I think, somehow, I am destined to create what I learned only yesterday are beta heroes. I had never, until this week, heard there was such a phenomenon. Now I am so glad I know what he is. You see, several members of my critique group have been telling me that the male protagonist in my current novel is not “strong enough” – that he ought to be more macho, more – and these are my words now – traditional. It has been a profoundly frustrating experience. You see, I don’t want my main characters to be constrained by traditional boxes, not the men and especially not the women. So, while all the members of my group think my female lead is great, they have been telling me my male lead ought to be more stereotypical (my words again). I was even told he is a “wuss” and that that’s not what readers want. They seem to equate “strong” with “macho.”
I beg to differ. When I think back to my previous books, none of my male protagonists really fit the mold. Yet, my readers have loved those characters. They see no problem with them. And this is true even of my male readers. It seems readers and writers respond differently. Hmmmmm. Continue reading “The Beta Hero: A Non-Stereotypical Male Character”
For the first time in history, we are experiencing at least four generations laboring side-by-side in the workplace. In fact, six living generations exist representing six distinct groups. Collective experiences in life — wars, financial collapse, tech bubbles, nation building — have formed collective characteristics of like-minded people within each of these groupings. There’s a little variance in the classification of these generations but it looks like this: Continue reading “Getting it Right: Characteristics and Traits of your Supporting Cast”
by S.E. Zbasnik
In speculative fiction, there’s a trick people rely upon to insure their protagonist is the only one who can preserve the kingdom, save the world, and rescue the galaxy from mechanical centipedes. Unroll some ancient parchment, have blind monks read it in catacombs, and declare your main character the chosen one.
To say the chosen one has been done to death is to think hurricanes are a little windy. Not only is it a cliché infesting every genre it touches, it’s also a drama killer. Wrack your brain trying to create believable villains, establish obstacles that no one should survive, place your main character in immediate danger, and it all amounts to nothing. We know he’ll survive; he has to. He’s the chosen one. The spoilers are written right there in an ancient scroll only a wandering transient can read because his order failed to maintain itself before the prophesied times. Maybe they should have hosted more pancake feeds to raise funds. Continue reading ““The Chosen One” Is a Recipe for Writing Failure”
by S.E. Zbasnik
Like nonplussed and literally, the phrase “strong female character” has come to mean its antithesis. When people hear it, they picture a full fleshed out woman with her own wants and desires. What they get is a woman in a mini skirt and thigh high boots that occasionally punches people.
But, that strong female character cannot actually save the day. Her entire existence is for the main male hero. She may be spunky, and sassy, and is always met beating up some guys; but the second she teams up with MMH (main male hero) she abandons everything in her life to help him on his quest. She may even get captured and forget how to fight, allowing the MMH to do all the cool stuff while she waits around in a metal bikini. Continue reading “I Hate Strong Female Characters”