A new direction?

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Sstavix
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A new direction?

Postby Sstavix » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:50 am

Yesterday I received a rejection notice from the publisher I had submitted (one of) my books too. Unfortunately, it was the book I felt the strongest about. So I've been in a bit of a funk trying to decide what to do next - and one option includes giving up on my dreams of being a writer and just trying to live day-by-day until I finally die. Dreams are dumb and never come true anyway, so why bother? :(

Tonight I had an interesting discussion with my wife. The book that I submitted was one that she wasn't too fond of, because she didn't like my protagonist. So we had a good discussion about protagonists and the nature of the hero.

I suppose one of the things I tend to do with my protagonists is to write into them what I would want to see in a hero - namely someone who isn't motivated by a tragic backstory (e.g. Batman, Spider-Man) or wrestling with a secret past or inner demons in order to try and do good. I want a hero that does good things because he (or she) is a genuinely good person. Sure, they may have their struggles, but they pull through, do the right thing and carry on to win the day. I like to take the "everyman" approach - after all, not everyone is motivated to do good things because they're suffering a guilt trip from their home planet being blown up, or because they stole a candy bar in fifth grade, or watched their best friend get run over by a train, or whatever.

My wife thinks characters like that have a tendency to be flat, shallow and unrealistic. She says that lawed characters tend to do better because people can relate to them more. Yes, even if they can shoot webbing out of their wrists and cling to walls. :wink: But it's the flaws that the characters have that make them relatable, and thus, likable. People like to read about flawed characters who wrestle with their inner demons because, at heart, they are flawed characters wrestling with their inner demons.

So this is a question for all you readers on the forums - what do you like to read in a protagonist? Do you want to read about heroes who strive to always do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do? Do you prefer to read about characters who are only motivated to do good because of some sort of issues in their past or personal obstacle they need to overcome? Or, on the other hand, should I ditch the idea of writing about good characters, and take more of a villainous, anti-hero approach? Basically, a real scumbag who kicks puppies into bonfires, yet he's depicted as the hero of the story?

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Re: A new direction?

Postby ccgr » Wed Jun 17, 2015 2:37 pm

Here's a thought...what about a character with regret? How about a person that tries to right a wrong and that could be their motivation for doing right to not make a past mistake again. Too cliche? We've all made decisions that we wish we could reverse right?

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Re: A new direction?

Postby Deepfreeze32 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:59 pm

Why not write some short stories with different approaches, and see which ones publishers like? Maybe your writing style will click with them better if you try a wide variety of techniques.

Or if you're ok with it, start sharing them with friends, family, etc and get feedback. The beauty of a short story is that it doesn't take as much time to write (usually) as a novel, and you don't have as much on the line regarding IP theft.



Personally, I like the inner-demons protagonist because it's how I am. Someone who is struggling against their past to reach a kind of peace. I also like the Anti-hero approach since they allow for potentially more interesting stories (Though I say this as a storyteller, not just a reader. :P ).

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Re: A new direction?

Postby Sstavix » Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:55 am

Here's a thought...what about a character with regret? How about a person that tries to right a wrong and that could be their motivation for doing right to not make a past mistake again. Too cliche? We've all made decisions that we wish we could reverse right?
Not necessarily cliche. One thing I've learned from researching on TV tropes is that if you come up with an "original" idea, a little bit of research will reveal that the idea isn't that original after all... but there's nothing really wrong with that. It's how you use it that can veer into cliche territory.

And, believe it or not, I kind of started on something like that today. :) My wife had the suggestion of trying different approaches, and so I've decided to try to write the first chapter of a few story ideas I have incubating in my head. This first one is a bit of a modern spin on the Biblical story of Paul / Saul. But it's a bit dark, so it'll probably be rough for me to write it, as well as for people to read it. (At least Christians... but if I continue with the story, hopefully they'll find some elements of redemption and atonement that they'll enjoy. Plus, I'm thinking of having Jimi Hendrix make a guest appearance. :wink: )
Why not write some short stories with different approaches, and see which ones publishers like? Maybe your writing style will click with them better if you try a wide variety of techniques.

Or if you're ok with it, start sharing them with friends, family, etc and get feedback. The beauty of a short story is that it doesn't take as much time to write (usually) as a novel, and you don't have as much on the line regarding IP theft.
I am thinking of trying something along those lines. However, of my friends and family, generally the only ones who give me feedback I can actually use is my wife. If people here on the forums would like to help me with my stories and figuring out how to flesh them out, I'd love to return the favor! :)

Maybe we can start a writing group if there's enough interest....
I also like the Anti-hero approach since they allow for potentially more interesting stories (Though I say this as a storyteller, not just a reader. :P ).
I have recently considered a very dark story about an antihero character... but then I realized that it was too much into satire and how I tend to generalize humanity, and couldn't really stand up on its own. So I probably won't put that one to paper....


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