Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Blog Chain: Ten-Wordus Interruptus

Today's Ten-Word Tuesday has been interrupted to bring you the early March blog chain.

Do you create characters that are
larger-than-life or are your characters
more like the average Joe?

When Extraordinary Eric revealed the blog chain topic this time around, I couldn’t help but think of the cartoons I watched as a child.

Oh, how I hated how Professor Keenbean’s inventions always saved Richie Rich from certain doom!


And I’m probably the only person alive who wanted to see Sylvester the Cat eat Tweety Bird (except in the Hyde & Go Tweet episode).


It annoyed me to no end to see two heroes bailed out time and time again by station or circumstance. I think that frustration is part of the reason I now choose to write about normal people whose mistakes snowball out of control. (Yes, the foundation of my life was was built with Saturday morning cartoons. Sad, I know.)
One of my MCs calls herself the Queen of Bad Decisions. She's a nurse and a mom who lives paycheck to paycheck. Despite her attempts to live a life that would make her Daddy proud, she is a slave to impulse.

Who isn’t whim-driven once in awhile? (Yes, I’m talking about that Kit Kat you bought in the check-out lane at Wal-Mart.)

Another one of my MCs is so busy focusing on someone else’s faults she doesn’t realize her own life is crumbling beneath the weight the mistakes she is making.

What kind of person hasn’t experienced denial? (Well, I haven’t, but…)

My characters are average joes with human flaws that are magnified times a hundred. No one can save them but themselves. There are no magic moon shoes designed by Professor Keenbean. No Granny with an umbrella. No Spike the bulldog. Not here.
What about your characters? Average joes or larger than life?

Be sure to check out Sarah’s post on Thursday to see her thoughts on the topic.

14 comments:

Rena said...

So far, they've been pretty average, just trying to get through life in general.

arlee bird said...

I prefer just typical people like most of us are. I can relate better to them and am more interested in their lives. Extraordinary heroes are exciting and provide good entertainment value, but I feel for the average Joes more.
Lee

Elana Johnson said...

Excellent post! I too am a lover of those old Saturday morning cartoons.

My characters are a bit larger than life. At least they think they are. Teens. What are you going to do with them?

I think it's great to have something larger than life in a character. Otherwise, why would we want to read about them? So big flaws are great!

Eric said...

Great answer to this question, Kat. And yes, I also grew up on the Saturday morning cartoons. I actually weep at the quality of them these days.

I completely agree with you about the way the Profs Keenbeans of the world save everyone. It's too boring and coincidental for me. Nice post. Oh, and I really like your title. Interruptus indeed!

Nisa said...

You're not alone! I always wanted to see tweedy get what he deserved!! I loved that poor silly Sylvester! I feel the same way about road runner. Poor Wile E.

Great post, Kat! I need to go check out Eric's now!

Sandra said...

I always thought that Sylvester, Tom, Wile E. Coyote, and all the villains were the real victims, since they always lost. Obviously Sylvester can't really eat Tweety, but it would have been more interesting if the plots were more balanced.

I agree with you that heroes who have to be bailed out by others don't make good protagonists. Real larger-than-life heroes use their own talents to solve their problems. (Ritchie Rich might be larger-than-life, but I don't think Tweety is.) Ordinary Joes and Janes may not seem to have such talents, but sometimes adversity brings out the extraordinary in ordinary people.

Cole Gibsen said...

Great post! My last character was larger than life so, in my current novel, I wanted a character who could be anyone. A girl who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's been a lot of fun!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I'm with you, I like working with the average joes who deal with blow after blow or make normal into disaster, as the case may be.

KM Wilsher said...

Great post, Kat. I like inspiring characters. Those that have flaws those that overcome1

Great cartoons. . .And I bet you have some blockbuster characters!

Crimey said...

Kat,
My characters are pretty ordinary people as well. I think some of the most interesting stories are those about ordinary people with "real" flaws trying to live their lives. Sometimes though, as a writer, I make the world fall down on their heads.

Shaun Hutchinson said...

Awesome post! I too wanted Tweety to be eaten. There was just something TOO smug about him.

B.J. Anderson said...

Great post! And how did you know I bought that kit-kat at Walmart?!

Sarah Bromley said...

Writing average characters ups the relatability quotient but it's how they tackle their issues that make them larger-than-life. And, yes, I bemoan the current Saturday morning cartoons. As the mother of two small children, the cartoons drive me nuts.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

I love your Saturday morning influences! I think my biggest influence from cartoons wasn't the shows, but the commercials. It always tore me up inside when that poor Trix bunny or Fred Flinstone couldn't get their sugared cereal of choice.

Great post!