gfxgfx
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
 
gfx gfx
gfxgfx
 
Anybody interested in joining a behind the scenes critique group, please PM Ed smiley
 
gfx gfx
gfx
55850 Posts in 6180 Topics by 556 Members - Latest Member: wallynicholson666 December 14, 2017, 09:41:24 PM
*
gfx* HomeForumHelpLoginRegistergfx
gfxgfx
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.       « previous next »
Pages: [1] Go Down Print
Author Topic: F Paul Wilson on creating a series hero  (Read 7864 times)
Ed
The Mastah, muahahaaaa....
Administrator
***

Karma: +6/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 11069


Don't look behind you!!!!!


« on: March 01, 2010, 05:33:58 PM »

I was leafing through the FPW newsletter, which, TBBH, I don't often read, and I came across a link to this article about creating a series character. It struck a chord with me, because I remember an acquisitions editor moaning about the number of post cold war ex special forces/action man type protagonists they saw in novels submitted to them. I suppose we are without realising it a sponge for the cultural influences that are all around us, so it's kinda inevitable that hundreds and perhaps thousands of wannabe writers are likely to come up with the same blueprint for an MC, and let's face it they're as common as can be in Hollywood blockbusters. Paul's character, Repairman Jack, is the exception because he's taken one of the old tropes and turned it on its head.

It's a reminder that we need to think outside the box if we want to stand out from the crowd.

Link to article: http://bordersblog.com/scifi/2010/02/03/uncategorized/creating-a-series-hero/
Logged

Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
Grillmeat
Critter
***

Karma: +1/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 720



« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2010, 06:59:07 PM »

A yes, many a night was spent in my younger days reading about Repairman Jack Wink
Logged

OMG!! Soylent Green is people!!!
delboy
Global Moderator
*****

Karma: +1/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 2231



WWW
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2010, 03:06:18 AM »

The flipside, of course, is that the world today is full of ex Special Services type people who have moved into the private sector and are doing body-guard work for popstars, business men and politicians in dangerous parts of the world, teaching survival training to rich people with an urge for thrills, leading wild adventure holidays, selling their skills to revolutionary armies, working on black ops... etc etc and in the thriller world, other genres, too - such people are probably more attractive to the reader than an ex painter and decorater with a beer-gut, a copy of The Sun folded into his back pocket, and an obsession with soccer. Our special services heroes will be self-sufficient and fit and strong, they'll have a healthy regard for danger but won't shy away from it. They are mysterious, and will have been in many situations that can (in later stores) give rise to plots. They will have useful contacts - although such contacts rightly shouldn't be used just to get them out of tight plot cormers. They probably have great senses of humour. They have political, geographical, physical knowledge. They no doubt have a few more interesting scars and stories and emotional problems than our painter and decorator. The key, as always, is to build the character well, make him or her real and three-dimensional, give them real issues and problems, and not fall back on cliche.

All that said, I've not read many books featuring the special-ops hero that I've liked. Quite the opposite - I can easily think of dozens that I thought were awful. But this isn't because of the character's background - it's because the writer/editor/publisher chose to ignore all other elements of plot and character and focus pretty much just on that background. And I think it's a problem with the modern thriller world going for the lowest common denominator. Kind of an X-Factor, line 'em up, sell 'em quick and to hell with the future career of the artist in question attitude

I think one of the keys to successful fiction is to make the characters special, and give them qualities and abilities that us mere mortals don't have. That's what makes them fun to read about. But it has to be done with truth so we end up with well rounded characters not vaguely drawn cartoons.

I seem to recall that Marlow, Travis McGee, Spenser, Robicheaux were ex-soldiers, professional boxers, football players, cops, but you have to dig deep into the prose to find the references and their creators certainly didn't use their backgrounds as 'easy outs'. Three of the four have useful side-kicks, too, but again they're introduced and developed beautifully, not brought in whenever needed as if they were calling in an airstrike.

So, for me, I have no problem with reading about characters with special ops backgrounds, providing everything else is done well.

Drek
Logged

"If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it."
 
Robert B. Parker
Frank Menser
Stiff
*

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 29


« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2010, 08:43:44 AM »

Personally I like my heroes to be rumpled, crumply and otherwise unlikely...it makes them more interesting if they are not "KenDoll meets James Bond."
Logged
Ed
The Mastah, muahahaaaa....
Administrator
***

Karma: +6/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 11069


Don't look behind you!!!!!


« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2010, 08:54:26 AM »

Mine tend to be unlikeable, which is unfortunate, because I base them largely upon my own personality.  scratch
Logged

Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
Kerr
Critter
***

Karma: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 163



« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2010, 05:03:03 PM »

LOL. So do mine Ed. But I'm finding change easier if I become a man. I can't draw from experience so I must imagine. It cuts away at a lot of the crap I try too hard to bring across with the more familiar. IMO If I get the males down, it may just spread to the females. 
Logged
Ed
The Mastah, muahahaaaa....
Administrator
***

Karma: +6/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 11069


Don't look behind you!!!!!


« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2010, 06:32:46 PM »

Whoah  Shocked I think a sex change operation might be a tad too serious and potentially life changing step for me to consider it an option, but good luck with it, Kerr afro
Logged

Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
Pharosian
Obelizer
Critter
***

Karma: +6/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1623



« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2010, 09:20:42 PM »

Mine tend to be unlikeable, which is unfortunate, because I base them largely upon my own personality.  scratch

I find it hard to believe that you're an unlikeable person.

I do find, though, that I also tend to base my main characters off my own personality. I seem to create much more rounded secondary characters...
Logged
fnord33
Critter
***

Karma: +1/-1
Offline Offline

Posts: 808



WWW
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2010, 07:08:09 AM »

I do find, though, that I also tend to base my main characters off my own personality.

I think that everyone tends to do that. I'm not entirely sure that it's possible not to. How can you see through fictitious eyes without superimposing your own viewpoints? I guess that the trick is to be at least a little schizophrenic. I've never really felt that reality was very real or that I was in any way connected to what was going on around me. I think that might mean I'm a sociopath. Anyway, I don't usually try to make my characters likable. I've always preferred Johnny the homicidal maniac over Superman. Real people are rarely likable and therefore likable characters usually come off as fake and two dimensional to me. I think that a sex change would probably benefit us all as writers. That drastic of a change in perspective would be quite useful. Robert Anton Wilson predicted that people would be getting sex changes back and forth on a whim by now (this was back in 82). Frankly I'm a little disappointed. Just a thought.  kiss
Logged

Life is an entanglement of lies to hide it's basic mechanisms. - William Burroughs
gfx
Pages: [1] Go Up Print 
gfx
Jump to:  
gfx
Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Page created in 0.078 seconds with 29 queries.
Helios /
gfx
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!