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Adam White’s Motivation Is Righteousness

Mortal Gods: “Sodom by the Susquehanna” Cover Art.
© Paul Hair, 2017.
Fictional authors, critics, and readers often want to know, “What’s the character’s motivation for doing what he does?” And many times this leads to authors creating some devastating backstory for the character: his parents were murdered, he lost his wife on his wedding night, he was bullied as a child, or some other tragic happening. Doing this makes for excitement and pathos. But at the same time, it means the hero (if he is a hero) is only doing what he does for personal reasons. Adam White, of the Mortal Gods universe, doesn’t do what he does because of personal tragedy. He does what he does because it’s the right thing to do.

I haven’t yet gotten around to telling Adam’s backstory and so there is much unsaid about it. But what I do know is that he doesn’t come from a dysfunctional family, broken home, abusive childhood, or anything similar. Indeed, he comes from a strong family, with a father and mother who married and stayed faithful to one another. In fact, if anything, the compelling thing about Adam doing what he does is that he never had to do any of it; he could have lived a life of ease and pleasure had he wanted to do so.

Adam is driven by an urge to do the right thing. This separates him from many of today’s modern heroes and protagonists. It also means there isn’t a need to create stories that show him brooding or agonizing over a tragedy that happened to him years ago. Character development is important, but so is story. And Adam’s character allows for more story in his stories since there isn’t necessarily a need to devote pages upon pages to showing the reader why he is who he is.

He also isn’t a hero who needs to flee to some mysterious Eastern land to learn fighting skills and theological wisdom. He learns what he knows on his own or from other Westerners. He likes what Western Civilization once was and his beliefs are grounded in it and Christianity.

Adam isn’t scarred from childhood and he isn’t driven by tragedy. And he doesn’t reject Occidentalism for Orientalism. These characteristics, and others yet to be revealed, make him unique among modern heroes.

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