Thursday, April 26, 2012

Some Thoughts

(Warning: There may be spoilers ahead. Please do not continue if you have not read the book.)

While I was writing my novel, The Origin, I was also reading a lot of urban fantasy and paranormal books for research. And because of that, I formed ideas on what I liked and didn't like in the genre, and on cliches that I wanted to steer clear of.

For example, Daniel, my male protagonist, is the anti-Alpha Male. He is uncertain and self-conscious and would be deliriously happy if someone could just live his life for him. He never had that one Defining Moment in his life that convinced him to become a vigilante, but rather everything that he has experienced has led him to where he is, influencing his every decision. He doesn't choose to save that dying woman because of some misguided hero complex or because he has lost faith in the law enforcement. No, he is doing it because he feels like he needs to atone for his past mistakes.

Daniel is not the big Hero nor does he aspire to be. He is flawed and suffers under the weight of his conscience. He says himself that he is foolish and weak and should not be trusted with powers.

Olivia, on the other hand, was outwardly perfect by design. She is confident, kind, honest. Almost too perfect, right? Everything is peachy-keen in her life until she meets Daniel, and then her life falls to pieces. I buffed that marble to perfection in order to shoot beebees at it. And in the sequel, I want the reader to wonder if that facade is chipped beyond repair. Will our perfect Mary Sue recover?

(An aside: violet eyes are a recessive gene and are unlikely to manifest in a half-Asian, half-caucasian person. Unlikely but not impossible. My own daughter has hazel eyes, which is also a recessive gene.)

Daniel and Olivia fall in love over the course of the novel but they are not predestined to be together. There is no blood bond nor are they soul mates. They are just two people who are attracted to each other. It is not the universe that's in control, rather it is just a story of a man and a woman choosing to be together. And that, to me, is why the ending is so poignant.

The Origin is about the undoing of a hero, but at its core, it's about choice. Many comic books also deal with this same conceit, that our choices shape who we are, who we become. Villains are not evil because they were born that way; it all begins with that first step towards corruption. And Daniel, for better or worse, has put one foot forward towards that path, so his decision at the end should really surprise no one.

I'm not saying my novel is perfect, far from it. It needs another editor pass-through and I could certainly cut down the number of times I mention violet eyes. I only felt the need to talk about Daniel and Olivia, to defend them as if they're my own children (and essentially, they are). It doesn't change the stinging (but constructive) review but it does make me feel a little better to explain myself.

So with that, I say goodnight, world.

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