…All over again
Women hear the phrase and shiver delicately as visions of a guy in a leather jacket, a ripping motorbike (or Jeep, if that gets you going) and piercing whatever color eyes spring into their minds. Yeah, not for nothing do we have overactive imaginations and make the world go round with our bodice-ripping scenes.
The quintessential hero of many a romance: dark, brooding, often times mysterious, with an agenda of his own that the heroine gets to discover really late in the game and…let’s say it, an ass that just won’t quit. Heathcliff, Kaleb Krychek (Ok, I admit it. I LOVE Kaleb. I LOVE HIM), Sebastian St.Vincent, Derek Craven, Cian McKenna and Roarke are just a few examples of these less-than-upstanding men. But the way they love is, in the words of another bad boy Leo Ramsey “like a madman who won’t stop till he dies.”
I know. Sigh.
The guilty pleasure that every romance reader looks for because if THAT bad boy can be tamed by THAT good girl, then so can mine if/when I find him.
My aim in breaking down this hero is not to objectify him (ok, not consciously) but to make it absolutely clear that when it comes to the opposite sex, we women are probably guilty of far more literary transgressions than men.
I haven’t written anything substantial this whole year. A variety of factors contributed to this fact, first of which is my preoccupation with doing well at my workplace. The secondary but equally important reason was, I had no one to write about. Yeah, I started a lot of cool stories and abandoned them all (Shilpa Suraj knows more about these) and nothing fit. Nothing stuck.
Nothing made my brain catch fire and the scenes to start showing up like my own personal movie screen inside my head and my fingers to dance over the keyboard till they ached. I, unlike Shilpa and a lot of other totally talented romance writers, need a muse. A living, flesh and blood man who makes me sit up and take notice of him and compel me to write him (TVD fans, pun totally intended!)
About two weeks ago after NaNoWriMo ended, I started my last attempt at finishing something this year. This novel has gone through a lot of iterations and the heroine just about refused to meet the hero making it IMPOSSIBLE for me to write her. After all, what good is she without having the chemistry of a good-looking, sexy, totally relatable man to play off of?
Things started moving along. And my hero showed up, FINALLY! And he was…blue-eyed. I know, y’all are thinking, you wrote him, woman, you can make his eyes go any color you want: But have you ever had those moments where your hand moves of its own volition over the keyboard without you being aware of it and the words just show up onscreen? I mean that in a totally non-creepy way, of course. So yeah, Blue Eyes, showed up for me.
And bang, a light went on in my head. Of COURSE, that made sense (to my feverish, writing-addled brain).
And then, I started rewatching The Vampire Diaries, because well…yeah, I do stuff like that in my spare time. To my folks, I explain it as doing research but really, it’s just super fun watching TV. The stories, the characters, the HOT men all make my brain buzz happily and sometimes (like now) even provide dazzling, undeniable inspiration.
Enter Damon Salvatore.
The Bad Boy with fangs who makes regular women go weak in the knees. AND, he is blue-eyed, if you don’t believe me. He is a total badass who is intent on causing trouble, looks out only for himself and has absolutely zero patience with the heroine.
He also saves her every single time she needs to be saved.
And, his evolution from small town villain to hero is so gradual, so unconscious that by the time he figures out he is in love with the heroine, you’re rooting for him to get the girl instead of cursing him back to hell. (He is a vampire, he can literally be sent there).
I have written a couple different heroes in Krivi and Brandon and The Last Time’s Abeer Goswami is nothing short of the Good Guy Next Door (more Stefan than Damon for all you TVD fans) and he was a lot of fun to write in his own sweet, unassuming but totally with a steel trap mind hot way. I even wrote a few other versions of the Good Guy Next Door mixed with Alpha Male guy and yet…like I said, nothing fit.
Not until this Bad Boy showed up and showed me how it’s done. And this is what I came up with.
“No.” He stepped closer and placed his hands on my arm. Exactly where he had clutched at me. My skin hurt at the slight contact under the sweatshirt I wore. “I did it to protect you. You are…nothing. You have no connections, no influence whatsoever. You wouldn’t have been able to survive what Jeeva and Vanshikha would have done to you.”
“I am not NOTHING,” I whispered, tears welling up in my eyes. My nose was red and my face was numb and my eyes looked deranged and still I had tears left to cry.
It was unbelievable, but there were still levels of hurt that I could feel when he spoke.
“I am being honest here,” he shot back. “And you don’t want to hear it. That’s fine. But someone had to think clearly. Make the hard choices. And make sure you were safe from them both.”
“So you did all this for me?”
He nodded. Slowly. One tear rolled down my cheek and I couldn’t stop it.
Now, I sit in the middle of work and dream of writing him. Resenting work, resenting eating and sleeping and wishing that it was logoff time already so I could basically write him.
I know my fellow writers will agree with me: It’s the best place to be. Isn’t it, y’all?
Till next time,
Image Credit: Beniceorleave/Google
Video Credit: YouTube