Junior Inquisitor

Junior Inquisitor

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Protagonist's Watch

As a rather voracious reader, every now and then I come across similar themes, or plot constructs, or even rehashed characters. I guess this should not be seen as laziness on the writers part, but clever ways to honor past authors. Of course, sometimes a concept is so delicious that one can not help but recycle what has been done before with a different twist. I am hardly unique in allowing other authors to mentor my writing.

Also noted, mostly in television and movies, is product placement. It's understandable, movies and television are expensive sliding in some subtle advertising to defray the cost is probably unavoidable. After all the hero has to drink something, drive some make and model of car, use a brand of computer, might as well help underwrite the cost of production as well.

Tying in these two different themes together, what I have noticed is almost product placement in books that I have read. Specifically the protagonist's watch. I'm not talking about phrases like, “he leaned his grizzled chin down until the piercing blues eyes half-closed in a gunfighter squint focused on his Timex and showed he had just sixty seconds to disarm the bomb, save the girl, and open the bunny rehabilitation clinic,” but more like, “He tilted his gaze down to the face of his Rolex Submariner model number 16613 watch; the coolness of the intricately forged metal watchband gripping his arm firmly, and subtly winked in the dim light. Tilting the blue and gold bezeled face so that he could check the time, he tought for just a second, “Yeah, I deserve a manly watch like this one.” The smooth Rolex movements showed he had sixty seconds left to disarm the bomb, rescue the girl, and open the bunny rehabilitation clinic.” Jeffery Deaver, Robert Ludlum, Brad Thor, all come readily to mind when I think of excessive description of the protagonist's watch.

Now before any one goes all tu quoque on me and points out I talk about Glock pistols and MP-5 sub-machine guns, I would point point out that firstly a watch and a weapon are not the same thing, and secondly I describe a brand name, and caliber, but go no further. There are 4 different models of Glock chambered 9mm, and up to four different generations of Glock design for each model. I keep it generic so that the reader can envision which particular weapon Sebastian is using. I will also admit, I'm not against being bribed, it's just that sadly, Glock has never offered me anything (sigh).

In the end I leave it up to the reader to decide if an overly loving description of a watch, or shoes, or a gun is done because the author really likes the item, or there has been a quiet exchange and a bit of product placement.

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