So I have a new idea for a book, real good too, I think. There is only one problem, which this far has prevented me from starting the writing process. It is that there is an emperor involved in the story, and for it to go forward, he needs to change opinion. Why is this a problem, then? Because in general people don’t change opinions just like that. Usually someone has their opinion, and they’re bloody sticking to it, no matter what.
I’ve even been in situations where I can clearly show evidence of my view, and the person opposing me still don’t change theirs. Not even in the face of obvious evidence, because they have their view and… they are sticking to it. This seems to be pretty normal human behaviour. So why would an emperor in my story change his view and outlook on life when thus far he has received everything he desires by not changing it?
It drives me up the wall to read books where the main character suddenly just switches view or accepts things which prior to the book events have been completely impossible. One example is Bella Swan, who just seems to go: ‘Vampires? Yeah, alright, I mean they are kinda hot. And I’ve got an open mind, so I’m totally okay with that.’
Sure she was a bit reluctant at first but not really all that much. Somehow I think a person functioning normally would go something along the lines of:
‘AAAAAAAAARGH they’re sucking BLOOD! GET ME OUTTA HERE!’
Don’t get me wrong, even if there is a lot (or rather not a lot to be honest) to be said about Meyer’s writing, she isn’t the only one who has done this. A few years ago I read some supernatural romance novel where the main character also simply accepted the presence of werewolves and vampires overnight. After all, the Love Interest was a vampire, and he was hot, so she just shrugged and went along with it. Loads of supernatural/romance novels work this way, but it’s not, I think, a normal human behaviour to just accept that which has previously not existed and/or has been frightening if it did. Neither do people just change their views about other people or the way to live one’s life.
After all, a rather classic theme in literature and film is ‘The Other’. We have the real classic here as Friday and the cannibals in Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, but this theme has continued. In movies we see it in the villains who, for this reason, often have been foreign, preferably with an accent. It’s the same in literature. A few centuries back a villain was spotted by his foreign sounding name. We feel threatened by that which is not ‘us’. Admittedly, this is a rather silly thing, but then again racists and nazis can’t be said to be very clever. Xenophobia is the sign of low intelligence if ever I saw one, but I digress.
The point is, that people are afraid of that which is foreign and different, and they won’t change views in life unless they have a very good reason. I’m thinking this could, in the case of my emperor, be an economical one perhaps. I don’t think love will be enough. Or maybe a near-death-experience. Or maybe I should just kill him off.