Mark Terry

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bond, James Bond or Miss Marple?

October 12, 2010
Do you write about heroes or everyday people?

Obviously Derek Stillwater falls into the hero category. My Theo MacGreggor collection of novellas (and the resulting unpublished novels) were much more everyday people.

In one of my wips, China Fire, the main character is a CIA agent, Monaco Grace. But she hooks up with an in-over-his-head college professor, Alan Richter. As written, it's about a hero. But I've considered the possibility--and discussed it briefly with an agent although it sometimes seemed like we were discussing two different books--of rewriting it from the POV of Richter. I still consider that. It would be a vastly different book, that's for certain. But you deal less with trade craft in that type of book and more with a normal person being clever and using his wits.

I like both, actually, though in my reading I tend more toward heroes. Perhaps it's the Walter Mitty fantasy aspect of it, living exciting lives vicariously through heroic supermen (and women).

How about you? Which do you like to read? Which do you like to write?

5 Comments:

Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

But, but, but!!!! But!!!!!!! Oh no! You couldn't! You wouldn't! I love it when you write female main characters!

Say it ain't so!

7:43 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Probably ain't so. I'd say extremely unlikely.

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Jim said...

I know my personal preferences, although to a large extent I think it depends on the book, on the story the author is telling, and how it is being told.

Having said that, of course, I must admit to a fondness for tales of knowledgeable professionals -- be they private eyes, police detectives, attorneys, secret agents, special forces, whatever -- told in realistic fashion with believable verisimilitude, without gaffes that would break my willing suspension of disbelief.

To pick a work with which you are familiar, the opening chapters of The Fallen are exactly what I like to find in a novel. I am not a firearms expert -- and have never fired anything more exotic than a .38 revolver and a .22 rifle -- but I believed what you were saying about the weapons and tactics and the environment, etc.

I have no interest in reading a story about how a sweet little old lady in a small village in Wales solves the mystery of who poisoned the vicar in a locked room. However, I am certain that some writers could tell that tale in a way that would draw me in and keep me turning the pages.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Jim,
Yeah, I lean toward what you're saying, too--in fact, I think if I look at the last dozen books or so that I've read:

Bad Blood by John Sandford--Minnesota cop
Strong Enough to Die by Jon Land--Texas Ranger
Body of Lies by David Ignatius--CIA agent
Star Island by Carl Hiaasen--hell if I know who the main character was
Crashers by Dana Haynes--NTSB investigators
The Confessor by Daniel Silva--Mossad agent
No Mercy by John Gilstrap--former special forces turned hostage retrieval expert
The Book of Spies by Gayle Lynds--CIA, FBI, etc.
Magickeepers II by ERica Kirov--kid who's a real magician
House Justice by Mike Lawson--troubleshooter for Speaker of the House (sort of in between type character)
The Silent Man by Alex Berenson--CIA agent

Definitely leaned for "knowledgeable professionals"

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Well, I admit I'm not really attracted to men in uniforms! Although I do enjoy detective novels I prefer them to be as unprofessional, and as unlike real detectives probably are, as possible. (I mean, is Inspector Morse like any real detective?) Police procedurals I generally dislike. (Men in uniforms!) Which is not to say I don't enjoy reading about heroes. Mike Hammer is basically an indestructible superhero. And how about Conan the Barbarian? I prefer characters who are heroic because of their mental abilities, or their unwavering pursuit of justice.

1:49 PM  

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