Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Where, Oh Where, Have My Heroes Gone?

Usually, it's my heroes who come to me fully formed. I never have much trouble imagining the guys I want to write about. I know what they look like. I have an idea of their professions. I already have in mind the events of their past that have loaded them up with the baggage that will require the heroine to unload before she gets her man. Heroes are easy for me.

It's the heroines that give me grief. I think this is because they all end up sound too much alike. I figure this is because I'm a woman, and it's much harder to break away from what I myself am like to create women unlike me than it is to invent men, who are completely foreign entities without any stretch of my mind. With men, I can let my fantasies and wildest imaginings play out because there is nothing inside of me to tell me how stupid I'm being. With women, I have that little voice saying "You'd never spend $1,400 on a pair of shoes/have a one night stand with a total stranger/think having ten kids would be heaven on Earth/go downstairs to the deserted and very creepy boiler room to investigate that odd noise which may or may not be your evil cousin coming to kidnap and force you into marriage, knowing that there's a big, handsome hunk o' man waiting to rescue you."

So, what's really weird for me right now is having come up with an idea for a paranormal book and having no less than five female characters walking around the story already with nary an idea for any heroes. Honestly. I have five heroines just waiting to meet their men. But the guys? They are standing against the wall across the room, refusing to get on the floor and dance.

I have some names. I have some broad, general background in terms of world-building and the paranormal aspect of things. But I can't come up with any details. These guys are robots at this point. I'm floundering!

Anyway, I do have some good real-life examples for villains. You know, the bad guys who have motivation behind their evil deeds instead of just acting evil to move the story along? Well, maybe not good motivation, mind you, but presumably something other than reasons to twirl his mustache. I have my suspicions on that, though.

Specifically, I'm talking the lovely Bill Napoli, Republican state senator of South Dakota, who handily redefined unacceptable rape (warranting an approved abortion for any resulting pregnancies) for anyone confused by the concept. See, he's not all bad because he does have compassion for at least the miniscule percentage of unfortunate women who were truly raped and deserving of compassion, even if he believes the other 99% of rape victims probably deserve whatever they get and can just drive outside the state borders to get the help they might need in the case of a resultant pregnancy. It's that sliver of compassion that keeps old Bill from being that two-dimensional cardboard cut out villian that populate so many a-bad bodice ripper. I'm sure he also has a dog. That goes a long way in making the villain sympathetic, or so I hear. Perhaps Bill better head over to the local ASPCA and plan on adopting their entire inventory.

Strange that I would have to look no further than two states west and two states north to find a creepy, misogynistic tyrant bent on subverting women to the role of broodmares and mindless servants incapable of making their own decisions in regards to their bodies. I would have thought I'd have to travel overseas to invent such a man. It's like finding a Nazi sex offender living in your own neighborhood. Nothing could be creepier than that, proving that reality is far sicker than any fiction.

And because the state government of South Dakota which houses guys like Bill Napoli deserves all the crap we can give it, check out this from Spittle & Ink (which is hilarious) and this by Molly Ivens (which is spot on). Thanks to Smart Bitches and Storytelling for providing these links.

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