There is a definite truth in this. Too often the protagonist (especially if of the distaff variety) is, in TVTropes terms, a “Woobie.” Not a “Hero.” Making your protagonist the curbstomp victim of fate may make for sympathy. But it does not equate to heroism unless they can believably overcome the worst the world throws at them. See Harry Dresden for the rare example where one is both a Woobie and Hero. That said, Harry has never, ever, to the best that I can recall, considered himself a ‘victim.’ At least not without getting a righteous measure of payback in the end.
This is one of my rare posts that applies to both writing and real life (that boring thing.)
I’ve always mentored people, since I was young enough in the craft that I frankly had no business doing it. But in this as in other crafts I attempt there is ALWAYS someone less clued than I whom I can lead in the rightish direction. (Early on this was often a case of the blind leading the blind. Weirdly, though it can do much harm, it can also do some good. In writing, to quote Heinlein, Too much alone isn’t good – probably because writing is a communication thing. And yes, the heartless individualist has always mentored people. I fail at heartless, sorry.)
About five to ten years ago, I started noticing a disturbing trend. Every fledgeling I had who was younger than, oh, thirty, didn’t understand the difference between victimhood and…
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