Sunday, 7 November 2010

My boys Sleepwell and Fly

Like Dempsey and Makepeace, Mulder and Scully and (ahem...) Freebie and the Bean, Sleepwell and Fly are that ubiquitous and rather uninspiring thing - a pair of swashbuckling protagonists ready to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting ficitonal world. So, music needs facing here, and the tune in question goes - this has all been done before, right? There've been a few developments over the years, but who are we kidding here, it's an oldie. Early sidekicks worked as a substitute for the reader, as Watson did for example, awed by the mighty powers of the detective genius Holmes. He was an unremarkable everyman who couldn't see how the great brain did it - and so were we. Then there was the whole 'sidekick as liability' movement that sprang up in the superhero genre; every Batman needed his hopeless Robin. The grumpy/cheerful dynamic's been fully exploited too; the Morse-Lewis continuum.

I have, therefore, anticipated the problems that might arise from the staleness associated with this - some might say - hackneyed approach to storytelling by attaching for the reader a series of bells and whistles that will delight and inspire! Witness, amazed as you discover that:

Sleepwell and Fly are not secretly in love with each other but tediously denying it until the season climax! There's not a clever one and a thick one! It's not straight-man/funny-man or girl-magnet/minger! One of them is not a comedy dog!

Instead, theirs is a partnership of equals. I hope. And this is what's proving troublesome; the more equal they get, the more indistinguishable they are. A lot of the re-writes I'm doing at the moment are all about discovering what makes them different from each other. I've begun to think that maybe the off-the-peg cliches of crime-fighting partnerships like the ones above serve a purpose; bold, primary-colour distinctions between characters.

Damn. Perhaps I need something a little more significant to seperate them. Something physical, immediate, recognisable. I could, for example make one of them a comedy dog. Genius.

1 comment:

  1. I've cracked it.

    One is accustomed to getting the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night.

    The other is versed in the practise of self-propulsion through space (and time).