Or does it?
Maybe I just think that because I value values.
Anyway, my musings led me to this....
...do my values infuse my writing? Do my heroes and heroines behave congruently with my values or do I write their values? Is it possible to write a hero or heroine that you don't identify with in some way shape or form?
Weirdly, I wasn't sure. I think my characters are informed by my values, but in a way I think that this is lazy writing. Perhaps if I got to know my characters better before jumping in with telling their story, I would know them better and write them different. Or perhaps I just wouldn't be mentally hanging out with characters which were far removed from what I value.
What about other authors?
In prolific authors, I think it's possible to find a kind of pattern in the values of their key characters. Georgette Heyer's heroines are often pragmatic, intelligent and relatively selfless. Even the spoilt heiresses, like Barbara Childe, who declare themselves to be selfish are prone to acts of heroism and self sacrifice.
Sherilyn Kenyon's heroes tend to be screwed up but resilient; survivors of some sort of incident or abuse that has left them black around the edges but with a hidden nugget of gold. Trust is a big thing in her books, and learning to live again.
But before I got too carried away with this, I got stuck on George RR Martin. Damn. I'm nearing the end of book two of A Song of Fire and Ice. He's good. He's better than good, he's gripping. His plots twist and turn but are perfectly foreshadowed. His characters are three dimensional and leap from the page. Author-wise he's the one to beat.
|It's all about the dragons I tells ya|
But his thematic values? God knows. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character. Each character is markedly different. Cersei is cold, ambitious, fearless and brave. Tyrion is protective, wise, pragmatic and cunning. Ned is loyal, selfless, dutiful and loving. No two are the same. There are no black and white heroes or villains: once inside the mindset of each you can sympathise with them all. They are real in every shade of grey (not just fifty) imaginable.
Is this the sign of a truly great writer - to be led by his characters, not to lead them? To have 31 different heroes and heroines, each sympathetic, frustrating, lovable and despicable by turns?