- Character Development Page

Here is the fourth and final installment  

in the Character Development Section.

 Forming A Character

By Peter Marucci

Probably the first thing beginning journalists are taught is the "five double-yous".  

Or "5Ws", if you prefer!

That's "who, what, where, when, and why", the five things that must be  

answered in any news story that the reporter plans to write.

The same might be said of bizarre magick because it is, after all, basically story-telling, or reporting, albeit to a smaller audience than a newspaper.

But that doesn't mean we can be any less vigilant in making sure all the  

bases are covered.

We have already discussed the "who" - that is, who you want your character to be.

The "what" is what you are doing, and that's pretty much up to you.

The "when", "where" are also up to you, or your and your audience.

But the "why" is another cauldron of fish.

Just exactly why are you doing bizarre magick in the first place?

Some think it's obvious but, when asked, are stuck for an answer.

In my lecture, Bizarre Magick, I point out that there are many definitions of bizarre magick (from ghoulish to story-telling) but they all have one thing in common:

They must - that's MUST - touch the audience on a higher emotional level than a normal magic show.

Just as the lead in a dramatic play can be more emotionally moving than a stand-up comic, so you - as a bizarre magician - must be more emotionally moving than, say, a birthday-party magician.

Not that there is anything wrong with a birthday-party magician. It's just that the focus is different from that of the bizarre performer.

So, the next question might be, why is your character more emotionally moving?

Well, it's because he has something to say, a point to make, a stand to present and defend.

And, in doing so, you then define the type of character you want the audience to accept you as - in other words, you come up with the "why" of your character.

For example, say you want to play a Merlin-type wizard in a modern setting. The "why" in that case is that you are trying to pass on some of the vast storehouse of your knowledge to modern people and their present-day situations.

You are doing this through bizarre magic, stories that have a magical overtone.

Or, perhaps, you are a Goth bizarrist. The "why" this time is that you are presenting your personality in a non-Goth world - and, in the process of what you do (the stories, the magic, etc.), you are explaining your character to the audience.

A modern-day vampire may try to build sympathy for his fate of having to wander the world for eternity, never finding the peace and rest of death. And, to relate this to the audience, he might perform various bizarre magic routines as a demonstration of his plight.

An angel, on the other hand, may perform bizarre magic routines for the audience to demonstrate the goodness of heaven or the benefits of following an angelic path.

It would be no good if an angel demonstrated the plight of someone forced to wander the earth forever, like a vampire.

Where is the empathy? Where is the connection to the audience? Where is the "why"? There isn't any!

So, as well as deciding who you want to be, you should put an equal amount of care and consideration into why you are that person.

Before you start working on the "who", answer yourself the question: Why do I want to be this person. If you are honest, you may find out that you really don't want to be that person at all! Don't worry about that; just start over again and develop another character - one that you can live with well.

Peter Marucci


Thanks for imparting your take on this subject.

I found it to be insightful.

Thanks Peter!

Look for other essays in the future.

If you like what you see here don't hesitate to send him a thanks

as well.

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