Perspective is really important when it comes to storytelling. Point of views of the characters’ actions and motives can push the story in several directions. It also defines who it a protagonist or who is an antagonist.
What happens when both sides are right? If you’re reading story and it isn’t one of those the good armies of the heavens are out to protect humanity are trying to stop the evil armies of hell from destroying it, perspective is everything.
I once had this idea for a movie, an action movie. Stay a while and listen. (Too much Diablo 3…)
As the opening credits roll you see the hero, a burly fellow half-dressed fellow preparing for his day in a hotel room. He’s wearing a gun holster, inferring that he sleeps with it on. He shaves, but manages to maintain a 5 o-clock shadow despite it.
On the counter there is an invitation to a family reunion and a pressed suit hanging up. The date should match up with a hanging calendar, letting the audience know it is today.
He casually flips on the television and on the screen is ‘just in’ footage of carnage; Fire, dead bodies, and the smoldering remains of a banner that reads “Johnson family reunion”. The hero’s eyes darken, he checks to make sure the bullet is clear in the chamber in his sidearm and two words appear on the screen, the title of the movie.
Standard fare really. It needs to be a descriptor and a verb, BRUTAL IMPACT or something like that.
The hero kicks down the door and from that point on, the movie is two hours of mind numbing action; Gunfire, Kung Fu, and Explosions. The only consistent dialogue in the movie will be death screams and the occasional (and completely required) “Watch where you’re going!” The movie will take place in New York, naturally.
There will be a body count of no less than 2 dead every minute on average, heck might as well put a little counter on the corner of the screen as a service to those watching. The movie will have a straightforward flowchart as follows.
Opening(5min)>Gunfight(10min)>Car Chase (10min)>Fist Fight (10 min)>Gunfight(10min)>Car Chase/Sex Scene*(10min)>Fist Fight(9 Min)>**Dialogue(1 Min)>Gunfight(10 Min)>Epic Vehicle Chase Boat/Car/Plane (15 Min)>Overblown Wire Fu Sequence vs. Ninjas(15 Min)>Final Gun Duel Between Hero and Villian(15 Min)>***Villain’s death sequence (5min)>Triumphant Hero Struts from Burning Warehouse.
*At the same time. **This is only needed because at least one exchange is needed between the hero and the villain for the trailer. ***This should be done with such brutal thoroughness that there is no doubt the villain is dead. Not one. He has to ‘come back’ at least 3 times during the sequence as the Hero tries to escape.
The dialogue in the middle of the movie has to be an unimaginative quip. Ideally the lines would delivered from them reading off index cards and the villain needs a thick British accent.
Now here’s the important part. Undoubtedly this movie will get terrible reviews while managing to break every single box office record ever. So it needs a gimmick. A few months after its release they have to leak that a sequel is coming out. The sequel should be the SAME movie except from the viewpoint of the Villian.
The first few minutes should be the ‘villian’ stepping out of a police car, revealing him as a police detective. Out to bring the ‘hero’ to justice. The people the ‘hero’ was mercilessly picking off will be revealed to be not controlled by the ‘villian’ from him fighting them just as hard during scenes where the ‘hero’ wasn’t involved.
The final scenes of the movie will have a tragic air to them as the people watching realize the ‘villian’ was the good guy, and the movie will be about three minutes longer because of slow motion added for ‘emotion’.
The ending will be the same with the ‘hero’ walking away triumphantly, but a stinger will be added with him being surrounded by police officers with their guns ready as he calmly enjoys his cigarette. He is mercilessly riddled with bullets.
Perspective is funny like that. You only know what you’re told or hinted at. Your brain fills in gaps you want to understand. Because of prior stereotypes people would likely assume the main character in the first movie was a cop but he very well could be a mobster.
Anyway here is an unrelated to bad action movies, but related to the topic at hand, short story. Enjoy.
My name is Bartholomew and I am a god.
I look down upon the pathetic scurrying figures below me with my scepter in hand. It allows me to make and unmake at will. With a mere, effortless gesture I can crush that which I have created.
I have come to respect the nerve of these mindless puppets have, taking residence in my creations without begging and groveling for their lives and paying me homage. They even accept death well enough in my less merciful moods.
They act as if I am not here, watching them. They go about their miserably pointless lives going about tasks. Yes they act for the greater good, to serve a queen, but they exist only for that purpose. I consider to myself if oblivion would be a better option. Perhaps they are a lost cause.
The responsibilities that rest on my shoulder are staggering. A mere well placed boot could level work that would take months for these simpletons to complete; while the same work would hardly be an hour’s task for me.
I slake my thirst with my royal chalice. The sweet taste of fruit puts me in a contemplative mood. There is no need for me to have spite for these mindless drones. They are so far below me they likely do not comprehend my existence. Their queen does not blaspheme and attempt to hold herself to the delusion that she was the one that created this splendor. It was me, the mighty Bartholomew and the old gods before me.
I had drained my chalice in the thought, and a dull slurp alerted me to it. It startled me briefly, a reminder that even gods need sustenance. My immense strength crushed the chalice into itself as I hold it up calmly behind me. It is quickly spirited away, to eventually be replaced with another filled with nectar.
I crouch with uneasy legs; the day has made me weary. Creating cities for those lesser than me is hard work. My fine garments bunch up under me as it is loose and comfortable. Take a moment to tug at the golden badges at the front of my chest and a seal that notes my accomplishment. I had applied it earlier today and it suits me well.
Being closer to the ground allows me to see my vassals work. Even if their actions are miniscule, they are admirable. They tirelessly toil their day and lives away to please their queen, and perhaps to please me. Perhaps not giving me homage is the greatest tribute. They do not waste time groveling, even in death.
I have seen one of the followers work with the same fervor despite one leg being crushed into a mess. Not that it surprises me that they would end up in such a state. Puny as they are my trusty beast sometimes makes a meal of them by the handful.
As if he read my thoughts Jules trots next to me and glances up at my thoughtful expression. He laps at my face with a long red tongue in a vain attempt to claim any remnants of my last meal. To me it is just an annoyance. To these people below it is a lethal act that takes the lives of hundreds.
I shoo away Jules leaving the beast to snort disapprovingly and find a place by my side. I run my hand over his thick fur idly. He is comfortable at least. A moment later I wrap my arms around him and roll him to test my dominance over him. The elder gods do not approve of this behavior, but I do not care. Jules seems content for the contest and lets his tongue hand free behind large pearly fangs.
He bites sometimes, but he shows restraint with me. I am his master. He knows that the elder gods and I are the only reason he is strong and has life in his body. We have an understanding.
His biting is a way of acknowledging my strength. It is his way of testing my resolve. His teeth could punch through my skin and my armor, but what would that accomplish? Nothing. He knows more than these puny beings will ever know, and he is thrice as loyal. He responds to my touch with another snort, tilting back his head and letting out a mighty yawn. A globule of slobber frees itself from his maw and lands on three of my subjects. They are cast aside as though the ocean itself had struck them. I remove my hand from Jules and let it hang in the air. A moment of consideration. Such a simple act proved so deadly to them. Could something that typically gave life take it? Yes, beast saliva wasn’t exactly nectar, but it was still inherently harmless.
My chalice was slipped into my hand as I thought, nay, it was a new one. The elder gods are so wasteful in this way. The rod to which I drew the nectar from it was untouched by my own fangs. They needn’t be as sharp as Jules’ to damage the brittle material.
I control my strength this time, I do not dare tempt the fates by crushing it while full. It would be wasteful as well. As I took a gentle draw from the rod i couldn’t help but wonder about my prior observation. With some effort, I wrenched the rod free from the chalice after making sure to hold some of the aggressively sweet liquid in my maw.
I marveled as the nectar fell through the rod and landed hard in the middle of a group of the puny figures it splashed wildly on impact and they were sent scattering. Some of the figures were stained red from the nectar. I don’t usually get the chance to see the vibrant red color as it is hidden by the chalice’s thick sides.
I would have to destroy it to see within. That was a fools errand.
I let out a guffaw at the chaos below me. Jabbing a majestic finger in their direction. Jules seemed disinterested but he had no appreciation for the subtleties of humor. How ironic that my sustenance had more power than their entire bodies.
The rod is empty now and free of my chalice I would need to replace it to continue my work. My first attempt was futile, but the second the rod buckled under my considerable might and bound away to collide with the earth below. It fell amongst the scattering figures but there were no casualties.
I scrunch up my face in disapproval and go to retrieve it, but the hand of one of the elder gods reached and retrieved it before I could.
“No Bartholomew.” She speaks wagging a finger at me. “We don’t put things that have been on the ground in your mouth. You know this.”
Of course I know this. And I realize now The rod was completely optional. I could just overturn the chalice and accomplish the same goal. I begin to do so but nothing comes out. I give the chalice a squeeze and an eruption of red falls over the tiny figures.
I let out another guffaw but the elder god is not pleased. Less so with my actions but the tiny figures themselves.
“Oh crumbs. They made ANOTHER nest… I’ll have to call an exterminator before Larry gets home.” She sighs as she reaches down and scoops me up from the ground. Her considerable height brings me higher into the heaven.
I wouldn’t mind, but she claimed my chalice from me, ruining my chance to test at a higher distance. I settle for sucking the remnants of the nectar off of my fingers only slightly marred by Jules’ fur. I grin, as this was not the tiny creatures doing, but my own.
The elder gods underestimate my power. I grow stronger every day.