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Killing the hero September 22, 2010

Posted by mattfarmer in writing.
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I was sent this article on why the the hero can not always survive.

I have not (yet) killed my hero in any of my books. I have a plan to do something like the noble death with one of my favourites, but that is at least three books away.

How can you kill a hero? The hero is what drives the story, isn’t it? We go on the Hero’s Journey, with the hero. If you kill the hero, then who do you go on the journey with?

I can understand the dramatic shift which could occur if you ended your hero’s existence. It would totally throw the reader into a spin, wondering where they would land, who they could hold on to, which character would lead them to shore. And the armchair anarchist in me would like the challenge of suddenly, mid story, dramatic fight scene and, oh, wait, the bad guy wins the fight? I think it would be a fantastic challenge, as a writer, to find your story, salvage the day, find someone to carry on the story for you.

I can see the son taking over from the father. Easy thing to do that. I have seen it many times before. Perhaps the best example I can think of is the Game of Thrones. This is one of the best examples I can think of where the hero on which you hang the story’s hat suddenly gets killed. (Here’s hoping I didn’t spoiler anything for anyone by saying that). When Eddard gets the chop, I was honestly stunned. I did not see it coming at all. For a while I was thinking – who do I follow now?

It threw me as a reader, and fascinated me as a writer. Who does that? Who just ends the life of a hero mid-story like that? Well, George R R Martin obviously, but I don’t know if I could do it. I wonder if we build too much of the story around the hero. Do we make our heroes carry far too much of the story on their shoulders? Can the story survive without the hero?

But then, what is the story without a hero? A friend answered this by saying- ‘Reality Television’. Who wants to write that?


Working nine to five… September 12, 2010

Posted by mattfarmer in writing.
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*you all just heard Dolly Parton in your heads, didn’t you…*

I subscribe to the Clarion blog. It sends out loads of good speculative fiction news, writing prompts, ideas you never I’d never thought about (Fashion, day jobs in space), and guest bloggers.

On particular guest blogger, Dale Bailey wrote a guest blog about having a day-to-day job. This blog struck a chord with me.

I write. People who have read my work say- you are a writer, why are you not published? Yes, well.. but along with being a writer and a creator, you do also need to pay the rent, put food on the table, and have money to buy stuff. This is where the day job comes in. Very rarely is it that a day job matches your goals and desires in a creative way. Mine does, but in such a minuscule way. How to create different replies to customers about the same thing without being repetitive?

What I like about Dale’s guest blog is, he doesn’t fight against the day job. He does not have this struggle of the want to be a WRITER versus the want to eat and have a regular income. He is able to mesh the two together in a way which makes him satisfied and happy.

I know, from speaking to friends who are solely writers, that their lives are not days filled with writing the novel. They need to take on contract work, scarps of jobs here and there, writing things they would prefer not to. And it seems their creative writing time is limited to ‘after hours’, much like mine is. Part of me envies them in that they are living the writing life. But then, being able to have a weekend of relaxation, rather than having to finish another writing contract, and seemingly to be always working, does not make me feel envious at all.

I know I can fit writing around my life. My experiences with Nanowrimo have shown me this. But this event is not me trying to earn a living by my writing, but more taking part in a crazy event to create something.

I am still endeavoring to find a job which feels more like a writing and creative job for me. I am coming to realise, in this world, the growing need of a steady pay cheque. While this may cause struggle against my desire to be a paid writer & novelist, reading Dale’s blog spot made me feel less angst in this struggle.

I am writing, I am creating. And until I do make money through it, I must concentrate on providing and building a career for myself. Who knows, maybe if I get a job of awesome, being a novelist may not be the goal of my life?

Did I just say that?