I just finished the new Jim Butcher book Skin Game. I have to say, it was one of his better novels. I may spoil the end of the book, so if you really care, tread lightly. What struck me was a scene toward the end. I don’t think I can write a scene like that. I know it’s really not a fair comparison, but I don’t think I can write at his level at all, at least not now.
I know he has 20 books under his belt and a team of editors. I know he went to school for writing and all, but I want to write a scene like that, and, to be honest, it was a scene many books in the making.
I get that, but I want to write like that because when I read it, it brought tears to my eyes. My heart was pounding, and I started hoping for him against all odds. I really wanted Dresden to win, and I didn’t see how it would happen.
I’ve always been sort of at odds with books like this because the power levels of the characters seem to fluctuate. Sometimes Dresden or Anita Blake or even Superman can overcome crazy challenges with relative ease. (Diving into molten magma and lifting California back into place, anyone?) Other times, even the smallest challenge seems Herculean for guys who can fling around dump trucks.
There’s a part in this book where Dresden drops a super powerful bad guy like nothing. Afterward, he makes the comment that it was more like murder than a fight. Then, this scene happens a little later. Dresden is facing off against non-super-powered people, and he is about to lose. He should lose, and I wanted him to pull some crazy Dresden crap and live.
I totally believed that they were going to lose. The reason Jim Butcher could do this is because of Lois Lane. This is going back to Superman, but remember, I’m trying not to spoil the ending of Skin Game. Lois Lane has no super powers to speak of, yet she’s daring and always getting herself in all sorts of trouble trying to help. It’s a character that Superman can save because, let’s face it, Superman doesn’t really need saving very often.
It’s why we love Batman, because under all his money, flash, and bang, he’s a normal guy. If I had a billion dollars I could be Batman. I will never be Superman. It’s why, when in this Dresden book, Lois Lane stands up and becomes Batman all you can do is yell “Yes!”
I don’t know if I can write a scene like that, and it is my own fault, at least in the Lillim world. There are no Lois Lanes in my story. There’s no plucky side-kick who she can step in and help. There’s no friends who aren’t near her in power level. Hell, if I go through Fairy Tale and Hatter, almost every person she encounters on her side is nearly as strong/powerful as her, if not stronger. I mean, let’s be honest, no one cares when Superman saves the Green Lantern or Wonder woman. We care when he saves Lois Lane… but we really care when Lois Lane saves him.
I need a Lois Lane, and I’ve messed up and written three whole books without one. It’s probably why I feel so disconnected from Lillim at times, why I worry that she’s too Superman and not enough Clark Kent.
In every book, I’ve stripped her of more and more humanizing factors and now? Now, I need to find some.