Last night, before Gerard and his lovely buddies scrambled the brain, my sister, Jana, and I shared some Merlot and talked books.
She is verra hard to please. She misses the older style romances with the strong alpha heroes and the heroines who show more strength of character than physical. One of her favorite books is Loving Evangeline, if that tells you anything.
I’m a Linda Howard fan –man, some of her books have been read so many times, they’re falling apart… and I’ve actually bought four copies of Dream Man… and yes, in Dream Man, the hero was a bit manipulative and stubborn, yet she pulled it off.
But there were a few LH books, I didn’t enjoy so much. I can barely remember LE–all I remember is feeling the hero was overly cruel. Am I remembering the wrong book here?
Thing is, I like the strong alpha male, but I suppose I’m too independent to put up with some kinds of gnarly cave man crap.
Okay yeah, there are situations where that cave man stuff is fun. I can admit it…. 😉
But even in my fantasy, if any character, male or female, starts forcefully –I’m talking in cruel fashion here–manipulating someone to their will, well, that book is not going to find its happy place on my keeper shelf. Not if it’s someone they’re supposed to care about.
Now, some are going to bring up this post when I publish book three in this series I’m writing. (Note that positive use of when.) My hero goes through some rough stuff in book two and he’s absorbed some bad, bad juju. In the third book, he’s going to be an ass. You’ll have to wait to read it to find out what my heroine does about it, though. <wg>
I suppose what I’m trying to say in my Saturday rambling way is that there is a delicate balance to writing a character who shows both physical and character strength. If you aren’t careful, you could end up exaggerating one of their qualities and they come off too comic book.
My heroine is physically strong, but she’s still just learning her capabilities and will continue to do so throughout all the books. There are times when she accidentally discovers a strength and uses it to her advantage and there are times when she isn’t prepared and she gets her ass kicked. To me, this doesn’t take from her character–to me, this grows it. She can learn from a mistake and know what to do next time.
I plan to watch her shift and grow and flow into something damned special over the course of the series. (Okay, I hope you all get to do that with me…)
And no, she will not start forming triumvirate after triumvirate… nor get sucked into a constant, draining battle with her arduer…
Not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing. heh heh
As you can probably guess, my sister and I have a lot of Anita Blake conversations. <g>
(BTW, still think this actress could swing AB)
The sis discovered the first Anita Blake book after six or so had come out. She devoured them all in one weekend. Man, she drove me nuts with the vampire or werewolf choice. She was all Jean-Claude and I thought Richard started out pretty hot. (Note the ‘started’ reference.) She quit reading when Anita said she needed a wife.
Me? I’m not sure I’d object to two gorgeous men seeing to my every need. But I look at the world in measurements of writing time and wow, that would sure open up those moments, eh? (After all that other fun, of course.)
But here is where we cross another line. Romance vs. Urban Fantasy.
I’m not sure my sister will like my new books. (And isn’t it sad that I haven’t given her a copy???) I moved quite heavily into the UF genre. To me, there’s more room to wriggle. I have strong romance in the stories, but it’s now a secondary plot. Yeah, it will probably be first in book three…
Tangent much, Rinda?
Believe me, I submitted all those romances I wrote and each and every time, the editor said “Good, but your heroine is too strong–ruins the romantic fantasy.”
My OKRWA buddies say I was writing today’s heroine too early. <g>
So, what are your thoughts on reaching that balance in your characters? What kind of trait puts you off? And will you change your opinion if that character has a legitimate reason for his or her behavior?