“Am I a Hero?” A Story Sale Tale Part 1

“Am I a hero?”

This is what the protagonist of my latest story, “How Molière Saved Lydia Bruer: A History in Two Fragments,” will be wondering in the next edition of Crossed Genres. Each issue of Crossed Genres revolves around a different concept, and the theme of the coming issue is “Superheroes.” The editors asked for tales of heroes that are a bit different, that make readers think about what heroism means.

When the Crossed Genres theme was announced, I asked myself if my story qualifies. A narrative of heroism is certainly present, but it’s not the sort of caped crusader story readers will expect.

Considering the theme, I thought of the first time I was invited to play Marvel Superheroes by TSR with a gaming group. My reaction was something like, “Heroes, like mutants in tights? Sounds silly.” I’d gamed with other groups, but mostly in classic fantasy settings, and I had a hard time picturing a superhero game with depth. We’d probably be involved in lots of high-powered combat, zooming around in capes, rescuing citizens from burning buildings, battling supervillains, that kind of thing.

To my complete surprise, the game proved to have not only emotional depth, but inspiring moments of sacrifice, thoughtful ethical dilemmas and character growth. Whole game sessions passed without any combat whatsoever (other gaming folks out there may ascertain that I’m a “role” player, not a “roll” player, as they say).

Since those days, I’ve become a fan of superhero comics and films, notably those that grapple with the personal cost of hero life, such as Promethea, the Luna Brothers’ excellent Ultra, and The Watchmen. Character counts, and that’s the sort of fiction I most want to write, regardless of genre.

News from the Front

You know it’s bad when I get too busy to write. I’m sure “lifestuff” is the death of many a blog, but not this one, thank goodness.

Major developments include new responsibilities as co-chair of worship at the UU, and the realignment of my entire house to accommodate new housemate. Between these two, I’ve been a little pre-occupied.

Maybe I was also avoiding the blogosphere so as to shield myself from the amazing good-times stories of folks who are at this very moment blogging the writing life at Clarion Writer’s Workshop. I want to know, but I don’t. I got over the politely worded rejection I received a few months ago, and I’ve trained my brain on next year’s possibilities and this year’s publication efforts. Reading about the adventures of the “got-ins” may send me in the wrong mental direction.

I’ve also been logging lots of gaming time, which takes me out of my world and problems for a while and translates as quality time with friends and spouse. Big-time, late-night fun playing Spirit of the Century and Arkham Horror, eating junk food and laughing. On the downside, I’ve been driven insane and devoured by Yog-Sothoth.