Posts Tagged Marcus Faust

Your Protagonist Does Not Need to be a Hero

8 July 2011

Really, they don’t. They don’t need to be an anti-hero, either. Protagonist doesn’t mean “good guy,” it means the main character, the lead, the person who does the most stuff. Greek words are nifty that way. Your main character doesn’t have to be likable, either. At least not in a “I’d be happy to sit down at dinner with that person, she seems swell” sort of way. They can’t irritate the reader so much as to be unreadable, but they can be a jerk, or evil, or both. Let’s face it, heroes have gotten boring and a little unbelievable. And in fantasy writing, loosing the audience’s suspension of disbelief is a bad thing. While there is perhaps a need for the better than us all sort of hero there is also a need for the just like me or worse protagonist who comes out in the end not to save the day but just to come out in the end.


I have both kinds of protagonists in my writing. On the one hand there is Dr. Ezekiel Jones, exorcist and all around good guy. He, like Harry Dresden, tries to do the right thing, even if it puts himself in harms way. On the other hand there is Marcus Faust, demonologist, sorcerer and assassin. He is officially not a good person. He does what is necessary to live to see the next day, and if he can kill off someone whose been harassing him in the process, so much the better. He’s rich, arrogant and powerful, and he knows it. He’s also a really fun character. Not that Ezekiel isn’t, but Marcus, due to a Grosse Point Blankian moral compass, is capable of doing things Ezekiel isn’t.

Because Ezekiel is a hero. Marcus is a villain.

The story thus far.

21 July 2010

It was a dark and stormy . . . er, never mind.

Alrighty, where are we then? Not existentially, of course, that’s a different blog. In the world of Ezekiel Jones . . . well, let’s not talk about that now. There may, or may not, be news on that in the future. Maybe.

Marcus Faust, then. I have one last set of edits to go through on The Machiavel. It should only take a few days. So far I’ve knocked 500 words off of the book, about 3500 fewer than Ezekiel I, even though I ran them both through the same editing process. Practice does make perfect-ish.

What does this mean? It means I’m getting close to needing some beta readers.

What’s a beta reader you ask? They’re like alpha readers, but get a more polished version of the manuscript. The alphas get to see it in a sorry state, after some rough editing but little else. They get to hack and slash their way through the jungle of my mind, helping me cut out the utterly useless clutter that’s hiding in the corners.

Beta readers, on the other hand, get something a bit nicer, even if their job is essentially the same. A beta reader still looks for the things I’ve missed (spelling, punctuation, crappy grammar, etc.) and is also looking for things like plot holes, continuity errors, etc. Stuff the alphas have looked for but might have missed while wading through the rest of the debris. In theory a beta reader’s job is easier, I should have caught most of the stuff already. So why is beta reading necessary? Because I and the alphas can’t catch everything. Its like reading your own work; you already know what it says, so in your head it makes sense, even if it doesn’t to anyone else.

What is the awesome reward of being a beta (or alpha) reader? There is, of course, the knowledge that you’ve helped your fellow human, but mostly its your name in the acknowledgments. There might be a signed book in the offing, but that’s assuming I sell the bloody thing and I get more than one copy for myself . . . we’ll have to see.

So, that being said, I’m hunting for beta readers. Let’s go with five, because its a nice number, very pentagonal. If you’re insane enough to be interested (i.e. you’re seeing the fnords), please reply here. You know, so I can keep the awe inspiring numbers of fanatical legions all in one place.