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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Conundrum of Actors...and Authors

Do you have a favorite actor? Someone whose movie you would see even if it isn't your normal genre?

I divide actors into categories. Shocking!

There are type actors. Tom Cruise, Tom Cruise and oh, yeah, Tom Cruise.

There are character actors. Ernie Hudson. Don't know the name? Look him up. You'll recognize him immediately. I've found if he's in a movie, I'm probably going to like it. Chloris Leachman might also fit here. You can't forget who you're watching, no matter how much makeup is applied.

Then there are (no offense to the aforementioned Ernie Hudson) "real" actors. Tom Hanks. Charlize Theron. Robert Downey Jr. Meryl Streep. Ed Norton. 

TT: Denzel Washington might fit here due to the variety of his roles, but he's such a strong personality, I have trouble not noticing "him the person" on-screen.

Folks who can become whatever the role requires them to be.

Real actors are few and far between. They do not confine themselves to a genre or type. In fact, they seem to go out of their way to become something completely different from what they've been before.
Here's the funny part. As much as I marvel at the real actors, I prefer the type and character actors. I suspect I'm not alone.

I like to know what to expect in a movie. I like that when I see Ernie Hudson, he's going to be a good guy in a tough situation who provides the necessary support to help the hero achieve his goals. I don't want to see Ernie play a villain.

I'm thinking books are the same way. As I do a little (a very little) research into the book market, I see series after series. This makes sense. If readers like the first book, they should like the second and so on.

Well, that's great if you like the story enough to want to write sequels (these would be the type or character authors if I continue my initial illustration, depending on how similar the sequels/series are). What if you don't want to write sequels?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle got so sick of Sherlock Holmes, he killed him. His readers forced him to resurrect the sleuth.

What other books would Sir Arthur have written if given the chance? Who did we not meet because Holmes was just too popular to die?

I don't want to kill my characters. And I don't want to get locked into book after book in the same world when I have so many worlds and characters in my head.

The irony? Once again, I don't want to write what I like to read. I prefer getting to know one character deeply, not many characters briefly. But I prefer to write beginnings, not middles, and certainly not endings.

If you can't tell, I'm trying to work out whether I could produce sequels to Elementals. I do love the characters, but I prefer leaving them alone with the illusion of a happy ending. Then again, I leave a few ends untied, just in case the muse (or banker) should strike later. Maybe those ends would be enough to start a new thread.


  1. I have no doubt that you would be able to write a sequel to Elementals. And as much as I would love to know how each is doing, I feel that some things are best left unsaid. MY fear would be that how I think the ventured in later life would not go w/how you think the do. That would mess it up for me. On the other hand, I had felt that way about other books and found that I was totally happy w/how the author lived out the lives of the main people, even if it wasn't was I expected. So, I guess this didn't really help you at all huh? Sorry!

  2. oh, and I did look up Ernie what's his name and I did realize who he was once I saw his face. Good actor!

  3. He is a good actor. I've loved him in The Crow and Spacehunter! Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, to name two.
    And, no, you didn't help me with the sequel problem. That's okay. We'll see how it sells before I start writing in kits for K'leb. ;)


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