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Jul 10, 2010

Vanilla Yogurt Hero

I mentioned in the last post I wondered if I should make my hero more of an anti-hero. Right now he's got all the personality of vanilla yogurt. My three year old will only eat one kind of yogurt, the blandest flavor that can still be counted as a flavor, and that's apparently the same formula my seventeen-year-old-self served in the "Hero" food group. To be fair to Younger Me, this was never meant to be published, it was just some 36,000 words of background material for the 400,000 word Ye Olde Epic Fantasy Tome. I wanted the hero of the prequel to be Standard Hero Fare to contrast with my tortured and utterly awesome hero of Ye Olde Epic.

I ask you, is that fair? Not really. Why should the hero of the prequel have to be a cardboard cutout to make another hero look good by comparison? I think, in those days, I lacked confidence in my ability to craft well-fleshed out characters, as if I would run out if I squandered them. Now I believe it's the other way around. The more you push yourself, the better you'll get at it.

Anyway, the hero of this story appears as a side character in Ye Olde Epic, where we learn more about his personality, so there's no reason he has to be dairy product as the star of his own show.

Even a classic hero usually goes through a stage of Refusing the Quest. The problem now is the Quest just falls into his lap for no particular reason. Right place, right time, and he doesn't question it. Given his personality as I developed it later, that doesn't fit. I think he's going to be more actively scheming from the start, but in the beginning, scheming only in a self-serving way. So he can Grow As a Person and all that when he finally embraces his heroic destiny.

Don't worry, though. I'm no Virginia Wolfe and this isn't instrospection-driven literary fiction. The focus is still going to be on bashing people about the head with shiny sticks.


Katie said...

I love that you called him a "vanilla yogurt" hero. Very descriptive. lol I've had similar issues. But you don't have to make him an anti-hero to make him interesting...unless you want to. Just give him some hobbies. ;)

Ban said...

bash away - I love shiny sticks!

scott g.f.bailey said...

I'm trying to write introspective literary fiction that includes bashing on heads. No, really.

You're dead on when you talk about how you won't "use it all up" if you pour creativity into one character. You learn how to do it and then you do it for all your characters. That's the very reason I'm willing to walk away from old projects, too: I assume I can do better with what I've learned from my earlier works.

Tara Maya said...

Scott: I'm trying to write introspective literary fiction that includes bashing on heads.

I know, and I expect it to be AWESOME.

No pressure.

scott g.f.bailey said...

Uh, thanks?