard of Oz.

Dorothy believes she will be happier if she leaves home, and that she lacks the power to return. But...she's always had the power, she just needed to see that it was what she really wanted.

Tin man, Lion, Scarecrow....I mean their whole characters were this. If I only had a brain, or a heart, or courage, but they had always had these things.

The Wizard....If only he was a true wizard, then he could help. In his fear at being discovered, he made a big frightening show. But he always was able to help, he just didn't believe.


And another...Justice League....


Superman believes he has to protect them team, and risk himself always to keep them safe. Its a lie, they are all capable.

Batman believes he is best alone, and does not need the team...He is wrong, the team is needed for many of their problems.

Wonder Woman... She believes in the way of the warrior and lacks compassion and better judgement. She is softened by her teammates and become more the hero than just a heavy hitter.

Hawkgirl, thinks she cannot be forgiven for being aligned with those on her home planet and does not deserve to be a hero, but she is hero, and she can be forgiven.

Flash does not think he is hero enough, and that he is not as capable as the others....he is wrong. Without him, they lose to Brainiac.




After writing all that, I am going to agree with Devor, in that this is not stuff that does not work itself out on its own (usually), and to pick on up something Skip said elsewhere, you have to write your characters for a while to really know them. You don't have to know all this upfront. You can see it develop as it goes.

I am not sure it is possible to write a character that does not have some beliefs that are just not so (or maybe, they would not be much of a character if they didn't). But the way this is meant in a video on beliefs and lies, is one that, when the character comes to resolve it, they are also resolving the story.

The things they believe, and the things they believe that are not true are important to discover, and can point to what the internal conflicts of the characters really are. When they coincide with the external conflicts, then they kind of multiply the impact, and the direction of the story. I would not want to let them go uncultivated.



Looking at what you've written, I would say the obvious starting point for what they believe that isn't true is that 1) there is a way to get rich quick, 2) there is a way to do it that does not get them in over their heads, and 3) they will be capable of getting themselves out of trouble.

All of those would be a good thing for them to have to come to think differently on.
Thanks for the great response! I appreciate you using examples I can understand. Some of these books and such use old classics or disney movies or stuff I have no idea about, so it is hard to follow their examples.

Thanks for pointing out that I may already have my "lies" in my premise. That helps.
 
I think pmmg gives a good overview. And at the same time, I als think it's a good list to show that it's very often something simple and something that follows from the conflict of the story. You can just as easily say about Luke in Star Wars that he wants to leave home and have adventures, but that leaving home is hard (as is starting everything new). And that adventures are not everything they're made out to be. All those points in A New Hope follow from the basic Hero's Journey. And framed that way there's no specific wounds or lies. There's simply the journey. It's all a matter of how you frame it and what other people see in it.

I am not sure it is possible to write a character that does not have some beliefs that are just not so (or maybe, they would not be much of a character if they didn't). But the way this is meant in a video on beliefs and lies, is one that, when the character comes to resolve it, they are also resolving the story.
It is. I've seen these types of characters refered to as iconic characters. Though it might be a bit an older thing. But James Bond is the classic example. At least the previous versions, not the Daniel Craig Bond. But in the older Bond movies, he didn't have any beliefs that were challenged or even had any character growth to speak of. And people still enjoyed the story. The Dirk Pitt novels by Clive Cussler are another, more modern example.

You just need to know what story you're telling. Sometimes, watching awesome people do amazing things is fun. And people can cheer them on. Just know that that's the story you're telling if you go down that route.
 
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