Antiheroes and the Reefer Ranger

McCutchenI’ve had several people ask me about the Reefer Ranger. More specifically, why is he a racist, self-righteous SOB? On that note, I’d like to ask all of you kind readers a similar question, but just a bit more generalized.

Can an antihero be a self-righteous, racist SOB?

Of course, the answer is yes. It is easy to fall in love with more reasonable and cuddly antiheros. You know the types. The Dukes of Hazzard and Malcolm Reynolds. But let’s face it. Those guys are barely antiheroes at all. In the world we live in today, they’re borderline, straight up heroic. An antihero, by definition, is supposed to be:

a main character in a story who lacks conventional heroic qualities such as idealism, courage, and morality.

So let’s take a closer look at the Reefer Ranger as a black hat, antihero. He has courage a plenty. And boy howdy does he have idealism. But his ideals and his morality would be recognized by the vast majority of us (including me) as prejudice, to say the least. He is hypocritical, self-righteous and downright cruel at times. I can hear the violent protests from my home state of Texas as I type. “But he’s a Texas Ranger, for criminy sakes!”

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Writing as Lean Startup

lean startupI’m an author. I’m an entrepreneur. My company consists of me and my words. When, as a kid, I dreamed of writing, I didn’t envision creating a brand. I didn’t anticipate the need for a marketing strategy and a business plan. Even as I began to write my first novel and then shop it to agents, or even when I realized that indie publishing provided more options for me, it never fully dawned that I was starting a company.

I can’t look back at a single aha moment. Rather, it settled in layers. In bits and pieces, I discovered the world of startups. Admitting I run a startup company based on my writing eventually led me to Eric Ries’s book, The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.

While I was asked to read the book due to my involvement in another startup company, I found the values and principles appropriate for indie authors. If you are an indie author and you can admit you’re an entrepreneur, I think the book will prove helpful for you as well. Several critical questions brought up in the book should be answered by any author trying to make money from their craft:

What is your guiding vision?

Another way to think of this is the big picture that won’t change even if your first efforts fail. For me, I deduced early on that my writing is about bringing vivid events and relationships to life. My first slogan was, “Enjoy the show.” I still like it. Since then I’ve added the idea that I write bad guys who do good things and good guys who do bad things. And the most common thread in all of my writing is that, “I explode things.” I believe in writing books that serve as an escape. Only when I convince the reader to let down his or her guard do I sneak tiny reflections of life into the story. In so doing, they glide seamlessly into the subconscious and impact life without even knowing it. I’m subversive like that.

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Ebook Subscription Services are Doomed

On that cheery note, I’ll just go shoot one of my characters. That always peps me up… Now that we’ve got the ugliness out of the way, it’s time for my state of the digital publishing industry address. Last January, I spouted off about how indie authors would soon be running around like Chicken Little … Read more Ebook Subscription Services are Doomed