Friday, June 24, 2011

The Anti-hero hero

Okay Eunice, let's begin this conversation on the assumption that we are all human.  (. . . I know, I know.  You've told me enough times already the way I scarf down food at the supper table can't possibly be human!)
Nevertheless, dear, let's make this assumption:  we're all human.

We all have our strengths and our weaknesses.  We need to, occasionally, rely on other people.  Have to rely on other people.  Unfortunately, sometimes.  But here's the point I'm trying to make.  Sometimes . . . perhaps more often that we will admit . . . we want in our lives someone who is invincible.  Omnipotent.  Not a god . . . not some divine creature with supernatural powers.  No.  We want a flesh and blood human being who is our ally and who does things, says things, acts out against those who are unfair to us--in ways we would never do ourselves.

In fiction this is called a hero. But what if we have a dark side to our personalities?  What if we want to bodily harm someone?  What if we secretly dream of having the bad guy getting his just do in a grim, even marginally sadistic . . . . and certainly quite painful . . . .biblical sense of retribution?

Ah!  The anti-hero hero!  The bad guy who doesn't quite fit the normal description of a bad guy!  The killer with a conscience?  A sense of justice due?  We all have read in fiction such characters.  The Punisher in the comics comes to mind.  Maybe even Jason Bourne in the way he takes out his enemies so effortlessly.  There are many examples of this kind of character.

As a writer ( . . . . yes, Eunice!  I call myself a writer!)  the idea of creating an anti-hero hero is quite appealing.  Mine is a dark-eyed hit man named 'Smitty.'  Gun, knife, hand-to-hand, explosives;  you name it--he knows how to kill you.  And so smooth . . . .like the whisper of a thought in and out of your mind before you are even aware of it.  That's how Smitty operates.

And that leads to a problem I'm having.  Perhaps too smooth?  Too efficient?  Perhaps the nemesis of bad guys needs a nemesis himself to confront.  Perhaps make a mistake or two.  Perhaps become . . . . more human?

Hmmm . . . . .

The title shown below is the first collection of a series called Call Me Smitty.  Three short stories of Smitty in each installment.  Five installments so far.  And counting. Sooner or later I'll get some feedback from fans.  Maybe they can help me out in making Smitty more human.

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