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July 21, 2015

@sloanebcollins What Makes a Hero Tick? #PlottingPrincesses #amwriting #AlphaHeroes #Supernatural #JensenAckles #JaredPadalecki #MFRWorg

I love reading books with Alpha heroes.  It’s much easier for me to write about female characters, and how they think, than to write male characters.  I’ve started watching TV shows more carefully in the hopes of figuring out how to best write men that SHOW what’s going on with them, what they are thinking, how they act, rather than TELL. 

I’ve come about 10 years late to the Supernatural phenomenon, and now I’m hooked (and I mean HOOKED).  Having loved Jared Padalecki's character on Gilmore Girls, Sammy immediately became my favorite.  But the more I’ve been watching the reruns, the more I see the internal angst that Dean (Jensen Ackles) has. I’m fascinated by their relationship on screen, and completely charmed that they are best friends in real life.

I started watching the reruns from 2009 a couple months ago, but am now watching the first season, and it's interesting to see how the characters have grown over the years.  So here's my take on it.

Sammy seems to be the gentler of the two brothers, always trying to keep the peace and smooth things over.  He's never had the relationship with his father that Dean has, and I wonder if he feels his dad blamed him for his mother's death.  Sam wanted to have a normal life - he went off to college and was going to law school, then tragedy struck, and he was pulled back into the Hunter world. I think he's guided by his feelings, while Dean stuffs his emotions away, doesn't want to deal with the messiness of relationships.

Dean tows the line, does what their dad tells him to, which frustrates Sam.  Dean is out to do a job, and that's it.  But over time, Dean gets slammed by life, and the people he counts on and loves the most have let him down.  In later shows, the writers portray Dean as feeling things on a much deeper level when it comes to relationships.  One after the other, the people in his life have let him down, from his father, to Castiel and his betrayal, to Sam upon his return from Hell.

They both keep getting knocked down and let down, yet somehow continue on as big, bad, successful, kick-butt Hunters, all the while burying their emotions. Both SHOW us in every episode how they feel, rather than TELL.  I've really learned a great deal studying the relationship these brothers have, and how it's grown over the last ten years of the show.  And it's awesome how many times they have put each other first over the "greater good".  I think that's what I love the most about the show.  The powers-that-be could not have picked better actors to portray Sam & Dean, and now I'm just crazy about both of them.  

So now to translate all I’ve learned watching these actors turn a writer’s words into so much depth and feeling into my own heroes.

What about you? If you’re an author, have you learned anything from particular shows that you use in your own writing?  As readers, do you have favorite heroes on TV, and what appeals to you about them?

(All pictures borrowed from multiple websites)


Unknown said...

I love the way the boys on Supernatural connect and really feed off of each other. Heroes need to be vulnerable and strong. My favorite book series that portrays this is Tara Brown's The Devil's Roses. It develops the characters and really gives a great background story for each helping unite them.

Sloane B. Collins said...

I agree, Karla. Their real life friendship enhances their show roles, too.
I haven't read that series - I'll have to check it out.
Thank you for stopping by!

Cathy McElhaney said...

I have never watched it, but it seems I am missing out! I rarely have time for tv...I have 2 seasons of Grey's Anatomy recorded that I just can't find time to watch! Taking on 4 little ones at my age wipes me out and when I can sit down and relax...I usually fall asleep!
Trying to write from a male POV is much more difficult for me. I suppose we can all say that. I read one book by a man who tried and failed miserably at a woman's POV, lol! The book didn't sell much and it was one of a very few I could not finish!

Kathy Ivan said...

Ah ha! You've pick one of my favorite shows! The dynamic between the two brothers has grown and changed over each season, and while the supernatural stories are front and center, it's the struggle by each of the characters to maintain their humanity and their personal sense of family first that shows through. Like you, in the beginning Sammy was my focus because he was more emotional, a kinder and gentler soul. But with each progressing season, Dean had a quiet build, and showed more and more layers of his personality and his internal battle scars. You can see him struggle to keep his emotions in check. Absolutely agree, they couldn't have picked two people more suited to play each role. (And I can't wait for the new season.)

Like you,l I find myself, when I have time to watch TV, studying how they SHOW the emotional range, letting the viewer know without words, exactly what they are feeling (or in some cases what they are trying to hide from others). It's a great way to visualize it, and try to translate it into words on the page.

Great post!

Sloane B. Collins said...

I definitely missed out by not watching it from the beginning, but thankful I can now. TNT has 4 episodes on every week day, so I tend to binge watch on the weekends...or when I can sneak it in during the week.

I read a book once by an author who had one of those names that can go either way - hated the woman's point of view. Then I found out the author is a man, and haven't read one since. I've been known to ask my husband "do men think this way?"
Thank you for stopping by today and reading about Sammy & Dean, my obsession.

Sloane B. Collins said...

Thanks, Kathy! Glad you enjoyed the post, and see exactly what I do. I won't be able to watch again until I get home Sunday from RWA, so I may be suffering withdrawal symptoms the next 5 days.
Thanks for commenting!