Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blog Chain: Kicking Ass By Choice!

It's that time again: Blog Chain time!

This round, Eric started us off by asking the question

Do you create characters that are larger-than-life or are your characters more like the average Joe?

Hmmm. Good question!

I'm sick of what I like to call, The Superman Problem.

Superman is as awesome as it gets--he doesn't even break a sweat fighting supervillains. Nothing can stop him except for a tiny green rock, and let's face it, kryptonite has been less than successful at taking him down. He can fly, has super speed, is impervious to bullets, can hurl a planet at you if you piss him off, and has even turned back time to save Lois Lane.

What's the problem then, you ask? Well, as I see it, why do I care if Superman's in trouble? He's just going to kick some ass and save the day. Like always. Because he's Superman. He's almost perfect.

He's not flawed enough to be interesting!

Spiderman on the other hand, is behind on the rent, flunking History class, and his girlfriend thinks he stood her up, all because of that damn Doc Oc! Now, this is a superhero I can care about! :)

When I'm creating my characters, I don't want them to be Superman, so I try to make them as real as possible... even if they have super human abilities. I want my characters to be flawed and relatable.

However, there is one more problem to avoid in the other direction. I call this, the Twilight Problem.

Here is an example:

Girl: "Oh, I am just a normal, average, run-of-the-mill boring, not very attractive person just bumbling through high school. OMG!!!! Who is that tall, dark, AMAZING stranger who has come into my life?!"

Stranger: "I am special, and for some reason am paying attention to you, normal person."

Girl: "SQUEE!! Now my normal, average, boring life has become interesting due to someone cool talking to me!"

Stranger: "Um... yeah. I guess. I'm now going to sparkle and brood. Also, have adventures that maybe you can be a part of. Maybe."

Girl: "I can't wait!!!!"

In this scenario, the main character is normal... but also doesn't choose to do anything special or have any cool adventures on her own. She waits for someone awesome to come and make choices for her. Hooray. Oh, wait. THAT SUCKS.

I want my chracters to be realistic, relatable, but also to CHOOSE awesomeness and adventure :). I want my heroines and heroes to say to themselves, "Self, let's take our talents and our courage to go save the world!"

I guess my answer is, I want normal characters to choose to become larger than life.

I want to be larger than life in real life. Doesn't everyone? We can choose to make the most of what we're given, or we can wait for some sparkly person to come along and do it for us. I, personally, chose action.

What do you guys think? Superman, Twilight, or a Happy Ass-Kicking Medium?

Please check out the Courageous Cole's answer before me, and the Karate-kicking Kate's answer tomorrow!


Dawn Embers said...

Great post!

That pictures reminds me of the D.E.B.S. movie. Not a great movie but I can't help watching since it has spy chicks in school girl uniforms + one is curious and falls for the villain chick who turns good.

I'd prefer the medium by far. No superman or twilight types for me.

Stephanie said...

Most of my characters fall into the happy medium category....but I do have one who sorta falls into the Twilight category, unfortunately. But she changes toward the end and makes decisions for herself....does that make it better???

B.J. Anderson said...

LMAO! I loved the Twilight skit there. That's exactly how I felt about that book. Bella needed to grow a pair.

Eric said...

No offense to any of the chainers so far, but this is the best answer yet. I absolutely love it, particularly the Twilight bit. I totally agree with you about Superman too. He became very quickly boring, and I used to laugh at the old tv shows where Superman would stand impervious to bullets but duck out the way when they threw something at him. Anyway, awesome post.

Sandra said...

I agree with you that protagonists need to protag. I guess we need to do the same thing with our lives too!

CamrynMorrell said...

LOL. The part about twilight is so true. :P

I think characters become more interesting when they make choices for themselves. It tells us--the readers--that they've got guts and, for me, that makes me want to keep on reading.

Great post. :)

Cole Gibsen said...

Ha! Hilarious! I loved this post :)

Nisa said...

I really like that! Normal people choosing to be larger than life. I really like that! Taking it out of writing for a second, I think we can all do that. It's just dang hard to step at of those comfort zones. Throw that into writing and you end up with very real and awesome stories. Great post!

Tere Kirkland said...

This is exactly how I want my characters to be! I was really sick of the normal girl trend for a while, so sick I started rewriting my adult urban fantasy in effigy!

But I'm over halfway through Fire, which I'm loving, btw, and reconsidering what a great YA heroine can be.

Thanks for recommending that I finish it!

And thanks for this great post.

Abby Annis said...

You're so funny! :D

This is what I've been working on with my rewrite--keeping my characters balanced. It can be tricky.

Great post!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Oh, I totally vote "happy ass-kicking medium"! And yeah, I've never been a big Superman fan either - although my fave was always Batman.

Sarah Bromley said...

Ha ha ha! Twilight... *shakes head* *High fives Rebecca*

Kat Harris said...

LOL! Love the Twilight interpretation.

Shaun Hutchinson said...

I was drinking coffee when I read this and I just spit it out on my desk when I read the Twilight part. OMG, hilarious.
Also, I can't wait for Kick-Ass to come out. Awesome post.