Xenomorph #atzchallenge

Fictional character traits


Xenomorph which literally translates to strange form  (Greek xenos – strange, morphe – form)

We’re three letters away from The End, dear blogging friend, so I’m reaching a little with the impossible letter X.

Is this really a fiction characteristic … well, maybe, maybe not. It is, however, a true and existent character format — the alien.

Xenomorph: A highly aggressive endoparasitoid extraterrestrial species. The Xenomorphs are vicious predatory creatures with no higher goals than the propagation of their species and the destruction of anyone standing in the way.

That’s what Hollywood tells us, anyway.

The science fiction world is full of such characters, some more destructive than others. The genre is not a top choice, although I don’t mind watching the occasional film. I’ve chosen books upon recommendation, but most (Ray Bradbury being an exception) did not carry me to the end.

Maybe I haven’t come across the right xenomorph yet, one to keep me riveted. I’m open to suggestions.

Favorite in the sci-fi genre … well, I’m going to go with E.T.

The kid/alien scenes are darling. Then, again, Spielberg can take a grain of sand from the middle of the desert and develop it into the most compelling emotional character.


Images: pixabay


Wordy #atozchallenge

Fictional character traits

Wordy — verbose, long-winded

Wordiness is a symptom of anxiety perhaps, (covered earlier), or tension. Wordy diversions also explore class differences, privilege, intellectualism. In some cases, we need it for backstory told by characters designed to appear talkative. Those characters are rarely around long, or interest audiences beyond their utilitarian existence.

Once in a while, we come across the delightfully wordy. In Henry Fool, we get nothing short of a grammar lesson. Thomas Jay Ryan, aka Henry Fool, has a way of infusing mundane moments with charm – even in a lesson about the differences between there, they’re and their. With a cigarette hanging from his lip, Henry offers a grammar lesson that’s absurdly long, natural, and captivating.


What about a good old-fashioned lesson on proper talkin’, folks? Imagine one such character digging into the correct use for it’s, or ranting about how ‘ve is not the same as of.

Viggo Mortensen’s Hitch teaches Ed Harris’ Cole the finer points of language, and it’s a delight to watch. When Cole can’t find the word to describe what he’s thinking, Hitch helps through grammarian banter and proper punctuation with a display of cowboy testosterone.

Stories are a collection of words crafted into narrative and dialogue, but we rarely hear them spoken with nerdy aplomb. For good reason. It’s the melodrama, scandal, eroticism the writer or filmmaker wants to capture. So, when a story character finds his way into the world of wordy education, that is a rush of entertainment.


Images: pixabay, pinterest

Violent #atozchallenge

Fictional character traits

Violent — aggressive, vicious

If you’ve seen a Tarantino film or The Godfather, you’ve seen more than enough violent characters and violence, to the point another fictional killing must work hard to register its aggression.

I have high tolerance for onscreen violence if not senseless. Or constant. Fiction needs highs and lows – build on the highs, hang tight on the lows. But I understand there are horror fans. We’re all unique in our beautiful, interesting, creepy ways.  (smiley face)

However, I can get behind violent characters with psychological depth. Back to The Godfather and Michael Corleone (Al Pacino). There is complexity and layered personality to his gruesome transition from nice guy to disgusting human: devoted to family and his partner, reluctant to join father’s crooked business. An extremely complex character, albeit violent and/or creator of violence.

In The Fall, BBC drama, Jamie Dornan plays a serial killer alongside Gillian Anderson (stellar performance) as police superintendent.

The crimes are partially shown, but the chilling effect comes in the aftermath. A well-developed character from a psychological standpoint, with vulnerable moments galore, and while making  a play for our hearts, not in the least likeable.

In the end, we see this disgusting and good-looking man suffer at his own hand. The story, however morbid, makes good use of the killer’s character to come full circle.

Images; pixabay, jdornanlife

Unforgiving #atozchallenge

Fictional character traits

Unforgiving – intolerant, demanding.

A word with more meaning than we have time. In the poem If by  Rudyard Kipling, we have the unforgiving moment – once up, the minute is forever gone. We have the unforgiving sunlight, the unforgiving tone. Unforgiving mistress (something courted, unpredictable, severe).

I like the trait in fictional characters that keep coming at audiences, demanding of attention, tough. The human with superhuman vibe.

Alice in Resident Evil — if only the filmmakers didn’t try so hard. Still, gotta love Milla Jovovich, who knows how not to play a damsel in distress. 

Unforgiving is also Professor Escalante (real-life story) portrayed by Edward James Olmos in Stand and Deliver (1988).

Professor Escalante was threatened with dismissal when coming in too early, leaving too late, and failing to get permission to raise funds for Advanced Placement tests. He demanded more of his students (all from low-income families, bad neighborhoods).

In 1982, Escalante came into the spotlight when 18 of his students passed the Advanced Placement Calculus exam. The Testing Service found the scores suspicious. Fourteen students retook the test and all did well enough to have their scores reinstated. One of Escalante’s students said:  If he wants to teach us that bad, we can learn.

Unforgiving in a good way.

Writers rely on language and meaning by reaching for the middle ground, or by taking a trait, negative on its face (unforgiving), and showing its positive effects. Because ~ It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it — Jack Kerouac


Images: pixabay, theawl