Twists are Wicked

I went to Tucson this weekend to see Wicked, the Musical. Wow, I loved the story. I hadn’t read the novel (I know, I’m sorry) but I think this way I was surprised at the ending and twists. I have read Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, so I already know Gregory Maquire’s MO. I loved the twists in that book and looked forward to more in the musical this past weekend.

Although I loved the singing and songs (though not as much as Phantom, sorry folks) my favorite part of the entire show was the fact that it was a familiar story from an unusual POV with a few twists. This keeps your audience interested and on the edge of their seats. What if that character really isn’t so bad? What if that character isn’t as good as he appears?

Do you have characters like that in your writing? Do you have someone who appears to be on your MC’s side, but may not be? I love the idea that motivation is a major factor in any character’s actions and we, as writers, must determine what our character’s motivation is before building a plot. The reader must know why a character makes a choice because it makes all the difference. And if we don’t know, how can the reader? Case in point: The Wicked Witch of the West and her motivation for making the flying monkeys and becoming “evil.”

I don’t want to give anything away for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but I’m not spoiling anything by saying that you must have a clear motivation for your characters, but you must also keep your reader guessing. Make sense? See the musical, then get back to me.


4 thoughts on “Twists are Wicked

  1. I’m a fan of the musical as well. I have the novel sitting on my bookshelf, waiting. It keeps the company of many other books waiting to be read, so I don’t feel too guilty, but I look forward to reading it. I’ve also heard that the musical and the novel are a bit different so I’m curious.

    In general, I love the idea of learning about the story from the antagonist’s point of view. Traditionally, I think people tend to dismiss the “bad” characters as support characters. Without antagonism, there is no conflict. Without conflict, the story cannot move forward. But why not dive into the source of that conflict a little?

    I feel the same way when the supposed villain turns out to be not so bad at the end of the story. All of a sudden, I can empathize with the bad guy (or girl), as well as the “good” characters. This further involves me, as the reader, in the story.

    People are complex. Rarely is there a “right,” “wrong,” “black,” or “white.” So why make our characters so one-dimensional?

  2. Glad you got to see the show! I like this one quite a bit too. Perspective shifts are so fascinating in the way it can completely change a story and shed light on elements / questions that you as the reader/audience didn’t even know you had. 🙂

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