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In this alternate universe, Lord Voldemort is dead, but so is Harry Potter. Factions continue to fight, Hogwarts educates the next generation of witches and wizards, and the Ministry of Magic does its best to hold everything together.

It is 2030 in the Wizarding World

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Claire Bishop
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Posting in your job

on Mon Sep 26, 2016 4:22 pm
Message reputation : 100% (1 vote)
I know posting in your job doesn't have the immediate glamour of posting somewhere like the Shrieking Shack or Satan's. We often like to put our character into unfamiliar or new territory, especially if there is something inherently interesting about the location.

However, when you pop a movie into the DVD player, or start up Netflix, (or let's be real, open your pirated file), or whatever, the main character is rarely about to do something they've never done before. And that's because filmmakers study what makes a strong story. Typically, you see this journey:

1. Introduced to a character and their normal, their baseline.
2. Something interrupts this baseline.
3. They adapt to this new baseline.
4. The midpoint - depending on the genre, this is usually when this new baseline either leads them to a new high in their life, or a new low.
5. This new baseline gets better or worse for them, depending on the theme/genre.
6. With their new journey, the character makes a decision, usually trying to find a compromise between their new normal and their old normal.
7. They settle into this new mindset.

It can be simplified further into
1. Baseline
2. New element
3. decision and adaptation
4. victory or failure
5. new element expands or disintegrates
6. new decision is made
7 new baseline

Obviously, this is a formula. Most films follow this formula, especially in Hollywood, and the reason is not because originality is dead or because this is the only way that works, but because it provides an excellent framework in which you can play. It is a hero's journey.

Now what does this have to do with jobs?

If your character is a student, their baseline is probably school, plus homelife. Homelife is a bit secondary because Hogwarts students spend so much time in the school, but that is their baseline. Their baseline is dealing with students and professors, going to classes, and all that follows.

For an adult character, the average adult will spend a great majority of their time at work. If you work an 8 hour day, and you sleep for 8 hours, that only leaves 8 hours a day for other activities. And those 8 hours are eaten up heavily by transporting yourself places, eating, and little things like doing your laundry or dishes. The real constant in a character's life is their work. And it's probably one of the more important things in their life too, constantly competing with family and friends. So, simply in the exploration of your character, you miss about a third of your character's time spent if you don't explore who they are at work.

But back to the hero's journey, the best way to track change in your character, and to watch them grow and develop, is when you see them at their baseline. If your character is going through a rough break up, playing with them at work helps you demonstrate how once they were super effective and now they find themselves zoning out, or now they are staying late because they need the distraction. If they know they're about to come into some money, now they are blowing off paperwork and talking flippantly to their boss because they plan on quitting soon.

But it's not just for tracking, or helping see your character transition. It's a breeding ground for new plotting because: your coworkers are also at their baselines. So your character changing over the course of a few weeks will be noticed by other characters, and brings them into your plotting, and vis versa. It's hard to ignore the secretary who was coming in looking depressed and is now overly sweet to everyone. It's even harder to ignore the intern who used to be eager to please and is now coming into work late and muttering insults under his breath.

I've gotten to the point where I'm rambling and over-explaining. Basically, use your character's baseline to their advantage. Not only is it realistic that the majority of your character's interactions probably happen at work, but it's just as fun to put your changing character into a stagnant environment as it is to put a stagnant character into a challenging environment. And if you don't have plotting for your character, the more time you've spent working on their work-life and work-relationships, the more opportunities you will have to join into other plotting because your character is now connected to characters with plotting.

Soooo post in classes (when they're up) and your jobs!
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