After having paused all work on my passion projects and other stuff for two long years — almost down to the date if I think about it — due to having to focus on all that irl stuff that would allow me to leave Venezuela with my brother (some of which failed spectacularly in 2021, some of which was a resounding success in late 2022), I’m finally slowly getting back on track with things, with the full intent to relaunch my Vaifen Saga project very soon because I really wanna publish it.

These ramblings, I suppose, are part of a warm-up.

Everyone has their own set of ideals and draws inspiration from whatever sources they deem valid or truthful. I admittedly am not the most virtuous Catholic there is, and although I don’t follow everything to the letter, that upbringing obtained from my mother, grandmother, and during my brief three years at a Marist school serves as a solid basis towards being a good person in this life — or at least helps me try to be one.

Just as an adult can draw inspiration or guidance from faith, writers, or politicians even, one can also draw inspiration from characters in works of fiction — all of this, I hope, with the intention of leaving things better than how you found them.

I wanna focus today on that last set, on fictional characters, and how they can inspire others to do good. Whether they be heroes or villains, a good character is one that you can identify and understand its struggles — agree to their reasoning even.

In my case, a Hispanic dude born in the late 80s, it goes without saying that I, along with basically every other guy in the region that’s part of my age range, Saint Seiya and Dragon Ball were fundamental pillars of our childhood antics

Those two shows have a cast that kicks the villains ass while doing good, they save the day, and all that stuff. Everyone in my classroom wanted to be Seiya or any of his fellow Saints and kick ass just like they did.

I have to add a no less important group to the mix — Power Rangers. Those three groups were my Cartoon Heroes, as the Aqua song goes.

As a child, I liked these characters not because they ‘represented’ me at a physical level, but because I liked what they represented: Heroes to look up to. They never needed to look like me, and they only “spoke” like me because they were dubbed by its corresponding voice actors.

I liked them because they were cool, and I feel ‘identified’ in them not because of visual or racial traits, but because they were heroes doing heroic stuff. I wanted to grow up, be like them, and do good — of course, I don’t shoot beams out of my hands, nor can I summon a giant robot out of nowhere, but you get my point.

I was never into comic books because unfortunately, that was considered a ‘luxury’ hobby in my country back in the day (they still are, at least physical ones) and well, television was free, can’t beat that. In today’s world, yeah, sure, access to those products are far more accessible thanks to the internet. That said, I did have enough exposure to comic book heroes as a child, and just like Anime and Tokusatsu, I wanted to be cool like those comic book heroes.

In a way, I’m still that kid I never grew up, still trying to be the hero — but that’s beside the point.

There are countless stories out there where the character and its plot resonate in such ways that leave a mark on people, regardless of the character’s origin, alignment, and all that.

One very bittersweet example that I can share with you all today happens to be Marvel’s Dr. Strange Movie (2016). That movie is one of the last movies we saw together as a family before my mother passed away.

She really liked the movie and the main character not because Dr. Strange looked like her at a racial or skin tone level, but because of the character’s backstory.

Dr. Strange is a medical doctor that, due to circumstances, is no longer able to practice his profession nor perform surgeries anymore. This is the key element that tied both the fictional character and my mother together, this is the crux of how my mother felt connected with the character, as one year before the movie was out she was someone that was at the height of her career, but due to circumstances (a rare form of cancer) she was no longer able to practice her medical profession nor perform surgeries anymore.

The day tha movie in 2017 was the day she left us one of her last lessons to both my brother and myself, she reminded us that there’s no limit to what we can accomplish despite any physical limitations we may have (within reason of course). I’ve tried to live up to those words, but have failed over the past five years.

Yes, she did make a few jokes about Tilda Swinton’s bald head, as at the time, her hair was long gone thanks to two full years of chemotherapy.

This was someone that was months away from dying, who, just like the main character, was a doctor that due to circumstances was no longer able to practice her medical career anymore — but still found ways to help others, she only stopped doing so once her cancer worsened enough.

The character of Dr. Strange did not have to be gender swapped, nor did it had to be played by someone with the same racial background as my mother, after all, she and Benedict Cumberbatch did not share any visual trait.

What I’m trying to say here is a character doesn’t have to look like you, talk like you, or even act like you for you to resonate with it for you to draw inspiration from and ultimately, take from it that which is good and extrapolate it your own way for your everyday use — nor does liking a ‘evil’ character or faction in turn makes you a bad person in real life (looking at you, Gundam zoomers with the whole Zeon discourse).

If you can take good lessons and inspiration from these heroes and fictional characters in a way that helps you be a hero in your own way, then I believe that’s a good built character.

I’m not talking about flying or jumping or shooting lasers through your eyes (as cool as that might be) but to simply be a better person every day, to use your talents — whatever they may be — to help others in your local community or group of like minded friends, so that then you can combine efforts to work towards building something great and ultimately, leave things better than the way you found them.

With the Vaifen Saga and its first three planned books (Sword, Sins, and Soul), my goal is to create memorable characters that people get to like and identify with not because they fill a demographic checkmark or are part of a group, but because they do cool stuff and save the day in their own way, flawed as they may be.

I don’t seek to fill ‘representation’ quotas of any kind, I just want to make cool characters in a cool setting doing cool stuff. Whether you deem that as “ultra nationalistic” as someone once told me some time ago, is something that is not of my concern.

To make timeless characters that resonate with future readers thanks to the foundations and nurture obtained through those fictional heroes of my childhood, that’s one of my goals, if not the biggest one — after all, the roots of this project come from the wild imagination of my younger self, who used to concoct fantastic scenarios in this head in solitude.

I’ve decided to spread my vices and virtues and distribute them across the characters rather than having a self insert, and even though some of the minor characters may be one-dimensional, I want them all to have a little moment to shine throughout the story of this planned saga, which I’m hoping to relaunch very soon, God and life’s current circumstances permitting.

Perhaps I’m just an old and obsolete idealist — an outcast that’s never quite lived a normal life, but hey, that’s just me and my goals with this project.

All Sword needs is to be edited, a cover, and work out the publishing details. I’ll focus on that once I finish solving the last affairs I have in Venezuela and find a place to arrive with my brother.