Monday, April 20, 2009


Ever read a book in which the hero is perfect? Did it bore you? Did you place the book down saying "No way would this ever happen..."? I read a couple of books by a best selling author (I'll keep the name to myself) and will probably never pick up another by him. Why not, you ask, it is a best selling author? My answer is simple, I find his hero to be unbelievable and the most boring character since Tom Swift (remember him? At least Tom was written for an adolescent audience, not an adult one...). His hero was an all-American quarterback in college, lives in an aircraft hangar filled with antique cars and airplanes, and (the most incredulous thing of all to me) is an expert at anything he tries! If deep sea diving is called for the hero can do it (and he'll probably parachute into the ocean for the dive). There is no machine he cannot operate, drive, or fly... To top it all off, this character owns all those priceless cars and planes while working for the government! (Maybe that part is seems you have to be independently wealthy to be in U. S. government anymore!) The character is about as believable as Batman, Superman, and Spiderman all of whom are fantasy characters. To me the cardinal sin of this author is that the writer leaves me with the impression that I should believe his character could exist. My response to this "Pllleeeeeeeaaaasssssse! Give me some credit." I cannot abide a writer who thinks of his/her audience as a bunch of pliant, mindless drones who will accept and believe anything that appears in print.

If you want me to read your book and enjoy it, give me a hero that has bad as well as good traits. If the character has to use specialized skills at least let him/her struggle a bit as they learn and master that skill.

Everyone loves Batman (well those of us who love dark fantasy anyway). However, the biggest Batman hits were Batman Begins in which we actually see the years of suffering and training Bruce Wayne had to endure to become the Caped Crusader. You can actually make a case for a multi-millionaire who roams the world and becomes a martial arts expert, who will use his bucks to develop special technology. Like I said possible if unlikely.

So, above all else make your hero human. Instill character flaws and fears (remember young Bruce Wayne's fear of bats?) into your hero. While you're at it, give your villain a redeeming characteristic or two... It will add suspense to your plot and make the characters believable...


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