Friday, October 10, 2008

Characters I could happily never see again

One of the more interesting things about romance these days is that the bar has widened for heroes and heroines. They can have greater flaws, be, sometimes, unlikeable, even do bad things.

Some of the best recent examples, the wonderful heroine from Private Arrangements, who is far from perfect and whose character flaws drive a lot of the conflict. I’m reading a Kresley Cole book where the heroine, was (now she’s a ghost) slightly promiscuous, an exhibitionist, and a thief when she was alive, and as a ghost. The heroine makes this book a keeper. Everything else is pretty standard Paranormal, down to the tortured hero and the assortment of vampire type creatures.

I think there’s a real opportunity right now to take chances with our characters, makes them less than the standard heroic, but more interesting, more flawed, and I do believe if we do it well, readers will love it.

But back to the point of the post.

Here are the characters I never want to see again.

The all-giving, saintly, will give up her virginity to save her reckless father/brother/dog, heroine. The heroine that seemed to be a fixture in too many of the regency historical romances published in the last ten years. She’s become a cliché and I find this heroine boring.
Give me a heroine who’ll let her stupid father/brother/dog go to jail, or at least have her come up with a plan that doesn’t include prostitution.

The I’m tortured because my mother/dead wife/ imaginary girlfriend abandoned me hero. Seriously, I just want to yell ‘get over it’ at the book. I know as authors we need to create internal conflict, but this one’s been done to death. Although if an author could come up with a new way to do this and keep me enthralled, I’m probably be hers forever.

Anybody who spies, be it hero or heroine. So many authors are trying to convince me young, upstanding, cultured lovely women and titled men turned to spying for shits and giggles. Even if I bought it, and I don’t, so many of these characters think and act like normal people. Joanna Bourne not included because her spy heroine thought and acted like I believe a spy would have.

The vampire who struggles against drinking blood. Do I really need to explain this? Anne Rice did it first and a very long time ago.

The obscenely rich, handsome, bored playboy/ceo/sultan/mime who falls in love with his mousy secretary because gorgeous women get boring, but mousy lasts forever. I know this is a pretty appealing fantasy and truly this is the one I’d probably be convinced to for go given the right book. And ten million Harlequin Presents can’t be wrong.

That’s it. That’s all my tired brain can come up with. I didn’t mention the chick lit, heroine who shops too much cliché, because I’m ready to read a light, amusing chick lit again, even with a heroine who shops too much.

Anyone else have any characters that bug them?


Amy Ruttan said...

ROFL those are awesome example. As I read each one I found several books that had those types of heroes/heroines in them.

Molly O'Keefe said...

You had a few when you wrote this didn't you?

Actually this is what I would like to see: the hero, a tortured mime whose mother left him when he was 22, falls in love with a mousy (becasue mousy lasts forver-- you're hilarious) secretary who has to sell herself to pay for Spot's flea bath. BUT - around page 270 it is revealed that the hero is mime/vampire and he just neglected to tell her, or the writer neglected to tell us - either way -- it's a big fun surprise.

A character I am tired of seeing done BADLY -- the tough as nails, I don't need a man woman in a man's job. Great character done badly all the time. They should all be more like Dexter's sister who is awesome.

I need a drink? Anyone else?

Sinead M said...

Thanks Amy, I've been seeing those cliches less lately, for which I'm grateful.
Molly, I need a few as well. More than a few. And I don't even have a newborn...

Kimber Chin said...

What a great post!
Loved the list.

The boss/secretary thing?
I find that SO creepy.
If she says no,
she risks getting her a$$ fired.
Not sexy.
Not sexy at all.

But I'm basically okay with
any type of character
as long as he/she is real,
well developed
and interesting.
Entertain me,
that's all I ask for.

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