Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Not gonna do it...wouldn't be prudent...

Great question, whoever came up with this one deserves some more blog points - I hear you can get really cool stuff with those - like on the old Wheel of Fortune when the ceramic dog was $800.



After some deep thought I have come up with an answer : our characters have to do everything that we wouldn't do.


For Example:

Say you arrive at a spooky old house, wearing your best white sweater and orange ascot, with your two girlfriends, one cute and ditsy the other kind of nerdy and smart along with your stoner friend who thinks his dog can talk and gets hungry enough to eat the dog's snacks. (Yeah - we've all had a few of those nights - you know where you're pretty sure the dog can order Pizza if you just talk to him long enough because you cannot figure out how to do it yourself.)



Anyway if I was the one wearing that ascot, no way I would go into this house, listen to the floor boards creek, find some footprints that look like they belong to the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and say: "Let's split up, Stoner and dog, you go search the basement, me and the girls will check out the master bedroom."

Hmm... wait a minute - I might actually say that, at least until I got slapped.



But than, post slap, as some horrible groaning noise emanated from the attic, I would certainly not say: "That sounded like it was coming from the attic, lets go check it out." Unless the groaning was more of a pleasant moaning and was coming from the master bedroom, and then I would say: "Stoner, you and the dog go check out the spooky basement, me and the girls are going to investigate that moaning."



SLAP.....SLAP.



Okay - this is isn't going so well.



My point is. Our protagonists have to do things we wont do. And cant do. They fight armed thugs with their bare hands. Jump off cliffs and race cars, have shootouts in public squares.

Even when their actions are similar to ours - they are not in the same realm.

In Black Rain, Hawker pilots a helicopter along a snaking tributary of the Amazon river, avoiding gunfire from a helicopter chasing him, overhanging tree limbs and flying fish (okay I added that last part in).

I flew planes - real slow planes - so slow that sometimes I looked down at the highways far below and the cars were going faster than I was.

In Black Sun, Hawker and Danielle (the other protagonist), scuba dive through a school of Hammerhead sharks to find an energy emitting object that is drawing the sharks toward it (sharks have sensory organs in their snouts that detect electric fields - hammerheads in particular - so this isn't actually that far fetched).

The part that is far fetched is the thought that I would ever ...EVER do something like that. No way, not for all the tea in China - which really is actually not all that enticing - but the point is - I'm not even getting in the pool if someone is floating around on a inflatable shark raft...
Unless... the pool is the grotto... and there's plesant moaning and then I say: "Stoner, you and the dog go order a pizza, me and the girls are going to take off our clothes and...

SLAP/SLAP.

Wait for it...........

SLAP. (there it is)

But you see my point. We - or at least I - am not that interesting. If there's trouble, I'm gonna call the police, hope the 911 operator hasn't been outsourced to India and say something about tax dollars, yada, yada, yada - and then "can you guys come down here and take care of this Creature from the Black Lagoon. He appears lost. He's all kinds of slimy and uhmm... yeah he said something about the Taliban. Just sayin. Thanks. See you guys at bake sale."

Is that exciting? Nooooo - no one wants to read that. What they do want to read is about someone willing to take a risk, someone willing to step out of the ordinary and do the extraordinary. Someone willing to say:

"Stoner, you and the dog go lure that Creature back here and me and the girls will wait here in this hot tub and when he comes through we'll pop up and catch him. I know you don't want to do it, but I'll give you one of these dog treats if you do. You'll do it? Great."

Now that's a leader - that's a hero you want to read about.

17 comments:

Mary Vaughn said...

Well put. No one would continue reading very far if your playboy hero turned and ran.
Funny and informative -- love it.

Graham Brown said...

Thanks Mary - Love your Icon or Avatar or whatever we call these things.

Kelli Stanley said...

LOL!!! Graham, thanks for making me laugh hard enough to choke on my cereal! ;)

I had NO idea you harbored Scooby Doo Velma and Daphne fantasies ... I'm so glad you decided to share! ;)

Meredith Cole said...

You're so right! Our characters have to do things that we would never do, or else people would go to sleep reading our books. I'm only brave enough to write about the ass-kicking.

Jeannie Holmes said...

LOL! So Graham has secret Scooby Gang fantasies. Interesting. I had no idea. I'll just file that away for the next Author Smackdown... ;)

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Great post, Graham! It was funny and charming and very true. It turns out I don't infiltrate foreign governments to pass on secret documents and have never escaped from a zeppelin as it was landing. Not even one time. But that Hannah Vogel sure has.

Your Velma and Daphne in the master bedroom fetish will come back to haunt you. I think we'll all make sure of it. SLAP will the least of your problems. :)

Graham Brown said...

I admit it Kelly - bith Velma and Daphne do it for me. LOL

Sorry about the cereal.

Graham Brown said...

Absolutely Meredith - the good thing is we can drink Mojitos on the beach and feel as if we did those things.

Graham Brown said...

Yeah you have one on me Jeannie. Author Smackdown 2011 I will have to be ready.

Graham Brown said...

Now Becky - I'm sure I';ve seen you escaping from a Zeppelin at least once. Remember back in Ought Nine when - oh wait, we're not supposed to talk about that. Never mind.

Reece said...

Great post, Graham! As someone who writes books about lawyers, I definitely need to tweak reality a bit to come up with a take-charge thriller protagonist. If I stuck to reality, I'd be writing 360 pages of an attorney sitting at a desk answering phone calls and drafting contracts. As Scooby would say, "Ruh roh."

Graham Brown said...

"RUH ROH" is perfect, Reese.

Maybe that's why lawyers in books, TV and Movies have so much more fun than real lawyers.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

I guess I know how sealed your lips are NOW, Graham.

The black helicopters are on their way.

Graham Brown said...

The black helicopters will never find me as long as I keep this tin foil on my head. :)

TracyK said...

HA! Funny post Graham - try watching the Scoobs with your little kids. Now that is weird.

Graham Brown said...

Tracy - I used to watch it as a little kid - I never realized what was actually going on. You know - why Shaggy as always hungry.

Gabi said...

What did Stoner and the dog ever do to you? Slap, slap, slap, bite the leg.

Thanks for the blog points, though I have no doubt you'll send my ceramic dog to the basement to fight bad guys.