Sunday, March 7, 2010

Say It Ain't So, Joe!

My title has nothing to do with the post.  Welcome to another blog chain!  This fantastic chain was brought to you by Eric who asked:

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

First off, I love this topic, so great job, Eric!  I'm firmly on the side of the average Joe's.  I know there are a lot of great characters who are larger than life:  Batman, Ironman, etc.  But I think the truly great characters are those who we can relate to.  I think that's especially true in YA.  If we can't see ourselves in our heroes, then it's difficult to relate to them.  And that's what I like to do.

But books would be boring if they were all about normal people doing normal things.  I, for one, would never want to read a book about my own life.  What a yawner that would be.  So I like to take unusual situations and drop unlikely people into them.  Force a geek to save the world, a solid D student to disarm a bomb, an unpopular overweight kid to get the girl, a socially awkward kid to go on a crazy road trip.  Do those things and you'll begin to see that even the most average of average people is amazing.    When readers see that, then they'll see the same things about themselves.

Everyone is a hero to someone else.  Sure, we need larger-than-life heroes because it gives us something to aspire to, but we also need to see the hero within ourselves.

Check out the wonderful Michelle's blog for the previous post, and then tomorrow check out the fabulous Cole for her take.


  1. Great post, Shaun! I think we're on the same page as far as making sure characters are relatable in extraordinary ways.

  2. Those are my favorite types of stories! As a lover of Buffy I can't believe I'm saying this, but, I am so sick of "The Chosen One(s)". I like a character that can appeal to the average person.

  3. I think it's a very good point that we need to see the heroes within ourselves. It sounds like you have some great ways to make your characters stretch themselves.

  4. Great post. I completely agree with you. I like your idea of unlikely people in unusual situations. That's spot on, exactly what I think alot of people enjoy reading about. And I'm glad you enjoyed this one.

  5. awesome post! Like Cole said, those are my favorite types of stories as well. Always fun to see the underdog get the glory :)

    My word verification is booping - ha! love it :D

  6. ". . .we also need to see the hero within ourselves." So awesome and inspiring. Great post, Shaun!

  7. Aw, love this inspirational post! I agree we all need to see the hero in ourselves and others!

  8. I, for one, would never want to read a book about my own life.

    I beg to differ. After reading the series you just finished, I believe this isn't a very accurate statement. A lot of people would be interested to read your story.



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