I’m sure we all know the trope that is the case with most action movies these days. Most movies in general, actually. Books, too. The guy gets the girl and goes in for the Big Kiss at the end. Or… the girl gets that guy and much the same thing happens. We have these fantastic movies with brilliant plots that end up boiling down to the same old thing.
It all ends up being about the Big Kiss. It’s a solid inclusion in any film, much because it works. Having an action movie power through grit, blood and sweat seems to result in the ending only being sweet if it ends with a happy couple. If you want to make money, I suppose, you are safer if you don’t try something new.
Risk-taking is not often profitable, but following the crowd is something that I would say is boring. Perhaps a slight spoiler here (in case you haven’t read the first story of Elspeth Morcaya), but Elspeth doesn’t have a partner. I wanted to make a hero who isn’t dependent on others (note: I use ‘hero’ as a gender non-specific term)
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the romance-action trope actually does make plenty of good movies. A novel I have in the wings follows that general idea. The concept I’m trying to explore is how to make a story without it, which seems rarer, yet still having that ‘sweet’ ending to conclude.
The thing is, romantic attachment is very widely prevalent throughout society. That’s no big revelation. It’s something that is frequently ingrained into our very biology. This attachment, or the threat of losing it, often spurs the hero on to greater acts of bravery, or some almost-superhuman feat of might.
So without it, a hero must have another motivation. Perhaps traditionally, or as one would expect, a hero is often driven by something noble, some higher cause. They are pushed to better themselves, protect something they care about, or fulfil some important duty. Recently, particularly with the rise of ‘gritty hero’ movies, we have many heroes who are motivated by things that would traditionally have motivated a villain, such as revenge, greed or perhaps some slightly-twisted beliefs.
We love the idea of a character who is morally grey, who constantly does questionable things with the best of intentions. We love a rugged, rough character who has some dark, painful past.
We love characters that are different, but how many forms of different can there really be. How many combinations can we put together to make a hero? Ten? Twenty? A hundred?
Something different is frequently the desire of writers everywhere, for movies, books, screenplays, comics, and TV shows. One of the best ways to make someone different yet still relatable is the presence of romantic love within their life. Since it does relate to the majority (not all), it makes some of the darkest and moodiest characters lovable (or… respectable?)
When a character loses that romantic component, they became a little more detached from mainstream society. Just think about the stink people kicked up when Julia Gillard, the former Prime Minister, mentioned that children and marriage were not a priority for her.
So to Elspeth, and my short story series, the second of which IS COMING SOON. As with many characters, Elspeth’s inner drive will become clear over the course of the series’ ongoing character development. She will grow and expand within the minds of the few people reading her tale, but you will note something of a disjunction in her dealing with people. She’s aloft, detached and difficult to relate to. I promise this is by design.
This series is as much an experiment for me in a number of ways as it is an experiment for all of you. To that end, give me as much feedback as you want. Negative/positive is no issue, as long as it’s something constructive.
Tell me, if anything, how Elspeth relates to YOU!