C is for Clueless
We all like our survivalist-characters to be clever, right? But is there merit in having a clueless character, either as the main character or an important secondary character? If they are loveable and relatable enough, you could win your audience over quite easily. Clueless characters can also appeal to the cheese-loving readers among us. One of the primary reasons I enjoy cheesy horror films is so I can shout ‘do NOT go in the basement you moron’ and throw popcorn at the screen.
Scenario: What works for clueless characters? Viruses (no zombies) – dumb luck could mean they are immune, or are carrier of the cure! Earthquakes, Nuclear war (although they’re going to have to have some basic understanding of nuclear fallout), Peak Oil, Volcanoes (again, some basic understanding necessary) are all possibilities due to the ‘randomness’ factor. What’s not going to work is any kind of ongoing threat like zombies, aliens, monsters etc. – dumb luck can only make it so far. Unless you want to kill off your clueless character – then the possibilities are endless!
Character: Eternal optimist, lucky b@stard, ditzy – all work as long as the reader LIKES the character, either because they are kind, funny or just plain nice.
Location: Clueless characters on road-trips are always a laugh. You could make them stick their head out the window like a dog, if the mood so takes you…
Series or stand-alone: Either works here, but you may want to consider the longevity of your clueless character in a series – will readers eventually want to drive nails through their eyeballs, end up hating them because no one can be that lucky or sob like a baby if you kill them off?
I'm not going to make any recommendations today, at fear of classing a character as clueless when that's not what the author intended ;-)