King Arthur

So I was watching the Clive Owen movie, Arthur, the other night and was thinking about the men in the movie.  If you are like me - you will agree that all the main characters are heroes.  We know the main character is Arthur and Clive Owen does a great job of showing the heroic side of the man. The selfless man who is willing to give his life for those around him. You see the emotions flash across his face when the bishop renegs on his deal to free the soldiers from their responsibilities to the time when he's praying and Lancelot comes in to speak with him. You feel his anguish over the decisions he must make. A truly tortured hero. He must come to terms with his disillusionment of his faith in Rome as well as his growing attraction to Guinevere, who is a member of the Woads - a barbarian clan who rule most of Britain.

But as you watch the movie you cannot help but find yourself analyzing all the men who follow him.

Lancelot is played by Ioan Gruffudd,  I have to admit this probably the first time I have seen this actor in a role where I went - "Whoa! he's amazing!"  I have seen him in several films and series, but watching him play the gritty role of Lancelot, you see a different side of the actor. The Lancelot we recall is the movie, Camelot, played by Franco Nero.  Gruffudd's Lancelot is grittier and more realistic.  He is the narrator and yet we know the story is not his. His veiled passion for Guinevere is hidden behind his dislike of the Woads and his desire to return home.  This is not the starry-eyed lover of Camelot we have grown accustomed to seeing.

Tristram is played by Mads Mikkelsen. Here is a man of mystery. Tristram is clever and wiley. He has a hawk that flies in the sky, scouting for him, but is also symbolic of the freedom the men seek. We are drawn to this hawk several times in the movie, but the most poignant time is at the Battle of  Badon Hill. Tristram has a demeanor of a sage, patient and yet disarming at the same time. He is faithful to his friends and is willing to risk everything for them.

Gawain is played by Joel Edgerton. This soldier is more playful than the others. He has a light in his eyes that would melt most women's hearts. He may not have a major role in the movie, but the few times he is seen, his lines and actions are exactly what is needed at that time.  Many of us recall Sir Gawain and the Green Knight where we once more see his chivalry rise to the fore.

Galahad is played by Hugh Dancy. Galahad appears to be the youngest of the men, whether this is due to the actor's youthful appearance or he's really supposed to be this young, I'm not sure.  Whatever the reason, Galahad needs the most guidance in this story. He is more easily led and at the same time, fiercely loyal even though at first he is opposed to giving up his life once more in the name of Rome.

Bors is played by Ray Winstone. One cannot help but like Bors as played by Ray Winstone. His lovely partner has given him 12 children and constantly teases him that none of them are his.  Of course we all know differently - they are all his and she's just playing around.  He is very proud of his progyny and his wife even though he acts as if he does not care.

Dagonet is played by Ray Stevenson. When Dagonet is killed, no one has a dry eye.  He is the gentle giant who wraps himself around your heart with his kindness.  When he cares for the little boy, you see a tenderness to this quiet man that you did not expect.  He is the only one who can see beyond Bors' boorish behavior and make him see reality.

As you can see, each and every one of the main characters is a hero.  Most of them for different reasons.  I defy anyone to try and get the hero of their choice to fullfil everything they did.  These men deserve their legendary status.  Each time I see the movie I see little glimmers of personality I missed the previous time.  What it and see.

Query letters

The time has come to type up a few more query letters.  I've been looking at several books and sites to decide what MY perfect query should look like.  Since the  most important part of a query letter is to include the right information AND allow your own voice to come through, a combination of several different types of might work.

There are several things to consider when writing the query letter:
1. Your protagonist - this would be your hero or heroine - the person the story is mainly about.  Keep in  mind that while you will have both in the story, we all know the story is really only the hero's or the heroine's.  Once you know that, make sure you include pertinent information - the person's age and their main purpose.

2. Of course next, make sure you tell the reader about the protagonist's ultimate goal.  Is it to save a sibling? To marry the local lord? Or to escape the drudgery of her life?  Whatever the main goal - make sure you are clear about it.

3. Next, you need to include the major conflict that will prevent your protagonist from achieving his/her goal.  (This brings us back to Goal, Motivation, and Conflict - you remember these).  Something in the story will keep the protagonist from reaching his/her goal.  Make sure you are clear about this in your letter.

4. Last, do not forget to state the stakes.  Why is this conflict going to cause problems for your protagonist?  If the protagonist does not achieve his/her goal - what is going to happen?  Will they be thrown in jail?  Will they lose custody of the sibling?  Will they lose their family estate?  Something that drives the goal and motivates the protagonist to do all the things he/she does during the story.

Try to keep your query letter to one page.  Make sure you include your writing credits as well as the name of the manuscript, the genre, word count, and thank the reader for their time.

Sounds easy, doesn't it?  Then let's get one done.