Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Characters I Like...

I'm reading Allan Guthrie's Slammer right now (ridiculously brilliant), which is about a guy named Glass, a softie of a prison guard losing at the game of life. Man, this guy just can't catch a break--wife hates him, the other prison guards hate him, the prisoners use and abuse him. And the poor guy just takes it... along with a steady dose of drugs.

But soon that will all change. Soon, as the book jacket tells me, Glass will shatter! And I predict he will go on a rampage of epic proportions.

I'm very hungry for that moment. Can't wait for it. As a reader (maybe even as a writer, though haven't quite figured out that one yet) I relish this kind of character--the one who gets pushed around until one day he freaks out and scorches the earth.

A classic example of this is the Falling Down, starring Michael Douglas. He managed to tap into a real, everyday anger. Went from being mild-mannered to insane in seconds.

I'm not sure why I like these characters. I guess they're easy to relate to--most of the time most people must compromise or follow orders, so it's cool to see characters who say "Fuck that!" I also like that this character drives plot. The person who snaps--action is part of who they are.

What kind of characters do you like? Do you find yourself gravitating to certain kinds of characters?


A couple of great interviews: Chris Holm is part of the Conversations with the Bookless series at Spinetingler. He is one likable dude who knows a lot about writing. And I share his love for P.G. Wodehouse, one of the funniest writers ever.

Pulp Metal Magazine mastermind Jason Michel is at Bombs from Underground. He shares his refreshingly unpretentious approach to all things writing and editing, which shows in his excellent magazine.

The force of nature otherwise known as Paul Brazill is at Ginger Nuts of Horror. He's come up with the best reason I've heard for writing crime: "When you gaze into the abyss, the abyss sticks a nutty on you, so it’s a good way to face the darkness. Maybe."


  1. I love characters with heaps of conflict.

  2. Thanks, Chris! Re your prediction for Nick Glass, I'm saying nothing...

    I'm a sucker for abnormal psychology. Give me a character who views the world very differently from me and there's a good chance I'll be hooked.

  3. Yeah--I find abnormal psychology really interesting as well. That's why I dug The Killer Inside Me. Just seeing how Lou Ford could turn it on and off was so unusual.

  4. Plus all the things described gives the author one more chance to fuck around with his or her character's quiet enjoyment of a serene life. Why? Because the serene life is fucking BORING! One thing about Mr.Allan F****** Guthrie's characters is that they are never, ever, bored or boring.

  5. I've just read The Turnip Farm by Mr Guthrie in The Bumper Book Of Mammoths. Sick, sick, man. Thanks for the hat tip Chris.

  6. Chris, agreed. Jim Thompson's the master of the psycho noir, although Horace McCoy got there first with KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE.

    Cheers, AJ. Delighted you think so.

    Paul, I thought it was a pretty brave selection for the anthology. Bucolic erotica is a fairly niche market.

  7. Aye, I don't think much shocks Maxim, though!