Two A Hero Or Heroine

The anti-hero has a place in category fiction—but only if he is presented as being admirable. His moral values may be the opposite of what we think of as "right," so long as he is true to the values he has set for himself and so long as we can sympathize with him as a character. There is no room, however, for the loser, the weak-kneed or spineless hero. The name of the game is Escape. Your average reader wants to pick up your novel and be carried away from nagging spouse, overdue mortgage, and the morbid things he has seen on the television news that night. He wants to be entertained and to participate in somebody's triumphs for a few brief hours. He does not especially want to share someone's failures; there are enough failures in his

Hammer, Nails, and Wood own daily life. A category novel, therefore, centers around a very colorful, strong central character, usually male but not necessarily so, usually a "good guy" but not necessarily so. The hero is permitted character flaws to give him a depth of personality, but he should eventually triumph over these. Several good examples of flawed heroes who learn the nature of their flaws and come to terms with them are Ben Chase in my own novel Chase (under the pseudonym K. R. Dwyer); John Graves in Binary by John Lange; and Hell Tanner in Roger Zelazny's Damnation Alley.


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