Feb 14 2009
- +: Can be easily tied into almost any plot. Whether Godzilla’s attacking, a meteor is about to hit Metropolis or every car in town has mysteriously turned bright pink, a journalist will have something to do.
- +: Good opportunity for conflict (with his editor, with his co-workers, with the people he’s covering, etc.)
- -: Cliche. Between Superman and Spiderman and Tin Tin and Spider Jerusalem, journalists have been used a lot.
- Tip: If you use a journalist, give his media outlet a distinct style. That will help differentiate him from Clark Kent and Peter Parker.
- +: Like journalists, businessmen can usually be involved in a plot fairly easily.
- +: Businessmen may have access to interesting and exotic resources. That will give you room to shake things up a bit.
- -: Less potential for conflict with a boss. A journalist will have an editor, but a corporate executive doesn’t really have a boss.
- -: Corporate intrigue is usually harder to follow than journalism.
- Tip: Make him low-ranking. That will help keep him relatable. Also, try to avoid complicated plots where one businessman does corporate battle with another.
- +: Character flexibility. There are a ton of scientist archetypes, but here are a few that come to mind: quiet and brilliant, eccentric and brilliant (Einstein), restrained-and-professional (CDC), wacky-and-professional (DARPA), etc. Your character will probably be some flavor of smart, but aside from that the sky’s the limit.
- +: Science is fairly easy to work into stories.
- -: In his lab, he’s probably boring.
- -: It’s hard for an author to fake scientific competence. You may have to do research to make the character sound believable.
- Tip: Get him out of his lab as much as possible. Field research is more interesting and has more storytelling potential than lab research.
- +: Built-in audience. There are a lot of people that like reading detective stories.
- +: This doesn’t require as much research as a scientist, and there are many excellent cop shows. (I recommend the first few seasons of Law and Order and The Wire).
- +: Good potential for conflict between superhero and police.
- -: Poor plot range.
- -: These stories tend to feel like rehashes of Law and Order or Sherlock Holmes.
- Tip: If your hero is a cop, it’s particularly important to make the hero and the villains stylish. That will help distinguish you from Law and Order.
- +: Usually easier to write than detectives and cops. (Less legal jargon means less legal research).
- -: Not particularly well-suited for a wide range of plots.
- -: Less potential for conflict than most other professions here, because a PI usually doesn’t have a boss.
- Tip: Have him work for a PI agency. That will give him someone to fight with at work.
Did you like this article? If so, please see part 2 here for details on lawyers, criminals, teachers and mercenaries.