Jack Bauer and What I Don’t Know

I saw a complete series DVD set of the TV show 24 yesterday and was taken back to the days of Jack Bauer ridding the world of terrorists and evil doers, one 40 cal bullet at a time.  My wife and I loved that show, and there has yet to be a lead character that can succeed Mr. Bauer.  Perhaps everyone knows it’s futile to try, lest they incur the wrath of Jack Bauer’s butt-kicking Karma.

Jack Bauer was a character that was, to me, a throwback to decades past- he is the good guy who always knows what is right, and always did what was best for his country, even when it cost him personally.  You can’t just create a character with balls that large; they must reveal themselves over the course of time until we are all aware that Jack is, without a doubt, the most shining example of badassery we will yet see on network TV.  In fact, a pet peeve of mine is when an author or director tries to tell us forcefully, in the opening act without examples or character development, that their hero is just so amazing we are all not worthy.  A convincing lead character must be built up over time, sometimes over multiple books or movies before we truly accept he or she is as awesome as we really want to believe they are.

And so, in honor of Jack Bauer, here are a few of my favorite Jack Facts:

1.  Some people see the glass as half full. Others see it as half empty. Jack Bauer see the glass as a deadly weapon.

2. When a convicted terrorist was sentenced to face Jack Bauer, he appealed to have the sentence reduced to death.

3. When bad things happen to good people, its probably fate.  When bad things happen to bad people, it’s probably Jack Bauer.

4. Jack Bauer doesn’t laugh in the face of danger; Jack Bauer is the face of danger.

5. Superman’s only weakness is Kryptonite.  Jack Bauer laughs at Superman for having a weakness.

Scribes and scholars always seem to fire off the following advice to new authors: “write what you know.”

This is great advice, and I think it definitely helps an author write with a sense of confidence, since they’re at least tackling a subject they have experience with.  I used that advice in my first novels until I felt like I needed to branch out to make the characters more well-rounded.  In fact, now I’ve had characters in my novels who contain plenty of examples of “what I don’t know.”  So, here’s another list; things I don’t have any experience with but wrote about anyway.

1.  Being a starship captain.

2. A shadowy underworld weapons dealer.

3. A member of an invading alien horde.

4. An ass-kicking female special forces operative

5. A military tactician with an intuitive grasp of three dimensional starship combat.

Maybe someday I’ll get a chance to address some of those shortcomings.   Until then, I’m off to keep writing The Fixer, a novel about that shadowy underworld weapons dealer.


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One response to “Jack Bauer and What I Don’t Know”

  1. Raylyn says :

    This has been my favorite blog since you started!! I too miss Jack Bauer and his quest for getting rid of the evil, manipulative bastards that inhabit our planet. The closest I’ve seen is Michael Weston, but he has an ulterior motive. He wants his job back. Don’t we all?? I look forward to reading “The Fixer”. Your character development is always entriging. Did you know spelling becomes a serious problem as you get older? I used to be a really good speller but look what’s happening now!! Looking forward to your new works whenever they come out.

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