01 January 2014

Being Resolute

by Robert Lopresti

(The pictures in this column are intended to point out something incredibly cool.  The British Library just placed more than one million illustrations from their books on Flickr.  All public domain, yours to use at will.  Wow!)

Back in 2009 I blogged  a list of New Year's Resolutions.  Last year I did it again, but that time I generously made a list for various fictional characters, hoping to improve their lives.

Well, it appears that my turn in the barrel is New Year's Day so I can't resist the chance to do it again, but this time instead of advising characters I am going to offer some useful suggestions to their creators.  I trust you will add a few in the Comments section.  If you don't I will assume you are too badly hungover to function and send someone to your house to preach temperance.  So be warned.

Horror movie writers hereby resolve not to let their characters split up when they know they are in danger, unless it has already been established that they are idiots.

Chic Lit writers resolve not to their characters use their devious feminine wiles to get something they could have just by asking, unless a point is being made about their personality.

Private eye writers resolve to get their heroes' sociopathic sidekicks some therapy. 

Noir writers resolve to remember that to be noir a work must  include crime, not merely be depressing.

Cozy writers resolve to remember that murderers need motives.

Humourous writers resolve to be funny (I'm lookin' at you, Lopresti).

Police procedural writers resolve to prevent their officers from doing things that would get their cases kicked out of court, unless it is established that they are aware of the danger.

Suspense writers
resolve to admit that not every criminal has a super-intellect and obscenely good luck.

Thriller writers resolve to consider the possibility that ninety percent of all conspiracies consist of one dummy screwing up and a lot of smart people making a mess trying to hide it.

Courtroom drama writers  resolve to  occasionally show a judge who doesn't hate the  hero.

Any other suggestions?


  1. A popular romance author churns out novels featuring a heroine madly in love with an assassin-for-hire. See, he's sensitive and misunderstood, especially by the police and non-sociopaths.

    Rob, I think she needs a lesson all her own. And therapy, lots of therapy.

    Happy new year!

  2. Rob, what's your resolution for horror writers?

  3. The British Museum photos are indeed a find!
    Thanks and Happy New Year.

  4. Action movie writers resolve to just once have the people with machine guns actually hit something/someone, instead of the hero with a handgun being the only one who can hit the broad side of a barn.

    Horror movie writers resolve to not have people wandering around in their dark houses without turning on the lights.

    Romance movie writers resolve to just once not have a couple waking up in the morning and French kissing before brushing their teeth.

    Courtroom drama writers resolve to have one case in which the lawyer does not yell at, berate, or insult the judge.

    Soap opera writers - oh, well, they're hopeless.

    Happy New Year everyone!

  5. Rob, one quibble: sociopaths don't benefit from therapy. As the old joke says, the light bulb really has to want to change.

    And how about Al-Anon and therapy for both those damsels who adore those sociopaths and the authors of those chronic or perennially relapsing alcoholics, who are clearly in love with their own dysfunctional protagonists?

  6. Elizabeth, your statement makes me think of a joke: How many sociopaths does it take to change a lightbulb? (Answer: What are you talking about? The lightbulb is just fine.)

  7. Eve, I love your list. Add to it a fight scene in which the participants who get clobbered with a chair, baseball bat or other object of mass destruction, do not shake it off and beat the bejesus out of his opponent.

  8. Rob,
    I resolve throw in the trash all the stories in which the creator fails to accept your suggestions.

    I'm trying to remember which browser I left my Flickr icon on so I can see some of the illustration.

    Happy New Year!

  9. Rob, thanks for the humor and wit as usual. Always a pleasure to read. As for the rest of you, I also enjoyed your Comments.

  10. Go to chatgpt and register for an account with an email address, or a Google or Microsoft account. You need to create an account on the OpenAI website to log in and access chat gpt, but it is free.


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