GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Guest Post: I'm Tired of Being Robbed of My Heroes + giveaway! | I Smell Sheep

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Guest Post: I'm Tired of Being Robbed of My Heroes + giveaway!

I’m Tired of being Robbed of my Heroes
We hate our heroes. We hate them because we hate ourselves and we do all we can to bring them down to our level.
Oh, we cry for heroes. We insist we’re looking for heroes. We even applaud those few we find. Then we turn on them. Instead of using their triumphs and their examples to motivate us, to lift us up and raise us higher, we despise them, tear and scratch and claw at them until we drag them down to us. No, even lower; we drag them down and shove them beneath us, where we trample them in our sneering superiority. Why? Well because it offers us a brief respite from our personal despair and self-loathing, allows us to momentarily blind ourselves with thoughts of our own pre-eminence. Our aspirations to be more than we think we can be. Mostly though, because we can.

Unfortunately, it never lasts. That respite and pre-eminence bit. The superiority complex and hatred does. As does our frantic search for the next ‘hero’ we can devour. Like a drug addict, we’re jonesin’, jonesin’ bad, and we need a fix. We’ll settle for anything, no matter the cost, no matter the quality, just give us a hit man! Each time we consume another one we feel better about ourselves…temporarily. The self-pleasure vanishes more quickly and tastes less sweet after every gorging so we rush after the next one until we’re in a vicious cycle of ruination.

Sad thing is, ruination works both ways. Heroes develop out of the society they’re born and bred in. As the society goes, so goes its heroes. Each generation of heroes is less than the one before, less hero and more us. Once upon a time us tried to become more than we were, looked up more often than not, rose up and became more. Not everyone became a hero, perhaps very few did. Idea is, we used to try. We used to point and say, “Look! Up in the sky!” We used to try.

Now we only try to bring those upstart wanna-be heroes back down to earth, back down among us mortals. Look! S/he’s attempting to be more—how dare s/he be more than us! We cheer them on with wide smiles while we sink our fangs into them. We raise our hands in raucous praise only to pin their legs and yank them back and wrap our thick-fingered hatred around their throats. We look for their next awe-inspiring act simultaneously as we avidly search for their darkest secrets, their bared mistakes, their weakest moments in order to condemn them. We work hard—not at using their inspiration, not at bettering ourselves and following their shining examples—we work hard at staying right where we are, remaining in the muck and grime and acting like we enjoy it. Telling ourselves we enjoy it and so should they, so should everyone. We mock them and destroy them and in the process destroy the potential hopes and dreams of thousands of others all because it makes us feel better. Shame on us.

I’m tired of being robbed of my heroes. I want some real ones, and I want them now. I want them to be bigger than life, larger than anything I currently am yet someone I can definitely strive toward being. I want heroes that make me stretch. Like my favorite national landmark, Devil’s Tower, I want heroes that rear head-and-shoulders above the world—above all of us!— and dwarf us into a shocked and appreciative wonder that motivates us…to be. Just to be or to do. Whatever follows either is better; better for us, better for today, better for you and me, better for tomorrow—better for our children.

Hate is not a good thing. It is a destroyer: often of its target, always of its user, and nothing good comes of it. Nothing heroic can come from hate. If we continue hating, there will be no more heroes. We will have destroyed them. We will be all alone, stuck with each other. We will have destroyed ourselves. Let us be more than destroyers. Let us be the creators of heroes!

This is why I invited 15 of today’s greatest, most popular, and bestselling fantasy authors to tell us how and why they write heroes. I asked them to share what they believe makes a hero and what exactly it is that writers must know to create and readers to find their own. Then I asked them to put their money where their mouth was, as it were, and back up their advice with examples from their own work. Writing Fantasy Heroes is their answer.

Doesn’t everyone already know what makes a hero? No, I don’t think so, nor do I think it’s that simple. Writing Fantasy Heroes isn't so much about the writing (though sound advice is present); it’s not even all that very particular to fantasy (though the authors are well-known contributors to the genre and the examples they use come mostly from it). And though it is about the creation and writing of characters who are more often than not protagonists of their tales and usually the heroes, this book is really a conversation about us.

Which is where we begin to stop the hating and commence the creating.

Writing Fantasy Heroes: Powerful Advice from the Pros (Rogue Blades Presents)
Contributors consist of Alex Bledsoe, Jennifer Brozek, Orson Scott Card, Glen Cook, Steven Erikson, Ian C. Esslemont, Cecelia Holland, Howard Andrew Jones, Paul Kearney, Ari Marmell, Janet and Chris Morris, Cat Rambo, Brandon Sanderson, and C.L. Werner.

Where are your heroes? Are they trapped inside the stories in your head, eager to burst free? Are you ready to share them, to brag of them, to tell of their deeds and battles, their daring and sacrifice? Are you a storyteller ready to write the tales of your own heroes?

Fantasy heroes endure. They are embedded in our cultural fabric, dwarfing other literary figures and the mere men and women of history. Achilles and Odysseus, Gilgamesh and Beowulf. King Arthur and Robin Hood, Macbeth and Sherlock Holmes, Conan and Luke Skywalker. They dominate our legends, and tower over popular culture.

The stories we tell each other begin and end with fantasy heroes, and the 21st Century is as thoroughly captivated with them as ever. From Batman to Gandalf, Harry Potter to Tyrion Lannister, the heroes of fantasy speak to—and for—whole generations.

But what makes a fantasy hero? How do the best writers create them, and bring them to life on the page? In WRITING FANTASY HEROES some of the most successful fantasy writers of our time—including Steven Erikson, Brandon Sanderson, Janet Morris, Cecelia Holland, Orson Scott Card, and Glen Cook—pull back the curtain to reveal the secrets of creating heroes that live and breathe, and steal readers' hearts.

Whether you're an aspiring writer or simply a reader who loves great fantasy and strong characters, this book is for you.

About the Editor:
Jason M Waltz took that picture of Devil’s Tower in 2007. He also hung a picture of the landmark in his office to remind him of his awe when he stood beneath it and to motivate him to always climb higher. Jason believes in heroes and in the need to believe in heroes. He believes everyone should be able to read a book and be inspired by heroic deeds. To that end, he helms Rogue Blades Entertainment under the byline of Putting the Hero back into Heroics!

Jason is offering two ecopies (any format) of 
Writing Fantasy Heroes

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Interesting post. I agree, we raise people up, only to tear them down. Heroes are necessary.

  2. Love the article and the mag looks fabulous.

  3. People are fickle, so I agree. It's pretty much to satisfy the wishes of the public. For instance, look at changing beauty standards. It's the same principle - whatever you have, the public no longer wants. Change it. That's so last year. It's disheartening. Great post.


  5. What a fascinating book! It is always very interesting to learn about an author's inspiration. Thanks for the great giveaway.