Feb 29, 2012

Hey, Guess What?

by Kami Cornwall

It's my turn to blog! I'm so sorry I only remembered just now. Then this reassuring voice that sounded an awful lot like "Curly" from City Slickers said to me, "The day ain't over yet..." and I knew that I had seen too many movies. And also that I still had time to blog.

So...I got in to grad school! That little voice is no longer pestering me. Thank you, thank you. But more importantly, I have been mulling over my story and had an epiphany. I wish it had been originally mine...BUT...as I was discussing some aspect I had written someone gave me some (what I think is) very good advice. I wanted to open the question to you, internets.

My main character was in a very real moment of peril. Paralyzing peril! And one of the great characters in the story comes to her rescue. My friend said, "Wait a minute, hold it! He is becoming the hero here. Isn't she supposed to be the hero? She needs to save herself or have circumstances change in some act of God or good luck. To have him come in and save the day makes me question who the main character is now."

So what say you, fellow writers? Does the main character need to be saving herself? Or can her friend burst in and save the day?


  1. Wow! Congrats on grad school!

    And here's my opinion...I agree with the advice given to you. The main character needs to save herself, granted it's a big scene. If it's a small moment in the book, let another character save her. But at a turning point or climax? She needs to be the one doing the saving.

    Good luck!

  2. Congratulations Kami! and ditto what your friend and Britney said. hugs~

  3. Harry is saved by Fawkes in Chamber of Secrets.

    Harry is saved by the Order in Order of the Phoenix.

    Harry is saved by Dumbledore and then again by Snape in Half Blood Prince.

    Bella is saved by Edward in Twilight.

    The Pevensies are saved by Aslan in Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. They aren't "saved" at all in the Last Battle. You could argue that the whole point of those books is that the characters cannot save themselves, but the point stands.

    Our characters are not isolated individuals. There is certainly nothing wrong with a character saving themselves, it happens more often than not, and it definitely improves our opinions of him/her.

    However, it is not necessary, unless you need them to grow as a person, or you are reaching a point where they are out of balance with the secondary characters.

    Just my opinion :)

    OH- Congrats on grad school, too!!!

  4. Congrats on grad school!

    I agree with advice you were given.

    I enjoy reading books with strong female characters. I do not like characters that act like the proverbial damsel that does not try to save herself. The main character needs to demonstrate that they can face and overcome challenges. I don't mind if they have help. I also don't mind if they get rescued after they have made a valiant fight as long as they don't get rescued from the final fight.

    No one is wonder woman, no man is superman; or even if they are, the characters need support. Maybe the main character could have taken one opponent but when held by two and beaten by one, or vastly out numbered, or attacked by super beings the character need others to help save themselves and the world.

    Also, I think underage characters need to solve problems themselves but at least at first have a mentor or a safety net.

    Harry Potter faces Voldermort alone at the end of each book. He may get help but he faces his foe and fights him. Then in the final book, when he is of age, Harry defeats Voldermort in a duel. Yes, Harry had help up until that point but the final face down was the two of them.


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