I picked up my first Jack Reacher book, One Shot, in December 2012. It took about a month to actually sit down and read it, but then I was hooked on Reacher. Fortunately for me, books in the series are sold in just about every airport Hudson News, and I can pick a new one each time I head on a trip.
Reacher strikes me as a rough and tumble (and much more lethal) version of the A-team, and that 1980’s TV show was one of my favorites growing up. I ran off the school bus everyday during middle school to see the second half of episodes playing on TVLand. It supplied my daily dose of adventure, livening up the boring normalcy of my suburban hometown.
But as I look back on my memories of the show, nothing bad ever really happened on the A-team. Only one person died in all of the five seasons despite numerous gun battles, spectacular car crashes, and fiery explosions. Plus Hannibal, Faceman, BA, and Murdock were always cast as good guys. They never even stepped close to being considered antiheroes.
Jack Reacher has all the ingenuity and skill of the A-team, but he’s absolutely an anti-hero. He’s got no problem causing serious damage to the bad guys, even killing them if the situation warrants it. Plus he often only involves himself in whatever situation presented by the plot when he’s given no other choice. He doesn’t go looking for trouble. It barrels towards him when he’s simply minding his own business.
There’s just something about this big anti-hero that I can’t get enough of. I’m even willing to read 500+ page books if they feature him, which says a lot because my short attention span usually caps me around 350 pages. And I want to write a character with that appeal.
But first I need to figure out exactly what makes him so appealing. That’s going to mean several hours spent dissecting his character, what I like, and what I don’t. Of course none of that’s going to happen until my NaNo project is finished.
Is there a character that inspires your writing? What about them inspires you?