Andrew Girle's Blog

Crime and Speculative Fiction Blooking

Does a continuing character need a continuing nemesis?

Posted by Andrew Girle on September 28, 2010

Holmes had Moriarty. Kay Scarpetta had Temple Gault. All through crime fiction our favourite continuing characters have continuing nemeses.

But do they have to have them? Cannot our gumshoes walk the mean streets and face enough danger without acquiring some kind of fantastic super-enemy? Characters should be human, and humans don’t acquire enduring enemies – cartoon heroes do.

Or am I wrong?

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2 Responses to “Does a continuing character need a continuing nemesis?”

  1. Hey Andrew, I’m a big fan of the ‘Alphabet’ series by Sue Grafton (PI series, A is for Alibi etc..) and she doesn’t have a continuing nemesis, she gets a new one for every book. So I guess it can work either way … Sure tension can continue to build if it is an ongoing character and it is definitely a way to keep readers buying your books but you also run the risk of having readers get sick of the same old/same old with your stories. From my opinion, Cornwall had many antagonists in her Scarpetta series but I just got so sick of the whole series because it went nowhere… Something to be learnt by all writers I think – don’t bore your audience! But then again, after reading/critiquing your work, that isn’t an issue! 😀 xx

    • I lost track of the Scarpetta books when the niece started her own private army. That just seemed too far fetched – although with the rise of companies such as Blackwater in Iraq, maybe it wasn’t!
      Anyway, food for thought!

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