Saturday, 6 June 2009

Can a hero be a jerk?

The pic on a slant is Aydon Castle, built in the late 1200s.
I seem unable to copy text into here as I used to do. It can only be because I've moved from Internet Ex 7 to 8. Is it an oversight, deliberate or am I doing something incorrect now? So instead of quoting someone, I'll now paraphrase a blog that struck a chord with me this morning.

Talking heroes and villains, the general feeling is that it is OK for a villain to be a jerk, but if a hero leans towards something that doesn't fit the strict hero credentials, the author is liable to get lambasted. I've had it happen, but I believe, like the writer of the blog, that heroes do have a tendency to slip into real life and do snap, bark, and do the occasional venial thing when they are upset, disappointed, or wake up with their noses out of joint that particular day.

Heroes are not impossible beings in my mind. They're human like the rest of us and so they have days when nothing goes right. Put them in a situation where the love of their life throws them over for someone else and I'd huff in scorn if all he did was say "So be it; she loves him and I must endure it." What a wimp, I say. I'd rather he threw something, or punched the rival, or let rip with a few choice swear words for an hour or so - and then got himself under control again.

"Defeats never make you grow, but you also realise how difficult what I achieved up until today was, and this is something you need sometimes. You need a defeat to give the value to your victories." Rafael Nadal.

Rafa may be talking, with his strange and wonderful grasp of the English language, about tennis, but his words have a strange echo for me and for everyone in this difficult writing game. Once upon a time I never thought I'd get a book published, and now I have. Then I had three published. Then I worry about why agents refuse me - and then I read Rafa's words and I think how far I have come. Vamoose Rafa! and Vamoose us!


Glynis said...

Oh I feel a bit better now as my hero cuts a dog's throat in anger ;[
Now I know there are folk out there who like a bit of fire in the boots of the hero, I will continue writing as I am LOL :))

Linda Banche said...

Well, there are bad things heroes can do, and bad things heroes cannot do. A hero cannot do things that are really bad. Punching a rival is OK. Murdering him is not.

I stopped reading a book where the "hero" kidnapped the heroine, then raped her. But because he married her in the end, it's all right. No, it's not. That guy is a villain.

Jen Black said...

There are some things I wouldn't have my hero do and one of them would be anything unkind to an animal - but that's just me! Sorry Glynis. I think most people wouldn't object at all. Linda you can relax as my heroes won't be murdering anyone - without good cause, that is. If it is kill or be killed, then he'll do the killing, but it's easier when the story is set in the tenth century. Victorian England would be a little more difficult. Then I'd have to rein him in a bit.