As is my norm, I’m beginning this post with a little MAN candy for all you MANhandlers out there. Someday I’m going to write a post that simply takes all my delicious photos, posts them in one entry and takes a poll to find out who you all like most. Until then, feast your lovely eyes to the left.
This blog post was remarkably hard to write. The dark heroine I wanted to write is one I can’t discuss because her story line was truly just revealed in a recent release. If you read what I wanted to talk about, it would have ruined it. So who to write about? I tossed characters around in my head until BAM! This particular woman knocked me to my knees for my stupidity. Who is she? Xhex from JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB). Now, yes, I did actually write about another BDB character earlier, but this is different, I assure you. And yes, I am slightly obsessed with the BDB. Moving along…
Xhex is a kick-ass heroine who features in the books from almost the beginning of the series. An empath, she experiences others’ emotions and essentially feeds off of/gets her thrills from them. Suppressing her nature is something she struggles with, not unlike a drug addict might struggle with managing the craving for his next hit. To complicate things, Xhex works in a bar where emotions (particularly violence and lust) run rampant. Her job essentially provides her a nightly smorgasbord of emotions to feast on. It would be like putting a diabetic with a sweet tooth in front of a dessert buffet with all his favorites night after night. Eventually, something’s going to give.
Xhex is a complex character who has a variety of layers. This is the most appealing thing about dark heroes and heroines for me. They aren’t born to lead or save the damsel (or knight) in distress, and they are chock full of prickly characteristics–some hard to take and some flat out impossible to accept. But in there, inside that hard character, is a person waiting for redemption.
I often find it easier to relate to darker heroes and heroines because of their flaws. The perfect character is, to me, difficult to buy in to. She feels false, poorly fabricated even, and it makes it very difficult for me to slip into her shoes and walk that proverbial mile. But give me a heroine who can’t change the fact she has commitment issues due to a dark past or is unable to accept affection because she doesn’t feel worthy and you’ve usually grabbed my brain and dragged it into your story.
How do writers create characters like these? It’s not easy. These characters can, and often do, require a more complex, layered back story that gives the author both breadth and depth of flaws and emotions to draw from. It takes a plausible back story for the reader to accept the character as presented. The character has to have flaws and emotions delivered in a way that leaves the reader not only rooting for redemption, but also believing it’s possible. I know my anti-heroes and heroines have been the most challenging, and most fun, to write. Time will tell if I’ve done them justice.
So what about you? Who’s your ultimate anti-heroine? I could use some suggestions that can be used for character studies. She can be from literature, movies, television–your choice. I can’t wait to get your recommendations!
Today I’m handing over to my awesome friend and critique partner Amy Ruttan, who’s talking about one of her favorite dark heroes. Take it away, Amy!
I want to thank Anya Richards, my awesome CP, for having me here. I was invited, I was told. You have to do a blog post on Darker Temptations about a dark hero; it doesn’t have to be a hero from a book either.
Being the *good* little girl I am I said “Okay” just like Guido from that movie Cars.
I love dark heroes. There’s just something about them that excites me. They’re not that stereotypical bad guy, which I don’t like. There’s a certain mystery about dark heroes. What made them so dark?
When I was going through some of my favourite dark heroes *Zsadist* I knew I had to do the first dark hero I ever fell in love with.
I’ve heard a lot of naysaying about him, like “He’s a crazy sadistic, stalker, murderer dude.”
Okay, sure, but he’s a broken soul. Scarred and unloved. All he loves is Christine Daae.
The moment the Phantom walked out onto the stage back in 1992 when I first saw it, in Toronto at the Pantages theatre with Colm Wilkinson I fell head over heels in love. I hate Raoul. Still hate that pretty boy to be honest.
And at the end of the opera, when she leaves him for Raoul, but come back one final time to kiss him *fans self* swoon. My husband knows if he wants to get me in the mood fast he just has to put on the Phantom with Gerard Butler.
*ahem* Sorry I know, TMI.
Gerard didn’t have the voice range that Colm did, but DAYUM, even with half his face horrifically scarred he is mighty fine. That scene from Past the Point of No Return gets me hot under the collar all the time.
I wanted to know more about the Phantom. Where did he come from? What happened to his face? This is why I’m so fascinated and attracted to him. What made him the way he is and how can I heal him? 😉
Not much is known about the Phantom at all, other than his name is Erik and a few snippets from this song:
This face, which earned a mother’s fear and loathing…
A mask, my first unfeeling scrap of clothing…
Even though Christine left the Phantom, his love for her remained true. He left her alone, but watched from afar. True to her, even though rich annoying pretty boy got her, he remained faithful even placing the rose on her grave years later.
The musical made such an impression on me, I was 14 at the time, I wrote copious amounts of fan fiction and would act out the musical in my room, alone, singing to the tape I bought from the souvenir stand.
It also helped fan the flames of my burgeoning romance writing career. No I don’t write about stalker/murders with half melted faces …but I’ve been tempted! >:)
It’s safe to say that The Phantom is my first ever dark romance hero.