Saturday, March 6, 2010

Don't Take This Lying Down

Current Reading: The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein.

Inspirational Quote: "Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light." -- Dylan Thomas

It's been brought to my attention, in various words at various times, that the protagonist of the Magnus Somnium is a passive guy. It's finally sunk in. I've always pontificated loudly that I hate passive heroes, those who sit/stand back and let things happen to them. I'm surprised that I somehow wrote one without realizing it.

Of course, most heroes start off passive. They live their quiet, peaceful lives for about a quarter of the book while dark forces gather. Then those dark forces strike and our hero finds himself/herself jolted out of their previous existence and forced to deal with some new set of circumstances. That first event, that first turning point, is usually caused by outside forces and the hero is often passive to that point.

After that, though, they'd better do something. Someone's knocked over their house of cards and its time for them to take revenge, or rebuild, or do SOMETHING. In the case of the Magnus, the hero finds himself (even that phrase, "finds himself" indicates how passive he is) pushed into one situation and another by outside forces. He reacts, and it's not until the final bit of the book that he acts, that he tries to take some control of his situation.

Obviously, this is untenable. It's almost unreadable.

After that initial system-shock which unsettles him, my hero should do something. He should try to get back to his original state, or try to find out who was responsible for the change, or try to take control of the situation. One thing he should not do is let others make his moves for him. He should, as Thomas put it so eloquently, "Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

And thus, I have some serious work to do.


TerryLynnJohnson said...

Racing in the Rain is one of my favorite books! Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

I so admire anyone who has the determination to write a book, let alone re-write it. Here's to lots of inspiration.

Ulysses said...

Terry: Racing in the Rain is a beautiful book. I'm having some difficulty with it, though, because the series of unrelenting tragedies that befall Enzo's owner is almost enough to bring on depression. After I've finished Racing in the Rain, I think I'll go read the Book of Job for laughs.

Kim: Thanks for the good wishes. I admire those who write books, rewrite them, pursue them to publication and then DO THE WHOLE THING OVER AGAIN. I hope someday to join their ranks, but first I guess I have to finish something and that's proving to be difficult.