Tag Archives: Protagonist

Superheroes Have Invaded My Home: Today’s Reality of Heroes

HulksSuperheroes have invaded my home. Between my 7-year-old son with Autism, and my 2-year-old who loves anything his brother loves, the Avengers have overtaken our house as their new stronghold. My son refers to his bed as the Heli-carrier, a staging point for the fierce battles that Iron Man, the Hulk, and Captain America wage over their enemies. Whether it be with the action figures Santa gave him for LegoIronManChristmas, the figurines he’s made out of Legos or Play-doh, or the paper ‘dolls’ he drew and cut out himself, my living room is a perpetual battlefield. Not to mention, a minefield of Legos (try stepping on one of those in the middle of the night!)

My son loves the idea of heroes. The good guys triumphant over bad guys. Because good always wins over evil. He aspires to save the day, both in his Xbox game and in the world around him. His imagination is vivid, all-encompassing, and beautiful. He wants to be liked, and loved for good deeds.

IronManHelmentThis daily immersion in the likes of superheroes got me thinking about the heroes in romance novels. Do the heroes in these novels want to be liked, and loved for their good deeds as well? Or are they the kind of men who merely want to live their own lives, but they’ve been thrust into a challenge they can’t avoid, and must do what they can?

At what point do little boys stop wanting to be heroes? Or does that desire fade at all? Deep down, do all men want to be that kind of superhero? Do they secretly put on their Batman capes when no one is

watching? Or listen to the Superman theme song as they drive to work. (Yes I know, I’ve mixed up Marvel heroes with DC Comics, but you get my point).

Much like William Shakespeare’s quote:

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

Much of the historical heroes I’ve read are those who were ‘born great,’ Lords of their family lands and leaders of armies. A few have ‘achieved greatness’ by overcoming their humble beginnings and growing into legendary soldiers. A lot perf5.000x8.000.inddof the contemporary stories I’ve read have been about those that have ‘greatness thrust upon them.’ At least, that’s what the hero in my latest novel, Jewel of Solana was like. Flynn didn’t strive for greatness, or to be the hero. But when chaos crossed his path in the form of Princess Alanna running from evil, he did what he could to find his way back to a normal life, only to realize that life no longer existed. The damsel in distress needed help, and he accepted the challenge of being the hero to save her.

Of course, reality is never that simple, or straightforward.

HulkHeroes lose all the time. Damsels save themselves, more often than are saved by others. Little boys grow out of their capes and Iron Man costumes. It’s a sad reality. But I still think there are plenty of heroes out there, in their own small gestures. The good samaritans, the nurses, the teachers…the mothers and fathers who work tirelessly to raise the next generation of heroes.

But for now, I’ll continue to watch my boys playing the superheroes our world lacks. I like the idea of super strength, and a laser beam from my palm. 🙂

What kind of heroes do you like reading most? The born heroes, the ones who seek greatness,  or those that have greatness thrust upon them?

 

*This post originally appeared on Smart Girls Read Romance on 6/10/16

Can’t Wait to Plot

So, I’ve only gone through the first round of revisions on my manuscript and have sent it out to my critique group. And I’m not stopping there.

I’ve already started plotting and creating the character sketches for the next book that’s twirling around in my head.

Some could call me a glutton for punishment, since I have at least 2 more rounds of revisions on this thing. But I’d rather get these ideas on paper than let them continue to torment me in my head. I’ve had this story idea for a little over a year, but didn’t have enough of a concrete plan to bash it out on paper.

But this time around, I’m paying more attention to the character development than before. Because in this particular story, their personalities are going to be a lot more center-stage. So for the first time in my life, I’m focusing on the characters first, and not the plot.

Even searching several screenshots of people online (Yahoo Images) to see if I can find anyone that closely resembles the image I have in my brain of my characters. I can’t draw for crap, so literally sketching them isn’t gonna work. I’m much more visual.

But I can sketch the rest of them on paper. Their goals, motivations, conflicts (GMC to any of you writers out there). What makes them tick, sing, cringe, and I can find all their buttons (and push them relentlessly!)

A writer friend of mine gave me what she uses for Character ‘Interviews,’ where she gets to know them more by playing the role of a therapist while her MC’s sit on a couch and dish out their lives and inner most thoughts. Creative!

If you peruse around on the web, you’ll find a whole bunch of different resources to help you create your characters. Character Development, character sketches, character questions… type in anything for ‘character’ and you’ll find umpteen-million.

The one I’ve used before I found here.

But clearly that’s not the only thing I’m going to use to know every inch and cranny of my characters for this iota of an idea. But you need to start somewhere.

Battling Themes Causes Bi-Polar Character

02.19.10

Image by colemama via Flickr

I’ve realized why I’m stuck in my writing this week. After a few weeks of frustrating writer’s block, and having to delete several chapters and revise several scenes, I read at my local writer’s group who gave me another reason to be frustrated. I’m not frustrated with the writers group- not at all. They pointed out another serious flaw that I have to go back and fix. But it gave me the first insight into my much bigger problem that spurned all the others I was fighting.

My theme is all screwed up in my current project. Some days my theme is about my heroine trying to reclaim the life she wanted before her injury. Other days my theme is focused on the anger and frustration in trying to deal with the pain of her injury. And other days is all focused on going after the love of her life. So when I sat back and compared the scenes, my heroine seems strangely bi-polar. Extreme highs and lows in her emotions and behaviors from one day to the next, its hard for me to keep track. I can only imagine what the reader would think.

My writer’s group told me that in the scene I presented, my main character is too nice. She was boring. I needed to *itch her up. And they were right. In that particular scene, she was trying to be too polite and accommodating.  But in the next scene, she was a raging, chemically imbalanced drama queen that sparked from a phone call. And the cycle seems to repeat itself over the next few scenes.

After perusing a few author’s blogs I follow and a several other sites, I narrowed down on my overall issue. I have too many themes and they’re all battling each other. I need to get a handle on which theme I want the most prevalent in the book and write the scenes that way. In fact, its suggested to write my theme on a piece of paper, and tape the paper to my laptop or on my desk while I write. That way I’m constantly reminded of the MAIN THEME throughout my piece. Because the other themes are present in my mind and in the overall situation, they’ll be lingering in the background, but I can’t let those overpower the main theme.

So now my problem is picking the major theme. I posted a poll a week ago on my blog getting other opinions to help narrow down my choice. I appreciate those who’ve participated.  I’d always love more feedback. But I thought I’d keep you all posted on my current WIP (work-in-progress).

Writers: have you struggled with the theme in any of your manuscripts? How did you overcome it?

Readers: have you read any books that seemed to struggle too much between themes? What kinds of themes do you like best to read?