Saturday, July 11, 2009
The hero thows a fit
Jack Troy stands up, hands on hips and glares at his creator, EA McKenzie, in disbelief. "You're kidding, right? You haven't given me enough to deal with, now you add a dominating grandmother?"
"Jack," EA says. "You are dealing with things far too well. You need an antagonist to challenge you."
"WHAT, getting shot isn’t enough? Raising an ungrateful, fifteen-year old brother doesn’t antagonize me? Taking in a complete stranger who brings danger to me and Ancel, isn’t enough? What about falling in love? That's stressful . . . though, well, pleasant, but still. And you're reorganizing the script and taking out some of my best stuff. What's that about? I'm starting to look like a freaking . . . gees, I don't know. You tell me."
With a superhuman effort, EA squelches her impatience, takes a deep breath and says, "Calm down, Jack. It's not like you to get so excited."
"Wait, this is the only life I get. Once you close the lid on the computer, you go off and have a grand old time while I'm left in your most recent fantasy and forgotten. Sometimes I'm even left hanging with a dangling participle, an unfinished sentence, or an unresolved catastrophe. Talk about tension. So I can get excited, you taught me how to be emotional, EA."
EA raises an eyebrow. "Yes, I see I've done that quite well, too well, maybe. With all due respect, my dear, I can shove a sock in your mouth at will."
EA blows off Jack's indignation and continues, "Here's the deal, you are too perfect, too wonderful and I love you like that, but the readers might find your perfect-ness boring. I'd hate for them to give up on the book and miss the adventure. And you're not a freaking anything. You're a warm, kind hearted man on a mission to save a young boy's life. We needed grandma to shake things up with Ancel and to disapprove of Skip. It gives her the excuse she's been looking for to say 'I told you so.' You feel guilty and angry, so you turn on the woman you so recently realized you love."
Jack isn’t convinced. "Well that takes care of my, so called 'perfect-ness.'" He pauses for breath, then remembers, "And, and, aren't those chapters where the old bag lady gets killed exciting? What about when we go to the shelter to rescue Skip and he topples a table and injures my knee. Now I've got to gimp and hobble with a crutch and a cane through the next few chapters--and that's in addition to the gunshot wound I already received in my shoulder. Skip was a little twit in that scene, EA, he almost kills Bobby and puts Cole and me in mortal danger."
"I know, I know. But the readers aren’t going to get the emotional bang for their buck. It's not your fault, I'm the one writing the novel and I'm the one putting myself out there, not you. They'll love you no matter how boring the story is. We've learned through reading and studying that a few tension filled scenes just aren't going to cut it. We need more substance, and we're still not quite sure how to write the ending. Then there's the problem of the other characters getting all the attention at the end while you sit with Ancel in the hospital. Granny might come in handy there."
EA feels bad for Jack as he sits with his big, sad eyes. Then she realizes she's talking to a fictitious character. They'll be carrying her away in a padded wagon next. But she can't leave this unresolved. "Aw, Jack, You're the hero," EA says, "Those other characters are there to make you look good and help you resolve things."
Jack heaves a heavy sigh. "I . . . I guess you're right, but no more surprises, okay."
"Sorry, darlin, I can't promise you that," EA says with a broad smile.
Jack glares at her. Even with that expression on his face, he's still the hunk she created.