I was posting out on Twitter and Facebook tonight, bemoaning the fact that yet another set of characters has reared their heads and demanded to be written. This book will take some research, like they all do, but even so, the words are flowing out of my fingers at a pace I don't dare interrupt. When I'm inspired like that, I tend to write like gangbusters, getting as many as 25K words down in a week. Problem is, I have a book I REALLY want (and need) to finish, but it's just not calling to me. The reason being is that my hero is too nice.
Yup, you heard that right. My hero is too nice. He's basically a good guy. Nothing wrong with that, but when I write, a good guy is not who I'm looking for. If you've read any of my books, you know that my heroes tend to be, well, assholes. At least that's how they come off to the heroine. Yet, somehow, she sees behind the jerkface façade to the man underneath. And basically, he's an honorable guy. So why am I having such trouble with the hero who's the honorable guy from the start?
Couple things I suppose. The fantasy of "taming the bad boy" lurks in many women's hearts. Because who doesn't want to be the one who makes him fall in love to the point he'd risk everything he is and has to make her happy? Make him see being the honorable guy in himself is acceptable. Isn't that what romance is all about?
But here's the other issue – this nice hero is boring me. He was fun at first, but he quickly became bland to me. I've gone back and tried to make him darker, but it's simply not working. Even when he's being dominating (cause ALL my heroes are), he's not daunting enough. I don't necessarily want him to be evil, or innately cruel, but he has to have something in his past that makes him behave somewhat "un-heroically" at times. He has what he believes is a reason to behave the way he does. Because if he doesn't have that reason, and realize at some point that reason may no longer be valid, how can he learn from his mistakes and be redeemed? Right?
My heroes, for all of their meanness, always feel some sort of remorse for their actions, even if they stubbornly refuse to let that regret guide them at whatever moment. The heroine is the one who ensures he learns what he needs to. She teaches him that it's all right to forgive, accept, admit mistakes. And sometimes, she encourages him, or helps him, take brutal action against his enemies. Showing him that sometimes, being a jerk is perfectly acceptable!
What do you think? Jerks or nice guys?