Where are all the 'good guys' in SIMPLY SARAH?

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Where are all the 'good guys' in SIMPLY SARAH?

Post  Skyangel on Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:18 am

The fact that most of the male characters in SS play very negative roles is something I became aware of myself during the writing of the first chapter of SS. I felt a bit guilty, and decided that I ought to try and show some good sides to these people or at least introduce a better more positive male character, but with the script already running at some 70 pages (I had intended to stop at 50) the thought of introducing a new character just to put things right seemed tiresome. I've known a lot of guys in my lifetime and the vast majority of them have all been lovely chaps on the face of it, but from my own experiences and those of other women I've known, these nice guys can have their weaker moments, and that weakness is often most likely to show up from a sexual point of view if it's going to be bad!. But before I dive into that area I thought I would first explain the male characters in SS and why they are portrayed as they are.

Firstly Sarah's dad. Now my role model for this guy was as many of you know by now, my own father. I went to some trouble in part two to try and show the pressure he was under from work, and his own mother in whose eyes he could never do any wrong as a way of showing that he too suffered. I never pass judgements of my own through the comic as I prefer the reader to just read the story and form their own opinions but I do like to show the reactions and effects upon Sarah as these are the ones I related to myself during my parents relationship breakdown. It's interesting that most young people I know will almost automatically turn to their mother for emotional help i.e relationship probs, and to their father for less emotional and physical help like when the car wont start! Sarah is often seen in her mum's arms because her problems until now have always been emotional ones. After all, having the shower break down and showing her dad repairing it, while whistling 'singing in the rain' may help reset the balance but is it really worth a comic page to state what should be obvious. Hopefully one can just assume he is a competent 'handyman' without having to illustrate it. Dad does have his good side, but we just haven't had time to show them yet.
Worth just mentioning here that one of the nicest guy's in SS was a boy named 'Phil' back in school who is seen a couple of times being very nice to Sarah. Originally I was going to show him having a crush on Sarah and be the prefect partner for her, though of course unable to win her mutual affection back. I planned on having scenes with her trying to avoid his attentions just because she didn't want to come out as gay, and then a later cofrontation where she finally has to tell him and he is very understanding. Further to this I planned on having him be the hero and save Sarah from the clutches of Stacey, but as the story evolved, this seemed to mundane and stereotypical of the comics that I often read as a child; the whole essence of SS is about being different and the intertwining of Sarah's problems with Janey and her unexpectedly growing affection for Gerry seemed of more unique interest.

Janey's brother Ricky is perhaps the one character who has subtley evolved. starting off as an arrogant macho male who thinks he is God's gift to women, he does show early on that he backs down to the wrath of a girls sharp tongue, which I thought was quite sweet, and then later on when Janey is in the hospital it is him that comes to let Sarah know that he is taking his homophobic mum home so that Sarah can be alone with Janey. I think a lot of people didn't seem to notice that, having perhaps already decided they liked him to be 'a bad guy' maybe. You'll also notice that after that time he stops pestering Sarah with his corny advances when she visits Janey at their mum's house.

Now the big bad wolves!! Well Stacey's stepdad is the biggest bad guy of them all so no excuses for him! Sexual abuse is so common in society that in writing a 'real life' story with real hero's and villains he seemed the most interesting and scary for me to go for. It obviously throws a lot of different viewpoints as to Stacey's behaviour too, as one can see that some of her nastiness is the result of her upbringing, leaving it up to the reader to judge just how 'evil' they think she really is. The nice thing about writing SS is that I never say to myself 'This is the good guy, this is the bad guy' I'm well aware that everyone in real life can be capable of kind deeds as well as bad ones, and mixing them into my characters gives them more depth and more for the reader to think about. Even Sarah is not the perfect angel. It's nice to see her being unreasonably jealous or selfish at times, having a guilty attraction for Gerry and trying to resist it, and sometimes mouthing off without thinking first. She's all me and it's nice to be as honest as I can with her. But getting back to the real bad guys, I wanted Stacey to be so hurt and angry by Sarah's outburst at the party that she wanted her to know what she had been going through all those years. the only way I could see this happening was to have to introduce another 'bad guy' for her evil scheme. It couldn't have been a woman naturally, and my original idea was for Stacey to just convince the guy that Sarah was really attracted to him but to shy to say,'please have sex with me' so she was waiting for him in an upstairs room; but the idea was weak at best and at the last moment I felt that no decent guy would be stupiod enough to just assume that a semi-girl would give consent via a friend anyway, so it was esier and more realistsic I felt to just make him bad! Notice though once again that when Stacey rebukes him with her tongue, the guy humbly retreats from her with a few choice words.
You'll be pleased to know that I have two really nice male moments lined up for Sarah with her father and her grandfather(whom again hasn't had much exposure).
What I'm interested to know is, what you guys would like to see in future. Would you like to see more of the perfect relationship Dawn has with her boyfriend who is a totally decent chap? Would you like to see Ricky settle down and be a loving husband who never gives another woman a second glance? I had planned all along on introducing a transvestite ot transexual male as a friend to Sarah, but that wont be for a while yet as other things have to happen first. I think I'd better finish here and see what responses this brings as this is getting quite long!
I'll check back as frequently as I can over the weekend to reply to anyone who laves their own points of view.

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Re: Where are all the 'good guys' in SIMPLY SARAH?

Post  tommym on Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:28 pm

Dear Sky,
Very nice essay! I learned early on Simply Sarah is an autobiography and as such the focus would be on "the story of two women"
As far as the men you do depict, I feel you were very kind. Janey's brother Ricky came of like a million others in real life ,a dumb little kid who eventualy grows up, matures, and learns to be respectful towards women. That guy at the party might have had a few drinks to many. As author you could have had him back off, realising what a despicable thing it would be to take such gross advantage of an woman in a coma instead you used the scene to show Stacy's side of the story.

What I found most fascinating are the alternate story lines you comtemplated. A nice guy with a crush on Sarah ( In real life I was drinking with a woman friend and started to get sexy with her. She told me "Your a nice guy Tom, and I like you ,but I am in love with another woman" I was nearly floored and my excitement grew, but I had no choice but to respect her wishes)as you say would have taken up pages without developing the main story.

As far as your "two really nice male moments"; Please forgive me, I don't think Family members should qualify. Their family!

I find your thoughtful questions on what we readers would like to see offer many story lines. In one, I thought of Dawns boyfriend joining diplomatic service and being sent to the farthest reaches of whats left of the British Empire. In another I see Ricky being a real ladies man, getting a girl pregnant ,marring, then cheating on his wife during the honeymoon. I say this in jest of course.
A "perfect " relationship does not exist, and a man who does not give women a second glance is gay (in which case he eyes other men)or the most obedient collared slave ever(they don't exist)

In the end IT'S YOUR STORY be true to your life. I think it's best to show the good and the bad, the thorns with the roses.
Thanks so much for writing more of Sarah, bet you were surprised to learn how popular you became:) tommym
P.S. Showing a Trans person would display your most excellant writing ablities. tammy

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Re: Where are all the 'good guys' in SIMPLY SARAH?

Post  eSilva on Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:58 am

I find it funny that the one morning I look some old stuff up on this forum, that you have written something Sarah! I'm not so sure it's a coincidence either!


Well, personally I think that you're story simply needs to stay truthful to what you intended it to be. Yeah, not all the male characters seem like the best of people but you've also got Stacey and her girl pals who also don't seem so nice and the perfect example for depth. It might be a cynical view but it seems to me that villainous women are "ok". I find something offensive in that! lol. But anyway. If you're story is suppose to be an authentic representation of a time period then it should stay that way. Life isn't about good or bad guys and realistically speaking a person can be more "bad" then good and seem to be like they're just an evil person. Thing is, that's life. There really are people who can be cruel, inconsiderate and the like. I think it's because it's literature that people noticed no positive male role models but why add them if there weren't that many? It would be creating a whole new story line and in a way altering the authenticity of the story. Also, I don't think the point is to appeal to everyones sensibilities, I think the point is to draw a comic, write a story and share with those who are open to it. I say keep going however you want! (personally..some sexy times would be appreciated! lol)
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Re: Where are all the 'good guys' in SIMPLY SARAH?

Post  Skyangel on Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:30 pm

Hi guys!!! Lovely to see you Eva and Tommym *BIG HUGGS* for both. I was just thinking on Monday when I looked in for the last time that nobody seemed to really care anyway, so I might as well just carry on as I have been. I'd already got the impression that nobody minded my guys being so mean generally, and it's strange because although Stacey has been the biggest villain all along it's as if as soon as I say she was abused, then suddenly the step-dad gets the blame for all her badness which comes only from the readers interpretation of the story. Good point about the sex scenes Eva!! Yes, I readily admit that I have been sparse with the gratuitous sex scenes before now, but purely because of their age and the need to move on with the story, but I have some nice hot scenes lined up for this chapter, I just have to get this part of the 'Stacey' story down now in preparation for events later on. And yes Tommym, I've been planning on having this lovely creature from the first chapter but I've always had a very set idea in mind of how she will come in to the story. Unfortunately it may not be until the start of chapter five, so although I'm itching to introduce her the timing just isn't right yet. Unfortunately as everyone is moving on in time she will have to tell some of her early life in flashbacks, but more importantly is that she will become a close friend of Sarah's as time passes. I can't wait to be able to share her with you though, I think you'll like her!!

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