How to write science fiction & fantasy - part five | Damien Walter | Skillshare

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How to write science fiction & fantasy - part five

teacher avatar Damien Walter, Writer for The Guardian, BBC, Wired.

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (49m)
    • 1. Intro to MARVEL Metanarratives

    • 2. Powers of the Supergods

    • 3. A full set of archetypes

    • 4. Metanarratives

    • 5. Origin Stories

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About This Class

Meta-narratives are stories that contain many stories. And no story is more meta than MARVEL.

The fifth workshop in Advanced Scifi & Fantasy : writing the 21st century myth, explores the character archetypes at the heart of the MARVEL's Supergods.

Men make gods in our own image, the image of who we long to become.

Our stories show us the humans we could be, the potential we might fulfill. The warrior’s path. The healer’s craft. The magician’s skill. The ruler’s wisdom. Our stories shape the archetypal paths of human existence.

Then the archetypes become our gods.

Ancient culture’s worshipped pantheons of gods that showed us our highest potential. These archetypal beings were reborn in every culture. Now we have given them birth again in the modern world.

Meet Your Teacher

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Damien Walter

Writer for The Guardian, BBC, Wired.


Damien Walter ( BA / MA / PGCHE / HEA) teaches good writers how to be great. His research and critical writing have been published in The Guardian, Wired, BBC, The Independent, Aeon and with Oxford University Press. He is a former director of creative writing at the University of Leicester, a member of the Higher Education Academy, and a graduate of the Clarion writers workshop taught by Neil Gaiman. He consults widely for businesses in technology, healthcare, and manufacturing to help them tell great stories.


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1. Intro to MARVEL Metanarratives: Welcome back to advanced sci-fi and fantasy writing, the 21st century. If this is the fifth workshop, if you happen to have just joined us, I recommend going back and watching workshops one to four. But this is a course in writing sci-fi and fantasy storytelling at advanced levels, we are looking beyond cliche, beyond stereotype, beyond genre. We're looking at how we write myths for the modern age of science. And in this fifth workshop, we are looking at Marvel superheroes, The Avengers movies, and the phenomenon of the super god, the reinvention of the pantheon of mythic beings that has existed in every culture. And why we might have brought back the super gods for our age of materialism and science, where many people might believe that we no longer believe in gods. And yet millions, even billions of us headlong to the cinema or the streaming platform to tune in to the stories of super gods today. 2. Powers of the Supergods: We knew the world would not be the same. Every member in the Ryan from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. 529 am, June 16, 1945. Humankind crosses a cosmic boundary, looking into the nucleophile as the physicist Alan Oppenheimer sees that humanity now holds the power to destroy worlds and perhaps to create them. Darling, You have no idea when it's bus. But the payload of the atom was just one in a tidal wave of technologies unleashed by humankind, spaceflight, genetic manipulation, general computation, the Internet and virtual digital worlds gave humanity by the late 20th century powers. If seeming magic, it's just science that we don't understand yet. In the decades since humans have struggled to control of growing pounds, the historian and intellectual Noah you bow Harare argues that humankind, once Homo sapiens is being transformed by technology into Homo Deus, man has gone. What goal of humankind do with the palace of the gods? We destroy ourselves, or will we be heroes? They do though. Everybody in this room is about that superior real life. The Marvel Cinematic Universe tells the origin story of humankind awakening to and coming to terms with how new super powers, while here in reality prime, World War II was one with nuclear weapons and the Marvel Universe. The real-world is fought between the genetically engineered super soldier and a tesseract. We'll De Sica them in an attempt to recreate the first super soldier, unleashed the most powerful and angry highest level enhanced humans. A runaway alien soldier brings to, for the first time, to Pala, cosmic, a genius philanthropist Playboy harnesses a new energy source and transforms himself into a super powered weapon. And 1200 year-old to the as guardian throne is hold down from a higher plane of reality to become worthy. Add in a ninja, a super spy, a trickster god, and an army of levitating space caterpillars. And all the elements are in place for the apocalyptic events of the Avengers movies and the birth of a new pantheon of gods. For the age of science, every age has its gods, but none have been brought to life with such high technology as the avenges, Uber fans. But the Marvel mythos argue over the relative contributions of Stan Lee, Editor in Chief, and Jack Kirby, chief creative visionary of the Golden Age of Marvel Comics. But the truth is that like whole great mythologies, generations of storytellers and thousands of creative visionaries have brought two days super gods to life. The Disney Corporation was in deep decline when it bought Pixar Animation in 2006. In practice, it was the Steve Jobs owned pixel who took over the dying days knee. The outcome was a uniquely powerful technology stack to bring our new super gods to life. Men, make gods in our own image. The image of who we long to become. Our Stories Show us to humans, we could be to potential we might fulfill. The warrior has come to here, Let's crush the magician skill. The rule is wisdom. Our stories shaped the archetype of paths of human existence. Then the archetypes become Alec goes. Ancient cultures worshiped pantheon of gods that showed us our highest potential. These archetype or beings we're reborn in every culture across time. Now, we have given them birth again. The modern world that a creator who crafts weapons of metal, if Feist us to the ancient Greeks, should fascia in Hindu culture to mug and culture. Iron Man, the ruler who must learn to be worthy of Pala for Odin son to the North and to us today. For still, the every man who hides in smallness but has the strength of giants, the ordinary mortals among the gods. Like how our own, Scott Lang, the Ant-Man, the magician who steps between worlds and beyond all boundaries, Hermes fall off or Dr. Steven Strange, the hela, who holds the power of life and of death. Bridget to the cults optimise Diana and the gluco Romer weld all. Today. Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow, digesta, remarks the powerful, the highs. So stall loads to the world itself was really nice fit children, long-term peta, quell. The outlaw who transgress is all rules for the sheer joy of chaos, ethnicity and to the Celts, areas to the Greeks today, the ultraviolet, Deadpool, the innocent who remains youthful and pure well confronting evil. Galileo had in our fury and myth, Peter Parker as Spider-Man to us today, the sage who holds the deepest and their knowledge, or Joker noticed order to unified when Bruce Banner and the Hulk become one, the explorer who seeks freedom from old frame is porous, the shining sun god. Today, I want Silver Surfer, the lover who seeks true intimacy, the most loved and the most sacrificed Gomorrah, daughter of shred this universe down to its rushed out and learn. Stones you've collected for me, create a new one. T we would live. If Alice, stupid gods show us the highest human potential. Super villains show us the lowest. Loci, the trickster caught in his own lines. Ronan, the accuser, consumed by hatred, Ultram to logical mind, turned murderous. Phenols derived from Thanatos, the Lord of death, the destroyer of all life in the universe. For generation after generation, humans lived fear of death. We told the stories and the dome. We dreamed of beating the night. We invented gods to wash it. We created hero's to save us. The hero, the one who resists death, who fights back against all odds. We can do this all day. Long. Calculus, Lancelot, Odysseus and Steve Rogers. However, godlike technology makes us, however great powers become. We will always face destruction, despair, and death. We will always need our heroes. Every villain believes that they are the heroes of the story. Even fan us believes his Craven Pala hunger serves the greater good. The gods of every age and culture were trapped in eternal conflict, struggling for power over space and time, mind and solve Calla and reality. There will always be a more bad ask God seeking power over infinity. The true hero realises that liberation lies and giving away the power of infinity and giving up the shield in accepting a mortal life to experience both deaf and love. What will humankind do with the powers of the gods? Will we struggle forever for more and more power? Or will we be the most heroic thing of all? Human? 3. A full set of archetypes: My name is Damian Walter. If you haven't followed that so far in the course. I am a writer of sci-fi and a critic for places such as the Guardian, BBC, Wired, BuzzFeed, bunch of other places graduate at the Clarion writer's workshop. Just to recap. And what brought me into this workshop was a, a Twitter exchange with the very great writer and myth-making, Neil Gaiman about what the greatest 21st Century myth is. And I had listed some myths and I included the Marvel superheroes along with them. And Neil pointed out that these were all very 20th century myths. And that got me thinking about why we might want to find new myths for the 21st century. But I'm divided about whether the Marvel superheroes, which clearly had their origin in the 20th century, our 21st Century myth or not. I'd love to know your opinions. Leave a comment wherever you find this workshop. Let's review some of the material that has been covered so far. One of the things we've been looking at across these workshops, uh, techniques for telling sci-fi and fantasy stories and 21st century myth-making. The first of these techniques that we've looked at across the series is the eternal question. At the heart of every great mythic story or these eternal questions that we asked. What is the nature of reality? What is it to be a human being? And in the case of the Marvel movies, now of course there are 21 movies. And we've all these techniques. We have the techniques that are at the heart of each movie. But there's also a matter, narrative. We're gonna be talking about this metanarrative question 3, this workshop. And that's a terminal question at the heart of the metanarrative that crosses all 21 movies. What is that question? It's about power. How do we, as mortal human beings willpower? And what is it to be a hero, a superhero, or a villain, a supervillain? And I would suggest that the eternal question that all of the Marvel franchise, the Marvel Universe explores. And in a way that all superheroes explore is the question of how humans gain power, how we will power, and how we use power for good or for ill. Also, in all of these 21 movies at the Marvel franchise so far you might be watching this in the future when there are more than 21, when there are maybe a dozen streaming shows and another 20 movies. But we're looking at this first 21 OK, that went from Iron Man and chronologically from Captain America, The First Avenger to the completion in the fourth Avengers movie Avengers Endgame. And that geology of movies, Avengers, Infinity War and Endgame. I've rewatched all of this in the preparation of this workshop, which has been hard work. It's tough work rewatching 21 Marvel superhero movies. I got no fun from that at all. The other technique that we've looked at, or one of a number of them is the Novum, the new element. At the heart of any great sci-fi fantasy story. The classic Novum, maybe the greatest know vermin all storytelling of science fiction is the mom left from 2001 also to wondering from Lord of the Rings, maybe coming to that in a future workshop. I might have said that the next workshop, the fifth workshop would be on Lord of the Rings or change your mind. I think we need to look at superheroes. So we are doing that. The Novum, the Novum, the new element at the heart of the story. What's the new thing that every part of this massive metanarrative of marvel connects to. Of course, it's the infinity stones. Many, arguably most of the Marvel superheroes receive their powers in some way or another from the infinity stones. And they of course, are the Novum at the heart of this overriding stories. And they stand for infinity. They weren't present. Both infinity and the six dimensions on which infinity can be mastered. Space, Time, mind, soul, reality and power, and amazed I remembered all six of those. We then moved on from the Novum and looked at their hero's journey. And of course, the hero's journey is central. And to all of the 21 Marvel superhero movies. And to the overriding OK that follows them. But Marvel, unlike Star Wars, we looked at star was released an example of how to fail a hero's journey storytelling, how to start strong, but then how to fail at going beyond the Hero's Journey. And marvel is exceptional in many ways, these Disney Marvel movies, because they succeed in going beyond the Hero's Journey. And they do that primarily as we'll get into in the workshop through the story arc of Steve Rogers, captain America, but also for the thunder god and of Iron Man. Tony Stark, billionaire philanthropists, Playboy, even when he doesn't have his arm or OEM. Also, we've dived into the archetypes. We're using the model of Carl Young to look at the archetypes isn't the only model, but it is a very, very powerful one. And essentially two kinds of archetypes to 12 archetypes that manifest as mortal beings. And then you could define it as kind of seven to a dozen A&R archetypes like the shadow, like the anima, like the trickster or shape shifter. And others as well, got a little bit more coming on the trickster archetype. Maybe I want to say something about loci, the tricks to God and we can get a little deeper into the trickster archetype. But what's exceptional about the Marvel movies? Again, you know, many people might, might think the Marvel movies and trash because they're very successful. This connection is often made. I would rarely reject that characterization. I have to say that in the entire history of humans storytelling, which you could all get to be about 15 thousand years. I think there's 21 movie narrative arc might be the greatest piece of storytelling other not perfect, There's other kinds of storytelling that and better in other ways. But one of the reasons is because it does the full set of all the archetypes. It doubles some of them up in fact and explores them in other dimensions. And that's one of the reasons why exception, it is so exceptional. And we're going to dive a little deeper into this exceptional illness of the Marvel movies by looking deeper archetype and at Meta narrative, what am I talking about? With metanarrative? 4. Metanarratives: Narrative is, it's a nice word for a story. Narrative already focuses on the idea of progression. Let's dive into this a little bit. It's a little bit of a rabbit hole, but let's go into it. The difference between story and narrative, storing is the experience of being inside a, being immersed within an experience within another human consciousness. In a sense, narrative plucks little bit out of story and it focuses on the progression, the narration. Actually the root of narrative, constant Sanskrit, nora, which is a word for human being, human progression, narrative. So a metanarrative is a narrative with many narratives within a story that contains many stories. These are unique with RE, into metanarratives in contemporary culture, we of course have Star Wars, Game of thrones, Lord of the Rings, arguably as well. But nothing has been as powerful at telling a metanarrative in contemporary culture as the Disney Marvel franchise. And we're going to try and think about why metanarratives aren't unique in history as well. You can go back to the Canterbury Tales, a story that contains many stories, Thousand and One Nights story that contains many stories, many other great Indian Hindu myths, the Ramayan, rama Mahabharata, stories that contain many stories metanarratives. But for a long time we kind of lost this ambition when I was a kid. Going to see a C-Cl at the cinema was almost a guarantee that you're going to see a bad film. Because in the way that Star Wars failed at becoming a metanarrative more recently, what c equals tried to do was just tell the same story over and over again, repeat this success that have been made to a previous movie. And it was often a mystery, but we know much more about that success now. And C calls are no longer when that good. An attempt to remake a previous film. What they're trying to do is flash out the metanarrative. And as a writer, we could phrase this. We can place this out there as the ultimate challenge for the writer, not just to tell one story, but to follow a match a narrative, a story that contains many stories. How do we do it? How do you do this? I think this could be the big question for writers who are really looking for big commercial success these days, because this is where the commercial opportunities for writers are for storytellers. It's in the creation of these big metanarratives or these franchises. There's huge demand for the writers who can do this. I would say that at the core of this are the archetypes. This is why I foreshadowed the archetypes for two of the previous workshops. I'm going to try and pull this all together in the fifth workshop. Pam, archetypes give you the material, the structure, the energy, the engine, the drive to create these metanarratives. I've already set some of these sound in the introductory video essay for this workshop, that the Marvel franchise contains all of the metanarratives. Correction, the Marvel franchise contains all of the archives, all of the archetypes. So we have in character is like Iron Man. We have the creator, Iron Man, Tony Stark to create a meriting gods like Vulcan. I'm not gonna go through all of these now. We've laid them out in the introductory video essay, but you have the full set of the union archetypes. Some of them are repeated. You could also argue some of them are combined. And this is an interesting side note that Steve Rogers is Captain America is the hero. But he's also in a way the every man. Because this mirrors some of the values of our culture. We don't want to think of the hero is the son of a god as Achilles from Greek myth. Because this kind of character isn't compelling for us. We see the highly privileged prince who becomes the hero, the son of a god. As a full hero, they lack something that we want. We want them to have. We can says humility. We want to see that our hero who is a muscular sex symbol as well. But he started off as a weakling and 98 pound wetness socks weakling. And that's what we do. We kinda combine two archetypes into Steve Rogers. But if you work with these archetypes, you can trace that journeys. And this is in the matter sense, what the Marvel movies are doing. Side-note, of course the Marvel movies do a lot else. They are exciting, they're humorous, they all fill of incredible special effects, as we've noted already, the technology stack that Disney Marvel, Pixar, Apple have access to is beyond the technology stack that any other film studio or any other source of technology in the world can equal for visualizing these effects. But the framework, the skeleton that this all hangs on, the journeys of the major archetypes. So the 21 movie is built around three core archetypes. Iron Man is the Creator, Tony stock. We follow this through three movies. And what does iron man fight? It's a good question really. You know, what is Iron Man really in conflict with? It's his own technology. It's the subversion of his own technology. It's his own creations, their limitations. He's evolving his own creations. His powers are rooted in Hayes metal AMA, his technology. And of course in his creativity. He is an inventor and the innovator we would call him. He's often compared to Elon Musk or Elon Musk is compared to Tony Stark because part of his power is in that innovation and it's in the ways that, that technology goes wrong. I'm part of Iron Man's arc, is in giving up his technology and outgrowing it. So this is the hero's journey for the creator or creators journey. The second major archetype or journey the ruler in full. Now, the journey is a little bit undermined by the fact that the first two full movies aren't quite as good as the others. It's like that looking for the character of four. But I've certainly sat down and counted out the rulers journey. What happens to for the fun to God? Hit the beginning of his art is his father, the archetype or ruler Odin, costing him out and saying you're not worthy, you are not worthy of the powers that a ruler. So I'm gonna cost you out. And he discovers his worthiness when he discovers self-sacrifice, when he's willing to sacrifice himself as a newly mortal being on behalf of humanity. And this is what we look for in the ruler. It's the quality of self-sacrifice. Then this, we kind of lose the thread and the second full maybe give it up. And then the third movie you would bring it back again because four is challenge for the throne by Sister, goddess of death. One of the villains like phenols that explores how the wielding of these powers, how the ruler can go wrong. And then the third major archetype bowl is the hero's journey. And we have this played out in Captain America, as we say, who is also balanced with some aspects of the every man. We're going to look at origin stories in this workshop as well. So we'll get more deeply into that. But it's primarily the hero's journey. And it is the full seven stages of the Hero's Journey that we looked at in the third workshop, going beyond the hero's journey. So whereas Luke Skywalker in Star Wars movies is denied his full ONC, some people have commented the parts of the arc are there, That's true. Parts of the complete hero's journey. I'll there. But it's not really realized in the films and that's a shame. It wouldn't be much stronger if they'd been able to do that. But where we do find it in our contemporary storytelling culture is in Captain America, Steve Rogers. So how did these seven stages play out? Because they do it in a clever way. The first movie, Captain America, The First Avenger, does the first four stages of the seven stage archetypal heroes journey. So you have killed a monster. After we see the origin story, Steve Rogers becoming Captain America. He has allowed off the leaping out of the machine that turns him into Captain America and the drug that does that. He's allowed to chase the agent who has killed his mentor, his creator, who then leaps into a submarine which is the monster. And the monster's killed by Steve Rogers. Stage 1, stage 2, rags to riches. Instead of taking out his true destiny, the hero is lowered by an easier path which gives him riches, fame, fortune, rags to riches. But we also find that this is the wrong path. And then ultimately the hero reconnects with his friends, which is the soldiers fighting the Second World War. Steve Rogers goes and fights the Second World War fully. Rags to riches. The return to the true heroes, destiny. Then there's a quest, doesn't mini quest squeezed. And this is the third stage of the AAC. The hero was given a quest by often by the dark king, which is the powerful forces who are becoming shield and the general play by Tommy Lee Jones, he gives a quest to Steve Rogers. And on that quest, the heroine loses one of his companions. It's all very archetype. Well, this is all being done very deliberately to shape this story. Ok, and then finally the voyage and return. Steve Rogers gets onto a giant flying ship. He takes the voyage away. Ship crashed lands in the ice, and then he has the return, his awakening in the modern world, kill the monster rags to riches, quest, voyage and return four stages or condensed into one movie, which is why that movie is so interesting. It's a very unusual narrative structure. And the first captain America movie, it's one of the best Marvel movies. But arguably the best Marvel movie is the second Captain America film, The Winter Soldier. Again, this does a lot of things that make it so good. It has the play on the seventies spy for ELA, the Manchurian Candidate kind of thing. But what it is archetype Ali, is the comedy, the comedy stage of the seven stage journeys, of the Hero's Journey. This doesn't mean that the film is family, although it does have some humor. And the point of the comedy is that the hero has a flaw in his knowledge. In this case, it's quite literal floor. Steve Rogers, Captain America doesn't realize that shield is really a front organization for Hydra. The organization that he was fighting from the very beginning. But the point to the comedy is that this floor and the knowledge is resolved. And the hero arise back in friendship with all of the characters that the fluorine is knowledge separated him from. So initially Steve Rogers is separated from everybody, including even black widow and Tasha Romanoff. But then one by one, he recollects his friends and he resolves the fluorine, his self knowledge that is driving the comedy. It's classical comedy structure and it's why that film is so good. Because all of the other strengths to the movie rest upon that rarely, rarely intelligent, well for towel dramatic structure. The third capture in American movies, civil wool, also a brilliant film. And this is the tragedy. Very similar. There's a floor in the character's self knowledge. This is played out in quite a complex way, a rarely satisfyingly complex way in Civil War. Because there's also a floor and Tony stocks knowledge as Iron Man. And they both share the same floor, which is the knowledge of who killed Tony stocks parents. And this shed floor and self knowledge brings both characters into conflict. And the reason this is a tragedy is because in Civil War the conflict is not resolved. It breaks the characters upon, breaks all of the Avengers apart. There's a final battle between them. They are separated. And in a moment of great symbolism, Captain America, Steve Rogers gives up his shield because he's shamed by Tony. Stop. Brilliant. Brilliant. The tragedy is fully implemented. So this is the first six stages. Kill, monster, rags to riches, quest, voyage and return. And we have the comedy and tragedy. And then we have the rebuff for the the final Avengers movies, Avengers, Infinity War Avengers Endgame. Steve Rogers, Captain America. As the complete Hero's Journey is reborn. He comes back, he has a beard, he's aged, he's wiser. He's a different character. And through the journey of fighting Thanos, right up until the point where Steve grabs the hammer, one of the most amazing movement moments in storytelling ever see audience isn't Cinema. See that moment, whether Hamlet comes across the battlefield and he's confronting fan us, he is reborn. He's reborn. And then finally, through the rebuff, he achieves mythic legendary status as a hero by giving up his powers. He could, Captain America, Steve Rogers could have taken the infinity stones for himself, but he gives them all away. He gives up his own palace and he goes back to being a mortal being. So he can experience love and experience death. And amazing hero's journey. I doubt we'll see another hero's journey in our lifetimes, as powerful as that of Captain America. But we're going to dive into next, the origins story, the powers that hero's journey. 5. Origin Stories: How do we make Captain America? How do we shape a character of the power Steve Rogers or indeed any other superhero? And we do it with the origins story. Origins stories, then not unique to superheroes. In a sense, every character must have an origin story. But they do power superheroes. And there are central to superheroes. There is no great superhero that doesn't have a great origins story. But the origins story is not about the superpower. Of course. He does tell you whether CIF pals came from, we know this Superman's origin, Clark Kent, Superman's origin on Krypton. And then being transported to WAF with the modern, more powerful sun is where Superman's pal has come from. Okay? But this is secondary to the importance of the origin story. We will talk a little bit more about the palace. Once we've looked at what's primary and what's primary values. We give this character a set of values. And the values emerge from a clash of values. Okay, it's the clash of values that is at the heart of the story, of the origins story. And let's look at this. Thus, we'll just look at it with Steve Rogers. Okay, let's complete our examination of Steve Rogers, Captain America. So what do we have as an origin story? We have basically a Brooklyn orphan boy, perhaps one of the most miserable, intense, I don't mean tons of being a happy, all miserable person, but one of the lowest backgrounds a human can come from. So he's a man who's very small. He's very weedy, is very weak physically. He's an orphan. He has no standing in the world. He doesn't have rich parents. He's not a prince, is the opposite of a prince. He's mostly an outcast. He's Buddy by people. He doesn't have a very good friend, which helps. He inspires loyalty and people already. But what does this week background do for Steve Rogers? Of course, it gives him great moral strength, great strength of character. He's not physically strong, but he can be beaten up and and get up and he can say, I can do this all day. Okay? And it's what we actually value in Steve Rogers is that inner strength, not his physical strength. And then it's that inner strength, his willingness to sacrifice himself on a hand grenade, which is the reason that he has given the gift of the physical strength. Because most physically strong characters, and they've explored this quite often in the couch in America franchise. When someone who is born with great physical strength is given the powers of Captain America. He's corrupted by them, but Steve Rogers isn't corrupted. And this is what we want in our hero. We want humility, weakness plus strength equals humility. We want to humble hero. And this is what's really defined in the origin story, is this quality of humility from these clashing characteristics of weakness and strength. And then we give a symbol. So this symbol of Captain America is the shield. Of course it says super soldier strength, but it's really the shield. And the shield symbolizes the humility. It's quite humble weapon, a shield. He is a protector. You could give him a sword. He'd be a very different character if you did that very different kind of symbol. Let's look at the greatest, the most famous superhero of all time, Superman, Clark Kent. And he's a similar character in some ways, but it happens in the, on the way. He has given great strength initially from his grip, Charney and heritage. And then this is combined with family, family values. You know, he's brought up in a mortal family that has good values. The strength of Clark Kent, Superman really comes from his folder and then loss of the fall on them. And the collision of strength and family gives you compassion, compassionate Superhero. Let's just list some more. Batman. Bruce Wayne and Batman, He's really a very dark character. We will talk a little bit why, why at the end of this workshop when we look at real heroes, but he's a doc, character. Because really if you were to look realistically at the character Bruce Wayne, He's not a good person. He is at best an anti-hero, perhaps a true villain, because he's born into wealth, huge wealth and privilege. And then because of events, he sees himself as the victim. Bruce Wayne believes himself to be the victim in the weld. And this leads him to be a warrior for justice. And characters who fight for justice are often actually the villains. So that's very interesting thing to think about what Batman, Black Widow, Natasha Romanov. And she has this combination of innocence, the young girl, the paragon of innocence, the symbol of innocence, who is then corrupted by torture for a specific kind of torture, essentially in the red room where she is trained by the KGB to be the ultimate weapon. Innocence plus torture produces a weapon, a human weapon in the world. And then that character has to decide how they use themselves as a weapon and that's a big pot and attach a Romanovs. Ok, the archetype block of the HeLa, which is balanced with that, the hope intellect, the pure intellectual who has repressed so much of themselves, repress their anger. And it comes out as of course, a monster, monstrous character, the Hulk, Iron Man, Tony Stark, privilege, great privilege and wealth. A bit like Batman combined to have guilt. He doesn't see himself as the victim. He has shown that he is the evil in the world and he has to correct that he does that as the creator. Of course, in all of these are then given a symbol. And it's the superpower, the costume, the alter-ego, that is the symbol, Captain America. It's the shield. I am manage the AMA, Batman. It's the bat identity, which mirrors elements of the gods of the underworld and that kind of thing, The Hulk, the symbol is the greenness, the gamma radiation that makes sense. And you know, you can go through and combine all of these. And the importance of the origins story is in this triumvirate, the clash of values that produce a value that we admire as a society humidity and Captain America. That's the second. And then the third is the symbol that you join up with that. But one of the things that the origins story reveals is that if we were to look at them through a more realistic lens, many or arguably all superheroes would actually be very problematic. Human beings. They might be terrible people. In reality. This was something that was highlighted by what's come to be called the British invasion of comics. And writers like Alamo, Neil Gaiman, grammars and number of others as well. And there was an aspect to British culture. The wasn't comfortable with accepting the superhero on face value as a character. So all of these writers did, was asked the question, if we looked at this human being with this combination of characteristics and their origins story, if we looked at them realistically, what would they actually be? I'm Alan Moore really defined this way of looking at the superhero. With Watchmen. Watchmen is become more famous for its film and now television adaptations. But these somewhat miss the point. What are the moments doing? Alan Moore was taking archetype bowl characters, archetypal superheroes, and looking at what they might really be. So in watchman, you have the character of, I've forgotten the name. It's not a joke. Okay, I've forgotten the name of the character now. But he is an archetype of Captain America basically. And he remakes Captain America is this kind of very right-wing. Gross. Like Republican American character. He smokes cigars and he goes and represses nations that America wants to extract resources from. And that's what he's, his character does. And you can see that this is exactly what counts in America would end up doing. He wouldn't be a heroic character until we'd be rarely rela, rather villainous and embodying much should the worst of American values rather than the best of them. Rorschach in the watchman is the archetype of Batman. He is, he is the avenging character, the character that perpetually sees itself as a victim and Alamo undermine Stacy shows that role. Shaq is the kind of the, the young, angry male archetype based in victim that is continually taking out it's anger on other people and you ultimately fail. More sorrow for the villains that Roar shack is persecuting. And this is, this is a very entertaining and amusing and intellectually interesting exercise to go through. To look at these superheroes, super gods. To look at their archetypes, to look at an archetype or journey to look at the origins story that sparks the archetypal Gianni. And to deconstruct up, it sees an active cultural deconstruction to look at how those heroes will actually operate if they were real people. And that leads us to the workshop exercise, final part of our workshop today, an exercise for you to take home. To build your own stories, create your own 21st century myths. And they say is, of course, to write an origin story. You can put as much time maintenance as long as you want to. You can, in the most simple sense, just do it in a paragraph. Every origins story can be told in a paragraph. You can do Batman's, you can do American, captain America's origins story in a simple paragraph. So you can just write a paragraph or a few pages. Rights complete short story if you want to. Telling the origins story of a superhero. But the point is to focus on that triumvirate. The clash of values, weakness and strength. The value of this produces humility. And the symbol of those values, the shield, in the sense of Captain America, right, your superhero origins story with that triumvirate. And then explore its reality. Flip it around. And think about what would the reality of you'll superhero be, assuming that had those characteristics, had the origins story. What archetype, what is the reality of the oncotype that they are fulfilling? How would that realistic archetype or Gianni play out? Okay, I hope you get something from that workshop. This is being the fifth of the workshops for advanced sci-fi and fantasy writing. My name is Daniel Walter. Thank you for joining me in this. Again. The sixth workshop will be on Lord of the Rings. And we'll be looking at how all of the techniques that we've explored, the Novum, the eternal question, the archetypes, the origins story, all play out in Lord of the Rings, but also another technique which is emotion, real human emotion and placing that at the core of our stories. So I hope you will join me for that next workshop. Thank you very much. Goodbye.