Monday, January 14, 2013

Superhero romance: "The Consortium of Chaos"

My series of superhero / supernatural / urban fantasy romance novels follows around a group of people called the Consortium of Chaos. They're super-villains, only they're currently trying to do good things. Unfortunately, they're not very good at it.

Yesterday's Heroes

Why write a series of books about bad guys finding love?

I'm one of those people who always votes for the bad guy. Well, almost always, anyway. The point is that I'm not a huge fan of perfect heroes doing perfect things, be they superheroes or not. Someone who always does the right thing is boring. I think most of us try to take the "right" path in life, and we already know what that looks like. Personally, I'd much rather read about someone who chooses the other road, because I've never seen it. Someone who does things that I would never do. Says things that I would never say. Thinks things that I would never think. With that in mind, I decided to write about super-villains.

It's actually bigger than just comics, and applies to all books though. I've always been fascinated by the interplay of the extraordinary and the banal. I mean, when you stop and think about it, just what do the villains of books do all day when they're not attacking the heroes? How do they organize their evil bases? What does their lunchroom serve? Do they have girlfriends/boyfriends when they're not on screen in the hero's book? I can't count the number of times I've read a book and thought, "Why am I following this stupid boring guy around? I'd much rather go see what the villain is doing. He's much more interesting."

Why comic book super-villains instead of a more conventional villain?

I've always liked comic books. They're like soap opera, only in capes and tights. They can easily create entire worlds, which have their own rules and concepts. They can be as "real" or as "fantasy" as you would like. Plus, the hero genre is so filled with ideas and clichés which are a lot of fun to play with. There are just a TON of different character tropes and silly concepts which lend themselves beautifully to the romantic genre.

So, that's a little of the thought process behind why I chose to go the route I did. I find the idea interesting, I find the classic clichés of the comic book genre very able to be applied to a new genre in a new way, and from a writing standpoint, I don't think any concept allows you greater freedom than a comic book world. I mean, it's pretty much the only type of fiction I can think of where there are literally no rules except the ones you write yourself. Any of your characters can have any power you want, and you don't need to explain it. They can be aliens or gods or time-travelers, anything. You can be dramatic or funny or romantic. The tone can be silly or serious. And best of all, if you DON'T feel like inventing some new thing, you don't have to worry about losing the "fantasy" or "sci-fi" feeling of your work, because the comic book world is basically ours. You don't have to worry about exposition to random background characters about how there are people with super-powers running around, because they're PART of the comic book world and already know all about it. Thus, the suspencion of disbelief by the reader is never threatened. All of the characters in the world know there are super-villains running around; it's a fact of their lives, and thus, you don't have to waste time (both yours and the reader's) explaining it to them. And if for some reason you WANT to have a scene where a character is explaining their powers, you can still do it, because there are literally no end to the variety of powers you can give them. As awe-inspiring or as stupid as you want. You can literally do anything you want, and the genre seamlessly allows for it.

All in all, I can't imagine writing anything which could be more fun than bad guys looking for love in a world where anything can happen.


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