Beware the Everyman

It frustrates me when I sit down to watch a new movie and am faced with yet another cleft chinned hero with an arsenal full of one-liners and a leading lady whose greatest feature appears to be her tiny waist and large bust size. These cookie cutter characters that flit from one movie to the next, even though the names in the credits change, with nothing to distinguish them from well built robots. I can tolerate it, though. In movies. Not in books.

I’m not talking about the “sex sells” concept, though that could be another post. I’m talking about the Everyman Syndrome. In the movies, more often than not, the characters are placeholders. Hero= guy with guns and self-righteous attitude. Villain= guy with guns and malevolent intentions. Love interest= non-intimidating super-model with unexplainable attraction to Hero who gets herself into situations where she needs saving. Whatever. With few exceptions (the exceptions generally being adapted from books), they don’t grow as characters, they don’t overcome internal obstacles. They’re the Everyman. The Everyhero, the Everyvillain, and Everyhenchmen by the dozens.

But, in books, I need more. If I read one more character being described as “average” or “normal” I’m going to scream. What is average? Pluck ten people from the populace at random, are any of them going to look the same? Will they have the same interests, the same mannerisms, the same anything except, possibly, the same number of fingers and toes? Describing someone as normal or average is the same or worse than not describing them at all. We all have details that make us interesting and if you’re not going to draw those out of your characters you’ll have a story populated by stick figures.

Advertisements

0 Responses to “Beware the Everyman”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Enter your email address to subscribe to the Tin Pencil blog!

Join 13 other followers

Meetings every 2nd and 4th Wednesday!

December 2009
M T W T F S S
« Nov   Jan »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Posts Categories


%d bloggers like this: