Mar 24 2014

A favorite character

If I select one of my own characters for this, the others will murder me in my sleep. Or, worse, they’ll shut up, because they know how I feel about the silent treatment.
(Only writers can talk about imaginary people like this without sounding totally crazy.)

            My favorite
character from a short story is Rainbow Crow, the most beautiful bird on Earth.
Rainbow Crow has the sweetest voice of all the birds. Using song, Rainbow Crow
earns the gift of Fire. The cost of the gift is very high, for sparks and soot
erase the rainbow of colors from the bird’s feathers, and the smoke and ash
destroy the beautiful voice. Crow uses Fire to save his friends from the cold
snow. Of course, he is sad, because he has lost so very much. The Great Sky
Spirit then rewards Crow’s bravery and unselfish deed by giving him the gift of
Freedom. Crow’s changes have made him inedible- so he will not be hunted, he
sings terribly- so he will not be captured, and his black feathers will not be
wanted, because only those who look closely will see the shine that reflects
the rainbow of Earth’s colors.

 

            This
character evokes pride, happiness, courageousness, hope, love, confidence, and
respect. Crow never doubts that he will successfully reach his goal, even
though it sounds impossible. There’s a moment of feeling bad for this hero when
he loses so much, but then there’s the powerful punch of learning that the loss
is really a gain.

 

            The short
story does not offer much background information on the character. It is enough
to know that he is brave and willing. There’s a subtle bit that shows what he
has to lose, but the story doesn’t need to spend tons of words pointing it out
beforehand.

 

            Rainbow
Crow is a favorite character of mine because he doesn’t just overcome, he transforms
into something greater. Not something greater that would be obvious, mind you,
but something greater that is mysteriously overlooked and not considered by
those who do not know the story. A possible lesson from this is that a hero
does not have to become more popular, famous, or rich by the end of a story; a
“reward” that is part of an unexpected change, one that might not
seem so great at first, can be far more powerful to the reader. The change in
the character gives the story a great and unexpected plot twist. What made Crow
the most memorable for me was not who he was at the beginning, but how (once he
learned about the gift of Freedom) he handled who he became by the end.



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4 comments

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  1. Don’t worry, I understand about characters getting jealous and having their own needs! It’s a special kind of crazy, but you’re not alone.

    • J Lenni Dorner on March 28, 2014 at 2:02 AM

    LOL. Thanks.  

  2. Ah, I love the message behind this one. I agree that rainbow crow sounds like an extraordinary character. Growth and how a character reacts to circumstances is one of the best things we can get out of a story. Thank you so much for sharing!
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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed. 🙂

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