Saturday, October 6

Smart Heroes Annoy Me...

Okay, really, they don't. I'm kind of a geek-lover. Smart men fascinate me. I married one. I have them as friends. Smart women, as well. I don't like dumb-but-lucky heroines... I like them to have skills. I like them to have brains, and to be able to use those brains in a pressure situation to make things all right.

It's just hard writing about headlong rushes into the wilderness to find a lost or kidnapped heroine, when your hero is an intelligent, well-trained military strategist. None of this hopping on a horse and growling at everyone else to 'stay here... this is my battle'. A) he's not an idiot and he knows that more people means a better chance of finding said lost heroine and B) his men are too well-trained and loyal to allow him to do so without their protection.

All the stories and movies where the hero goes on a heroic rampage all by his lonesome... they're sweet, but they show a decided lack of intelligence and wisdom (which are NOT the same thing and do not necessarily reside in the same brain together), by going it alone. I mean, if the love of MY life is out there, either lost or captured by some nefarious evil overlord, I want as many people at my back as possible, so that BOTH of us are alive, intact, and fully functional (bow-chicka wow wow!) for the happy ending.

Or is that just me?

But from a writer's perspective, intelligent heroes are really hard to write around. Because you DON'T get the emotional ride-off-all-alone-to-save-the-day. You get characters that look at you funny when you even suggest such a thing. And they watch you, patiently waiting for you to remember that you WROTE THEM THAT WAY! 

Argh! What was I thinking???

So now, in order to have a hero/heroine (let's not be sexist... sometimes it's the hero that needs saving) go out all alone, there has to be a darn good reason, and not a contrived one, but one that makes sense within the established storyline. Everyone else being stricken with a horrible bout of food-poisoning isn't enough. You need a plague. You need a massive infection that keeps everyone else down for a week or three. You need a damn good reason for the hero to open the huge gates and ride out into the blizzard without any back-up at all.

Or you need less intelligent characters.

Unfortunately, my characters are intelligent, responsible, exemplary leaders, so they can't do the things that heroes often do. But my heroine... she's a head-strong Earth girl that has always allowed her emotions to do her thinking for her. She can be easily led. But then what happens when she becomes a responsible parent? Ahhhh... see? Now she's intelligent and has more to think about than just her heart.

It's a dilemma. It requires a lot more thought. It requires more back-story to set up for the eventual necessity of the heroes and heroine to run off, pell-mell, to save each other. Or someone else. Who knows? These crazy cats are up to something all the time.

I guess my biggest problem is that I don't want folks reading my books telling the hero/ine "Dummy! You know better than that!" I mean, my Earth girls have seen horror movies. They DO know better than to explore the unknown alone, in their nighties, after they've heard horrific screams. Just sayin'...

Ah well... time to go figure out the next completely logical and believable (within the concept of 'suspension of disbelief' that is an imaginary world) situation that my folks are going to get into. :) I hope they do so intelligently!


  1. Aaarrrggghhh!!!!!


    Should I have kept my mouth shut with some speculation?

    Oh No!!!

  2. Nope. No spoilers here! I promise! I have written nothing on this topic... yet. :D You'll still be surprised, I promise. LOL