By Nichole Giles
I don’t watch TV very often, but recently I’ve been watching more television than I’ve watched in years. It isn’t my fault. Not really. A friend suggested that I should try watching the season premier of a fairly new series. Though I had missed an entire season of this series, I was surprised to find myself hooked after the first episode.
The show is called Heroes. Part of the reason I was hooked so quickly is that the characters are in many ways superheroes of their time, minus the tights. Each character has one super power that has developed over the course of his or her life due to mutated genes. Some can fly, some have extreme strength, one can bend time, and one is a copycat who can do anything she sees done—including wrestling moves and the creation of food masterpieces.
Obviously this show was made for fantasy fans—especially those who loved the superheroes of the past. (I noticed the comeback of Wonder Woman costumes this past Halloween—all on adult women.)
What fascinates me about this show, and the reason—I think—it is so successful, is that not all the characters with super powers are good. It makes sense. The power of choice. Just because someone is given amazing abilities doesn’t mean that person will choose to use those abilities to save the world, or to help others. Some hide their ability, choosing to keep to themselves in hope of continuing with what they consider a normal lifestyle. Others use their powers for thievery, petty crimes, murder and worse.
And so in the same way of the heroes is created a villain. Or two or three or four….
We know how it works. The best conflict in a story comes from forces that are at least equal in power to the main character, and often more powerful and more dangerous. The villain continues to gain power, keeping the upper hand throughout the story. But the main character continues fighting persistently, eventually figuring out how to defeat the villain and win the war.
There it is, the keyword. Persistence. We writers know all about that, right? Editors and publishers continue to gain power over us each time they reject us, and always, always have the upper hand. But we still write and we still submit persistently until eventually we get an acceptance and win the battle for publication.
That makes us heroes of a different kind. I think anyone can be a hero, as long as we don’t let the disappointments in life defeat us. It is through our stubborn determination that we can fight our battles, knowing that we have the ability to—eventually—win the war.