Wednesday, March 26, 2014


OPPOSITES ATTRACT

by Clare O'Donohue


This week's question: If you could merge two fictional detectives, who would your dream mash up be?

The first thing that came to mind was Sherlock Holmes with Nick Charles, from The Thin Man. Why?



Because Sherlock is often so hyper intellectual, while Nick is more free-wheeling. I'm not sure it would make for a better detective but it might be fun to watch.

Or Lee Child's Jack Reacher with Agatha Christie's Jane Marple - a really bad ass, tea drinking, crime solving, shoot first/ knit later detective. I'd read that book.

Or the leather-wearing, computer-savvy Lisbeth Salander of Girl With Dragon Tattoo mashed together with the polite, rumpled, Lt. Columbo...

I could do this all day and not just because it's fun to Frankenvent new characters. I like contradiction. I think we're all opposites inside our skin. It's what makes each of us so interesting, and worth more than a first impression dismissal.

There's humor in Jack, vulnerability in Lisbeth, a toughness in Jane, a drunken genius in Nick, a yearning to connect in Sherlock, and fans know that Columbo's obsequiousness is just strategy. That's why these characters, and so many others, endure in our imaginations. We think we have them all figured out, but they defy easy explanation - they require getting to know before they are really understood. Just like actual people.

I'm realizing what a great writing exercise it is to take two seemingly opposite characters, mine them for their most obvious traits, then create a new, wonderfully complex person.

I think I know what I'll be doing this week!   

6 comments:

Meredith Cole said...

I love how inspiring this mash-up blog has been for everyone! Can't wait to see what stories (and characters) come out of it...

Robin Spano said...

Fun combinations! I especially love the badass tea drinker. You're right that this is a great exercise in how to craft an interesting and complex character.

Susan C Shea said...

I'm reeling at the notion of a Jack Marple/Jane Reacher! A 6'4" old lady who knits when she's not wrenching someone's arm into an ugly pretzel...

Clare ODonohue said...

Susan - Wouldn't that be great!
I am going to play with this idea of mashing great detectives, because it really is a great jumping off point. Whoever came up with the question, well done!

Alan Orloff said...

Good post, Clare! (And I'm stealing your term, Frankenvent.)

Clare ODonohue said...

Please do Alan!