C09P25 – Big Mouth – MOKO Press presents: LeyLines, a Fantasy Adventure Comic by Robin Childs Skip to content
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C09P25 – Big Mouth

C09P25 – Big Mouth published on 7 Comments on C09P25 – Big Mouth

In case you missed it last Friday, I’m making a book trailer for LeyLines Volume Three, and if you’d like to be a voice actor for it, auditions are open!

This page single-handedly set off one of the more brutal writer’s blocks that I’ve had in a long time. In large part, because I didn’t realize there was anything wrong with it. Originally, Mizha in the bottom panel rolled her eyes with an exasperated sigh and declared with disgust: “Boys.” After which, I could not get the scenes that came next to work. At. All. It took months of wrestling with the script to realize that the actual issue was that Mizha entered into the next section with the wrong mood. She’s not the kind to get aggressive, or blame other people for a problem. Given any opportunity, she’ll take blame onto herself, even if she’s not at fault. Part of why I was giving her a sassier, and more clichéd, reaction was because I keep fretting about Mizha not being perceived as strong. However, I was writing her according to criticism and a narrower definition of strength, not according to who Mizha is.

The thing with Mizha is that she has a lot of agency (the ability to enact change) in her inner world, but does not perceive any agency in her outer world. That’s part of her story arc. So giving her a false, more sassy perspective didn’t make her strong. It made her confrontational. Which in turn made Kali defensive in following scenes, and as a result everything kept blowing up into these big, unnecessary fights. No problems could be solved, because people were in destructive, antagonistic mind-sets. And there’s very little that’s “strong” about screaming matches that go nowhere. We did plenty of that in chapter seven already. Ultimately, Mizha’s strengths don’t lie in arguments, or in fighting, or in sarcastic comments. And that’s okay. Besides, that’s more Kali’s territory anyway.

Always stay true to who a character is. Not who you, or others, perceive they “should” be.

What character traits do you define as “strong”?

7 Comments

Children visit this site. Moderate your language accordingly.

Ugh. Tama. I just want to put my hand on his face and say, “No.”

Strength is the ability to look your weaknesses in the face and do something about them. It’s also having the courage to back up your convictions.

It depends what you mean by strong, but if you mean the capable sort, in my opinion, true strength comes from balance.

A strong person is someone who knows when and why to engage in a fight or prevent one, when to stand their ground and when to let things slide. The traits typically associated with character strength (determination, self-righteousness, bravery etc.) can also be a weakness if the character doesn’t know where to draw the line. So a character who does know when to compromise and when to stick to their guns is more capable and therefore strong, in my opinion. 🙂

Saying that, strength isn’t everything. Personally I tend more towards ‘weak’ characters who have to struggle and suffer for their story and when they change, it’s really satisfying and justified. Their weakness becomes a measure of their strength. …if that makes any sense.

As for Mizha, in my opinion, I’d pin her as a ‘weak’ character (not badly written, but psychologically fragile) who has the capacity to be ‘strong’ and I think she’ll grow into someone with true inner strength. The same for Tama, actually; he’s a weak character who I think’ll become strong. Kali I’d pin as more middle-ground and balanced, with Zhiro being the strongest of them all so far.

Sorry if I’ve rambled or completely missed the point. I feel a little brain frazzled!

I have a similar philosophy on strength as you do. At the root of all strength is weakness, and at the root of all weakness is strength. It all depends on the situation, and how well a person is able to leverage their practiced skills. In many ways, I agree with you that Tama and Mizha are the weaker ones, Zhiro and Kali the stronger ones. At the same time, Tama and Mizha often bend, where Kali and Zhiro would break. Strength is thus defined by the level of pressure applied, and the kind. Tama and Mizha are soft, where Kali and Zhiro are hard. Hard things are also brittle things. They shatter, where soft things will still hold.

I recently had to read “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston for my English class and I think the protagonist, Janie Crawford, has some strong character traits. If you haven’t read it, the book is mostly about self discovery. When Janie’s 17, she runs off with a wealthy older man named Joe Starks and they’re married until she’s about 40 and he dies. Their marriage was tumultuous and their personalities often clashed. Joe was a micromanager and wanted supreme control over everyone and everything. On the other hand, Janie was an independent woman who wanted to share her thoughts and feelings freely and just wanted to communicate with other people. Joe refused to let her speak her mind and she was to be seen not heard. Wouldn’t anyone expect her to develop some sort of resentment toward her husband and despair over her situation? She never resented him and she never EVER in any part of the book displayed any ounce of despair for anything that happened in her life.
After Joe dies, Janie meets Tea Cake, who is her only true and fulfilling love. He encourages her to speak and teaches her many things and all he does and how he loves her elevates her to the place in life she’s always wanted to be. *SPOILER* unfortunately, he’s bitten by a rabid dog and ends up trying to kill Janie due to paranoia. In self-defense, Janie shoots and kills him. She’s tried and found innocent but the self-confidence she displays during this time in her life amazes me. During the period of her life when she was married to Joe, the reader heard very little from Janie. We read the actions of the towns people around her and what she sees. When she runs off with Tea Cake, she’s full of conversation and we have the privilege to see her speaking what’s on her mind. However, this is sharply contrasted by the silence making up the last part of the book when she’s on trial for killing Tea Cake. Basically, Janie has enough self-knowledge and enough confidence in herself that she CHOOSES to be silent when all her life she’s wanted to speak her mind. I think that sort of action makes her one of the strongest characters I’ve EVER read about.
I’m not sure now how to translate that into the appropriate adjectives and I kind of rambled but I hope you get something out of that ^^;

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