marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

heroes and villains and kings and queens

And genre, too, since genre tends to affect whether you have any of those characters.

A long time ago I read a writer observing that if what interest you most is human ability to make choices and act, royalty makes sense for your characters, because you can get the choices most chemically pure.  If a poor man does, or does not, steal a loaf of bread, the reader is left with the suspicion that the fear of the law and hunger had a great deal of influence in the choice.  Whereas, if a king steals a country, it is both more gratuitous and freer from the fear of punishment, so kings make good choices as characters to make choices -- good or bad as the plot demands.

Actual royal blood is optional, of course.  What is needed is the ability to make choices and have important consequences result.  Epic fantasy and space opera and many other branches of SF and fantasy allow  the writer to set up choices on a grand scale.  Not all of them.  And the branches that don't tend to be those called literary. . . .

Unsurprising, since literary fiction nowadays does not tend to lean toward people who make effectual choices.  The classic literary plot being of someone who realizes at the end how empty and shallow his life is.  And I still remember a review of Incredibles that thought it was a Deep and Significant film as long as it showed Bob mired in unpleasant job.  As soon as he burst free it was demoted to a mere action flick in their eyes.
Tags: genre: fantasy, genre: space opera, heroes and villains, world-building: royalty, world-building: social classes
Subscribe

  • The World of Mr. Mulliner

    The World of Mr. Mulliner by P.G. Wodehouse The omnibus of all the Mr. Mulliner stories. Including all those in Meet Mr. Mulliner, Mr. Mulliner…

  • Mulliner Nights

    Mulliner Nights by P.G. Wodehouse The third and final (except the omnibus) dedicated Mulliner collection. Still our faithful fisherman -- though we…

  • Mr. Mulliner Speaking

    Mr. Mulliner Speaking by P.G. Wodehouse The second Mulliner collection, but the stories are either stand-alones, or connected to stories in this…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 10 comments

  • The World of Mr. Mulliner

    The World of Mr. Mulliner by P.G. Wodehouse The omnibus of all the Mr. Mulliner stories. Including all those in Meet Mr. Mulliner, Mr. Mulliner…

  • Mulliner Nights

    Mulliner Nights by P.G. Wodehouse The third and final (except the omnibus) dedicated Mulliner collection. Still our faithful fisherman -- though we…

  • Mr. Mulliner Speaking

    Mr. Mulliner Speaking by P.G. Wodehouse The second Mulliner collection, but the stories are either stand-alones, or connected to stories in this…