Sunday, November 06, 2005
So I had a comment on my hero's development when Storm Warning was rejected by Harlequin Intrigue, hence my buying Tami Cowden et al's archetype book.
OK--so my Hero, Ben, is both a Lost soul (think Angel/Mulder) & a Warrior (Braveheart), with a layered archetype--just like John Rambo in First Blood. Now that doesn't mean my hero is a cookie cutter image of Rambo--far from it, but they share a lot of the same classic characteristics. (Can you tell I've been reading lots--in between getting on my hands and knees in the shower??)
I think I made my mistake by
1) not making his lost soul history clear right from the start. He was a bastard child raised in a strongly Catholic household by a bitter grandfather who verbally abused his wife and daughter and grandson. So Ben withdrew inwardly, became a target for bullies, though he gave as good as he got. Now he just wants to be left alone, and isolates himself from feelings and aches for what he cannot have. According to Tami et al., that makes him perfect for being an undercover cop (Good--Ben's undercover DEA :)).
2) My second mistake was not making his Warrior instincts obvious. This guy is avenging his dead partner and prepared to do whatever it takes to finish off the bad guys. I need to show his resolve in some definable way.
3) Then there's the transition from tortured soul to redeeemed hero, which was too fast--IMO. So what if he falls for some good looking chick? What's she going to give him that he hasn't had for the last 35 years?? What would make a man like him, believe in a woman like her???
I know the answers, but I'm not sure they made it from my tiny brain to the manuscript. So that's what I have to work on next.
This book is giving me some nice insights into what makes my characters tick. Next time I'm going to start with a basic archetype, before I write the story. Basically it is a method for helping you, help your reader, to identify with your characters early on--isn't that one of the goals we need to achieve?
And then I have a couple of structural issues to address--apart from the shower that is!!