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Friday, June 22, 2012

Book characters

Aspiring actors are given the advice to avoid type casting. Only being able to portray one type of character might lead to an audience quickly becoming bored with that actor. 

Aspiring authors would do well to follow the same advice. Writing about the same subject over and over again will make what the reader can expect predictable. Some very talented authors can get away with it, weaving a completely different story writing about their favorite subject.

Among others, Jilly Cooper can do this. Whether she writes about Rupert Campbell Black’s antics in “Riders” or an emotionally abused grandma in “Jump”, somewhere along the line a horse is playing a part, but the stories are very different.

Author X (I shall not mention her name) is not such an author or she didn’t get the memo. All her books are about the rich and famous. I liked her first book, I like it enough to buy the second one. I was somewhat disappointed when the second story was again about people with money and power, but okay, maybe it was a coincidence.

Research about her third and fourth novel revealed that the story was again about the rich and famous and I thought “Oh hell no.”

Author X’s books summarized:

·       The main character is filthy rich. He’s not just a millionaire, he’s a billionaire. While it can be nice to read about people with pots of money, it can also become rather annoying. Especially if your bank balance lacks a couple of zeros.

·       Supporting characters work themselves into a stupor. Working 18 hours a day is part of the package in clawing their way to the top.

·       After work they attend parties (only movers and shakers invited of course) where they drink copious amount of champagne and sniff a few lines of coke. I have no experience with coke sniffing, but on the few occasions that I looked too deep into a glass I had such a hangover the next day that I was in no condition to go to work. 

·       When the supporting characters come home from the party they have steamy sex for hours on end. This really makes me wonder. If they worked an 18 hour day and got wasted at a party, how do they manage to romp around until the wee hours of the morning? When do these people actually sleep?

·       Still on the subject of sexual escapades … the men are always ready for action and the women have multiple orgasms. I have a little trouble with that too. I think it’s far more likely that a woman who’s been on her feet since the crack of dawn, and for whom the room starts to spin to moment she lies down (on account of all the champagne) is more likely to utter the words “Not tonight honey”.

·       While the women sleep their way around New York, Los Angeles, London, Sidney and a few other cities, they don’t give a second thought to sexually transmitted diseases. They meet a man who can help them reach their goal and hup, they’re between the sheets. Whatever happened to women making it on their own? Isn’t it a little degrading that they still use sex as a means of advancement?

·       The men in author X’s stories invariably look like George Clooney. I can only sigh and shake my head at the comparison. I mean really, is there only one attractive man on earth? Personally I don’t see what the big deal is. I’ve seen Clooney in his early years in the TV series E.R. and in movies such as “Up in the Air” and “The Descendants” and I see nothing special. He’s a good actor, but as far as looks are concerned he’s not my cup of tea.

·       The women in author X’s stories are always chic and glamorous. They wear designer clothing (of course, if you worked 18 hours a day in a power job you could afford designer labels too), their hair is always smooth and sleek no matter what the weather conditions are, and short of mascara and a bit of lip gloss they wear no makeup. They are blessed with a natural beauty.

Darn, I wish I was blessed with a natural beauty. When there’s moisture in the air my hair turns frizzy no matter what I do.
As for makeup, I need the full nine yards. If I was to just use a bit of mascara and lip gloss I’d look like death warmed up.

While some people will undoubtedly enjoy a story about millionaires and their entourage, that doesn’t mean that author X has to be the sole provider of those stories. Can’t she write about something else? 

Then again, maybe I’m taking this all a bit too seriously. After all, it is just fiction. But if I am taking these stories seriously, I’m hardly the only one. One woman posted on author X’s website “Could you give Adam H.  my phone number? Even though he’s selfish and arrogant, I want to marry him (and his billions)”.

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