I don’t know how you spent your Memorial Day weekend, but I was right here in Madison, attending Wiscon, the world’s leading feminist science fiction conference. Wiscon is always fun, exhausting, thought-provoking, inspiring, and guilt-inducing, and this year was no exception. I actually sat on a panel called “Reaching Readers: Best Practices for Writers,” that was all about using social media and communicating with your readers – and then I realized just how long it’s been since I’ve posted a blog here.
That’s my bad.
I’ve actually been writing blogs, you just might not have seen them. Recently I’ve been participating in several Facebook release parties, where in celebration of a new publication, an author hosts a bunch of other writers to show up and expound on a topic. And I got to thinking it was high time I reproduced those blogs here, in case you missed the party (which is your loss, by the way. We give away mad prizes at these things). So throughout this week, you’ll be seeing a number of mini-blogs that I’m editing and putting up here. These posts usually end with a question, and since I so rarely get to exercise the comments section of the blogs, I would love if any/all of you would post an answer right here on this page. I’m excited to see what you think.
For example, in honor of Rob Kroese’s new science fiction-comedy Starship Grifters, I posted a mini-blog about the nature of heroes. That happens to be a topic I’ve been considering, lately – mostly because as I blogged about previously, the book I’m writing now features a new protagonist, and it’s really been making me look at the whole hero thing from a new angle. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I’m calling Patron Heroes, meaning, what superhero does your protagonist most personify?
The narrator for my upcoming book, Lex, has a lot in common with Captain America. Jesse Cruz, the second protagonist of my Dead Spots/Trail of Dead/Hunter’s Trail trilogy? His patron hero is Spiderman all the way. But Scarlett…Scarlett’s patron hero is John McClane.
I know, McClane’s not exactly a comic book hero, (although I think we can all agree that there are shades of comic book-level exaggeration in Die Hard With a Vengeance), but he is my personal favorite embodiment of the idea of the Reluctant Hero. The Reluctant Hero is not someone who seeks adventure, or who wakes up in the morning wanting to save lives. No, he or she is just a person who steps in because there’s no one else to get it done. Scarlett, like John McClane, would be just as happy to let someone else handle the crises. But because of who she is, and because of circumstances, she’s just the best one for the job. Or at least, the only one for the job.
So here’s my question for you: who’s your Patron Hero? Or, failing that, who would you most want to be like?