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Armageddon, Dean Koontz and Odd Thomas

Well…we seem to have survived Harold Camping’s prediction of the end of the world. Either that or we’re one of the 200 million he said would survive. In any case, I held off publishing my Saturday rant just in case.

So back to writing. I’m currently trying to get my head around what makes the perfect protagonist. My fellow dwarves would have me believe all heroes should have a dark side. Besides saving fair damsels, they should have a bit of ‘nasty’ in them. Heroes who are nice and sweet provide no interest to readers they say.

Is that true?

Thinking back over many decades of reading—especially epic fantasy as well as other genres—I conclude there is a sliver of truth in current dwarf-think.

By the same token, I can think of many stories (perhaps even a majority) where the protagonist is indeed nice. Nice doesn’t deter the protagonist from killing bad guys, monsters, or other evil beings. Good versus evil can be taken literally in many classic stories.

By way of example, I would use Odd Thomas. Dean Koontz has used Odd Thomas in four books to date. Not once has he been anything other than good. He even spent am entire book as Brother Odd and lived in a monastery.

Is Odd Thomas an interesting character? I, along with millions of other readers, think so. He hangs out with the dead after all…

My conclusion is…when my characters have failed the ‘interesting’ test, it’s not simply because they don’t have a dark side. It’s because I’ve not properly built enough interest into them.


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