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Brian J. W. Lee is a writer. When he's not writing, he's plotting to plunge the world in a deep chasm of terror, darkness and screams. Sorry, did I get carried away?

Sunday, 11 September 2016

An Introduction to Pulau Purba, Chapter 6: The Smart Alec

In the previous chapter to my introduction to Pulau Purba, I talked about the setting.

Today, we'll bring in a certain someone from door number #1, and that person will be... Ding ding ding! None other than Alex Kee, the main protagonist of The Keeper of Pulau Purba!

So, we have a horror story set on an island with some of the creatures resembling zombies (long story, but not as cheesy). What's the kind of hero you'd be thinking of?

Officer Friendly's the one you want. Right? Right, guys?

Or how about...

Oh God, what have I done? My blog's contaminated now...


Just no.

Right from the beginning, I'd decided that if I was going to write a straight horror novel, I won't be putting a seasoned veteran zombie hunter who's armed to the teeth and packing a minigun and the whole nation's armoury. No, how scary would that be? Bet you're already laughing, aren't you?

An important part of horror is the lack of control and vulnerability. The problem is that a lot of horror novels/films/TV series/plays seem to have forgotten that. The result is a mutant of the horror genre. You'd either get a deconstructed horror, or comedy-horror, or you get a cheap flick B-grade horror movie, big budget or not.

So, I've decided on the idea of a normal person getting thrown into an extraordinary situation. In this case, one of the most ill-equipped guy to handle a horror story (well, almost).

Yes, I decided on a writer. Partly because I am a writer. Since this is a debut novel, I decided to go with basing a character off me, and then making him a unique fellow off me. And no, I don't reproduce by budding. Please don't call in the Men in Black.

But he can't be completely helpless, can he? He'd just die within 5 pages of the shit hitting the fan. This is where reality becomes useful for once.

See, every Singaporean son is obliged to serve in the military as a conscript for 2 years, before serving on-and-off National Guards style (for you Americans) for the next 10 years. I know, I've done it, and it sucks. This means my protagonist has at least some fighting chance, even if it is slim.

Now, how is Alex Kee actually like as a person? I've decided to make him quite the opposite of me. He's actually a much better writer than me, as he'd already launched a number of novels over the years, while I've released zilch so far, with The Keeper of Pulau Purba being my debut (with him in it!). He's also a slightly better soldier and sergeant than me, having to at least survive pretty okay through the ordeal of conscription.

Sounding like a Marty Stu so far? Yeah, I thought of that too. Which is why I made him a bit of a weakling and a tad too emotional. All those time spent on writing was certainly taken from elsewhere. Where I believe I'd be fine, dear Alex falters. He can't take a hit, and he can't take a setback. He needs a helping hand once in a while - Which is an opportunity for relationships to form, change and mutate, and for character development to happen.

He's going to hurt. A lot. Hue hue hue...

Well, at least he writes really well.

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