marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

with a book in her hand

Sometimes what you need is not a man coming through the door with a gun in his hand, but a girl with a book in hers.

Tossing a hero out on a quest with no clue where he is going or sometimes even what he needs is fun, sometimes, but he has to stumble on information somewhere.

Sending him off to a library or a wise old hermit or some such is better than to have him actually stumble on it, but knowledge is always necessary to resolve the story without dumb luck.

I tend to make it a girl partly in response to the grand old tradition, as old as the chivalric romances, of the damsel with the knowledge of the quest -- showing up at King Arthur's court, or living in a pavilion in the woods -- who sends the knight on his proper way, and partly because it gives her some way to be useful in a world where upper body strength is really important in battle.

But then, again, her information had better not be, "Sit down and let the other guys do the work," so she might as well have a gun in her hand.
Tags: characters, discovery, exposition, orchestrating characters, plot twist

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