A few years ago, my dad took my brother and I to see Avengers: Age of Ultron in theater. Ultron made it very clear that he believed that having no strings made him above the human race. Strings can be come in many forms, as trails, relationships, mistakes, etc. Throughout the movie, they play lines from the song I’ve Got No Strings from Disney’s® movie Pinocchio in which Pinocchio, a wooden puppet, brags about not having strings. He doesn’t have to listen to anyone and he can do whatever he wants. This thought process is something that most villains portray in one way or another (to clarify I am not saying Pinocchio is villain). Personally, I believe there are strings can make your characters stronger and prepare them for what tomorrow will bring.
What can strings do for your character?
Have you ever asked a soldier, for example, why they risk their lives everyday? In the later part of Season 3 of the TV show, The Arrow, Oliver Queen returns after being supposably dead and faces a surprisingly simple question. Why is he going out there every night risking his life and his teammates lives? All of his teammates had figured out their answer to that question while he had been absent. What he discovered was that he wasn’t doing it for the thanks or the fame. He was doing it for the families that were, unknowingly, relying on Team Arrow to save their family members.
If Oliver went through the trials of his past, so he could save Star City. His strings, his relationships with his friends and his past experiences, gave him the strength and knowhow to saved an entire city from total destruction. Now you might be saying: But I’m not writing a superhero story, so how does this apply to my characters?
In every story there is a problem to be faced that threatens to change your character’s world forever.
Your character is going to face and solve a problem. It might be something as simple as finding a new house, or something as scary as alien invasion. No matter the problem faced, only through their relationships (with parents, friends, etc) and their past experience do they solve it. So, no matter the story, every believable character needs strings.
“They (scars) show me where I’ve been and That I’m not there any more” ~ What Scars are For by Mandisa
The Avengers sacrificed everything to save the millions of people on their planet, and beat Ultron in a way he never predicted. Yes, they made plenty of mistakes. But they still gave it everything they had and won. And I believe that, your characters strings can make your character stronger than your villain can even imagine.
(Disclaimer: I originally wrote this in 2015 and, while I have made a few edits, I probably missed a few things)