>> Friday, February 26, 2010
One of the things "they" tell you is not to use stereotypes. Keep your characters fresh and original. Well, I can see that. Seeing the same character doing the same thing in plot after plot and book after book is hardly entertaining.
What I love to do, however, is play with stereotypes, twisting and shaping them to challenge one's thinking. My first published story, "Code of the Jenri," was a sword and sorcery tale intended to turn the standard "large hulking barbarian rescues the damsel in distress" on its end. Oh, a spouse is being rescued, of course, but not the woman.
I love twisting stereotypes. The strong sword-fighter, too proud to use a knife, who ends up saddled with a bunch of kittens who claim to be his familiars. What self-respecting warrior plays with magic?
I like dangerous-seeming people who are vulnerable and harmless-seeming people who are ruthless or daring or amazingly capable.
I want to challenge people's notions that, by knowing what someone is, they know who someone is. I want to make people see the world they think they know in new ways when something familiar is shown from a different perspective, a different light.
And, with any luck, I want to make them enjoy the experience so they don't even know they're thinking until it's too late to start.