MFRW blog prompt: “As a reader, what attracts you most to a character?”
From literature to film, I am most intrigued by male characters who are psychologically damaged – yet not beyond redemption. I like the outcast or scoundrel who might be concealing a softer side (Han Solo, anyone?). I like complicated antiheroes capable of redemption (How about Anne Rice’s Lestat?). These men come in many different packages. They might be handsome and charming in the conventional way. Or they may hide behind snark to conceal their insecurities (Severus Snape?). No matter the genre or medium – novel, film, or TV – I want to see men who are imperfect and flawed, their facades concealing more than meets the eye.
As for women, make them strong, assertive, and confident. I want to see (or read about) The Walking Dead‘s Michonne kicking ass and getting the hero – even if the ass-kicking itself is metaphorical rather than literal – or Katniss Everdeen with with her bow. This desire is why I wrote so many strong female characters into my debut novel, The Infiltrator – probably the only female-dominated zombie novel ever written – while I portrayed male characters as more prone to emoting than the women. I wanted it to bend gender stereotypes (as well as bend genres). Also, I simply enjoy writing about broken, fucked-up men.
My character preferences for damaged men and strong women can be seen in my current WIP as well, which is also a dystopian romance featuring two empaths whose mental battles are sexually charged. For this novel I chose to use several tropes including fated mates and enemies to lovers – and even a couple I might have made up (is fuck or die a thing?).
Excerpt from my as-yet-untitled WIP:
She closed her eyes. Centered the surging energy. Felt the pressure behind her eyes once more, imagined it flowing outward. She could almost see it. See where she needed to center it. She focused on his mind. Felt his resistance, as solid as a steel wall. All she needed was a crack, a small way in, then all she had to do was squeeze—
She screamed at the effort, and for an instant—just an instant—she felt his barrier bow beneath her assault. With a heave, she pushed once more, felt the fissure form. And then she was in. Just as she concentrated the energy and began to squeeze, she was bombarded by images: A small boy with dark hair crouched in a corner. And a woman crying—
Jahnna was yanked up suddenly by her wrists. Her eyes snapped open as she was shoved violently out of his mind once more, the connection severed. He was angry, but he was also…she didn’t know what he was. She knew he could hurt her if he wanted to, but he was just staring at her, breathing heavily through his nose. Oddly, she thought he might kiss her. If he did, she would bite him—hard enough to make him bleed.
Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts? What kind of characters do you like to read about?
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I agree about strong, confident heroines–they’re my favorite–as a reader and as a writer. if that’s gender-bending, then fine. I write what I like to read. Hopefully I’m not the only one to enjoy reading about females who can stand on their own two feet–but who enjoy a good roll in the hay!
I’m sure you’re not the only one! And YES – I love women who are confident in the bedroom as well and not shy about what they want!
For some reason, I like the “damaged” character to be the male. Don;t know why. Maybe because that brings an inborn sense of vulnerability? I enjoyed your post a lot!
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Thank you so much for stopping by! I’m glad you enjoyed it!