Who are your role models?
Last week, the Avengers came out on DVD. Hooray! This is a movie of role models: the strong woman who is nonetheless a woman; the brilliant scientist who cares for the sick to expel his own demons, the brilliant entreperneur who embraces his demons, such as they are, the All-American hero... Lots of role models.
Of course, for me, the role model is writer-director Joss Whedon. I never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I loved his Firefly, and thoroughly enjoyed Doll House. He's a classic example of what Dr. Josh Yoden was talking about in this article on the 3 classic strategies of storytelling. Joss' work is exciting and entertaining, but also emotionally captivating, and there's more to it than the first layer of plot and theme.
Madeleine L'Engle accomplished the same, though more with her Time "trilogy" than with her Austin family books, which may be why I turn to those more often. I think Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams had their moments, too, although sometimes more with one-liners or clever scenes than an entire novel. While I was never a fan of Heinlein, I'm sure my husband would assert that his juveniles accomplished the same.
I want to write like that--fun and entertaining but when the story's done, the reader is left with something more. I think I may have done it once or twice, but I'm not the one to judge. One of my favorite quotes from a reviewer is "I felt there may have been some intellectual protein in the popcorn." Time, I suppose will tell, too.
If along the way, I write some popcorn, some silly, some one- or two-level stories, that's fine, but along the way, I'll strive for something more--for the awesome feats of my own "superhero" team.