Those of you that know me will probably be aware of my love of a certain type of character in a certain type of television show. For those of you that don’t know, I have a love of crime dramas with a maverick MC.
A maverick, you might possibly be saying as you tap your chin thoughtfully in the hopes that you look clever if not knowledgeable. What’s a maverick?
A maverick, according to the Free Online Dictionary, is:
1. An unbranded range animal, especially a calf that has become separated from its mother, traditionally considered the property of the first person who brands it.
2. One that refuses to abide by the dictates of or resists adherence to a group; a dissenter.
As a writer and TV lover, I am not, as you’ve hopefully assumed, talking about a calf wandering the open range. It would be difficult to make a crime drama from that.
Nope. We’re talking about a dissenter. Someone who couldn’t care less about the status quo. In crime dramas, the maverick also tends to see things that the police don’t see, and doesn’t much care if they’re doing something a teensy bit illegal to get the information they need.
If you’re a lover of your crime dramas as well, you’re probably shouting out the name of the most well-known maverick in the entire history of the world: the immortal Sherlock Holmes.
(The current British Sherlock Holmes.)
(The current US Sherlock Holmes… who is also British.)
But Sherlock Holmes, though he might be the first maverick of pop culture, isn’t the only maverick. These are a few of my absolute faves:
(My personal obsession is this show and this character.)
(A cool dude who… sort of… solves crimes.)
(Damon counts. This is my post, so Damon Salvatore gets included. Fact.)
Okay. Enough of the YouTubing. You want to know more about these maverick types, right? I hope you do, since that’s what this post is about.
Well, the maverick is a good type of character to have in TV, film, or your own writing. Stick a maverick in there and already you have Wholockians, and other maverick-lovers, all over you, begging to find out what happens to the person who just doesn’t fit in.
Which brings me onto a little tangent. You might notice that all my mavericks are men. I have found that, in the world of telly, you don’t really have female mavericks (although if anyone finds one, be my guest to prove me wrong). I won’t go on a rant about it, though, but just mention that the female equivalent of the male maverick tends to be the kick-ass chick. From this point on, kick-ass chicks will be included in this post under the umbrella of ‘mavericks’.
The reason there are so many maverick fandoms in the world is because a strange part of our culture is that we enjoy rooting for the underdog. Your average maverick tends to have some sort of fatal flaw. This could be arrogance, as in BBC Sherlock and Damen’s cases; an addictive personality, as in Elementary Sherlock’s case; or just being too awesome, as in the Doctor’s case.
We enjoy rooting for underdogs… but only when they win. This is why a maverick is great as a protagonist, and may perhaps be because we’re all teen rebels at heart, and love to see people beat the status quo.
Which brings us back to the definition of a maverick that we looked at oh so long ago. It’s as if I plan these things or something (I don’t).
So now you know that a maverick (done properly, of course, as all characters must be done) can be the best thing that happens to your novel.
Now, I must inform you of the reason that mavericks are a terrible idea. People tend to do this:
You must be wary of the power of the maverick.