Monday, 26 January 2009
A stiff upper lip and bladder control, please
I can't be certain who started it, but my money is on Graham Greene in The Comedians in 1966. In that novel, it's an effective means of conveying just how terrifying Papa Doc's secret police, the Tonton Macoute were.
I'm talking about the hero of a novel wetting his pants under extreme stress and fear.
The same unfortunate accident happens to Tom in the excellent book Mortal Engines, when Shrike appears. But now it seems to be a routine occurrence in every other unpublished thriller that I read on Authonomy (and I've read the start of at least one novel each day since May 2008). I can't believe it's written from personal experience. I think writers are seeing it in other people's books, and thinking, ooh, that's a gritty way of demonstrating the fix my hero is in. It's become a bit of a cliché.
So the point of this post is to urge all modern heroes to pull themselves together, get a grip, and stop being big girls' blouses. It's not attractive to have a hero behave like a toddler.
You wouldn't catch Bulldog Drummond damp around the trousers.
Posted by Lexi at Monday, January 26, 2009