Feb 14, 2012

Mentally Flawed Heroes

Another day, another rejection letter from a literary agent.  I realize that many agents are too busy for a new client, but the rejection stings more when it comes after a partial request.  I can't help but hope "This is the one!"  But she wasn't.

Anyway, here's my topic of thought. I'm attracted to mentally flawed protagonists. Give me a depressed dwarf (Tyrion Lannister), a moody guy with voices in his head (Rand al'Thor), or a flipper baby (Arturo Binewski) over a normal swashbuckling hero any day. I'll even extend this to comics and films. Hellboy and Spider-Man are way cooler than James Bond or Jason Bourne, to me.  Bond or Bourne don't have enough issues.

In real life, of course, I would prefer to avoid people who hear voices or have murderous impulses. So why do I find "normal" heroes to be boring in fiction?  I think it's because I immerse myself in the story, and become the heroic character for a time, which frees me to say, think, and do things I would never say, think, or do. One of my protagonists lies to himself and treats people with savage rudeness, which is definitely not something I approve of. If I knew him in real life, I'd hate him. But I like being inside his point of view, since it's so different from my own. And he has a lot of growing to do as a character, which makes for fun storytelling.

Here are some protagonists I've cooked up, over the years:

- a wheelchair-bound, telepathic child misanthrope
- an agoraphobic giant with an overprotective mother
- a bookish kid who watched an angry mob murder his family
- an anorexic mermaid
- a telepathic seductress with jealousy issues
- a gambler and compulsive liar who murdered his father
- a spoiled prince with solid gold and silver body parts who trusts no one
- a mountain man whose roommate secretly rapes little girls

Yes, these are my protagonists. My antagonists have more serious mental issues.

1 comment:

Deirdre Saoirse Moen said...

Since your comment on Jim Hines's LJ was through G+, you wouldn't automatically get notification of a followup afaik. Therefore, I'm leaving this response here: http://jimhines.livejournal.com/616469.html?thread=17354261#t17354261