Monday, January 27, 2014

Bad Boys vs. Nice Guys (again)

The weather has gone roller coaster on us again, which isn't helping the ongoing sniffles/cough. 70s yesterday, 30s today. I will spend much of the day burrowed under a blanket, trying to plot the rest of the book I've been working on.

I need to make a slight amendment to the post griping about the traditional gothic. If the heroines were real people, I should say that they shouldn't be obligated to go for the nice guys just because they're nice. Really, "reliable" and "not a potential abuser" should be a baseline for romantic partners. There's a lot of other stuff that goes into attraction, and not every nice guy is going to be someone who attracts every woman. I am alarmed, though, that these heroines always seem to go for guys who don't even meet that baseline. But since these heroines aren't real people and are written by authors, I do find it interesting that the authors aren't willing to pair their heroines up with men who meet a certain minimum standard of decency. I suppose it might be that old idea about the bad boys being more interesting, but then we've got a chicken-and-egg situation -- have writers always written things that way because that's what readers like, or have readers been programmed to like this because that's the way it always goes?

It comes back to some of the stuff I said last fall about a convention panel on bad boys: If your good guy is boring, it's not because he's good. It's because you haven't done a good job of writing him. Defaulting to the bad boy because he's more interesting is lazy writing. It's easy to make the bad boy complex and interesting. You've got real chops if you can do that for someone who isn't always crossing the line and who's trying to do the right thing.

Now to go plot the rest of a book involving a cop who's such a nice-guy straight arrow that his nickname is "Rev" (as in "the reverend") and whose colleagues at the precinct instituted a fine for anyone who swears in his presence. He's given up protesting, since the fine jar is used to buy lunch every so often.

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