Where Jaden came from: the conception of a story

Most stories originate from a “what if” model, as in “What if humans harvested dinosaur DNA…?” Jaden was no different, except Jaden’s “what ifs” were born of irritation boredom.

In stories, especially in movies, if a character is extraordinary in some way, he or she laments about being different and will often say: “I just want to be normal.” The plot point may be a play on the grass is greener cliche, but it’s just as yawn-worthy, tired, and annoying. Stories about people who are special/supernatural are fun and popular because no one wants to be normal. We all want to be special, we all want to be powerful. So whenever a character with a cool ability whines about being different, we, that is to say I, always felt spoken down to. The writers of those stories are essentially saying, “See, it’s not good to be special or differentYou don’t know what’s good for you.” That’s complaint number one.

Complaint number two is “being found out.” After the character referenced finishes his moaning about wanting to “be normal,” he will often worry about being discovered and what will happen to him if he’s found out. This typically results in a plot that revolves around maintaining the secret, or silencing those who know the secret. We’re always told that terrible things will happen if so-and-so is revealed to be a super human whatever.

At some point in my life, those two observations met up and conceived Jaden Baker: What if the person with this great ability was discovered and was captured? What would happen to him? Hmmm… I bet it’s interesting…

And I knew, even way back when the idea first hit me, that my protagonist wasn’t going to be a moron. He would know that the reason bad things were happening to him was not because he had a gift, it was because some people are evil and wanted what he had. A real world example: if someone stole your Ferrari would you say: “Man, this is only because I had a Ferrari! It’s all my fault for having such a nice car! If only I had a Prius, this would’ve never happened.” NO! You would be enraged that someone stole your sweet ride!

My main character was going to be smart, not an idiot, and he would never say, “I just want to be normal.” I wanted my main character to enjoy his gift, to embrace it, to know that it was his and his alone, and resent his enemies for trying to steal it from him. To hate your talent is to hate yourself. And my character wasn’t going to be like that.

And thus Jaden was conceived. His did a lot of growing and developing before his birth, but, like all stories, he had a clear starting point when he became a real idea.

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Copyright 2018. Courtney Kirchoff.