Thursday, October 11, 2007

Redeeming the Dark Hero

by Christine Wells

Dark, tortured heroes--don't we love them? Heathcliff, Rochester, Jervaulx, Anna Campbell's Kylemore, any of Anne Stuart's bad, beautiful boys. The worse our hero is, the more we love it when a good woman brings him to his knees.

I've learned a lot from screenwriting experts lately. There was that lightbulb moment from Debra Williamson, who swung by the lair recently and talked about irony, among other things. And today, while listening to a lecture about character arc from Michael Hauge, all my vague ideas about redeeming the dark hero clicked into place.

Have you ever heard someone disparage a redemption story because 'people just don't change'? That attitude was one I struggled with when writing Scandal's Daughter. I had an irresponsible rake as a hero and I had to redeem him by the end. But I, also, believe that people don't change.
It got me thinking, if I believe people can't change, why, then, do redemption stories work for me? How do we, as writers, make them believable?

Michael Hauge talks about a character's identity, the mask he or she shows the world, as opposed to his essence, who he really is, or who he could be if he lived up to his potential. It's that essence which the heroine sees and it's that essence the author sets about exhuming, step by step, throughout the book. When he is redeemed at the end, the hero has not changed fundamentally. He has become the man he was always meant to be.

So, who is your favourite tortured hero? What made you like him, despite his bad boy attitude?

64 comments:

Kirsten said...

Christine, great post! And last week I listened to Michael Hauge on CD and absolutely loved it. He really has an incredible way of nailing the essence of the story and the character arcs.

You know, I like bad boys, but I'm not a devotee like some others. They're closely related, but I'm more drawn to the stoic, wounded hero than the bad boy. Does the name Wulfric ring any bells? :-) He's right up there with my all time favorite heros.

Same issue, though, as to how you redeem Wulf. Maybe the reason I don't love the bad boys as much is that I do have a hard time believing they will really change. The key, as you said, is that the core has to be there, all along. The author's job is to give you enough tidbits as you go to see what is the character's essense, underneath all that bad boy posturing. And Mary Balogh of course nails that perfectly with Wulf, through six books where he suffers loneliness and does good deeds, even while maintaining his incredibly cold facade.

Kirsten said...

Do I win something for beating the Aussies to the board this morning? ;-)

Caren Crane said...

Christine, I love tortured heroes! My vote goes to Martin Blank, John Cusack's character in "Grosse Pointe Blank". I know, it's not a literary hero, but you must admit Martin was very tortured.

Martin's vulnerability was evident in his refusal of the call (going home), his nostalgia for his childhood home (now a convenience store), his torment over his mother's slide into senility. Even his own "moral flexibility", which had allowed the government to train him as an assasin, was something that made you ache for him.

Watching him realize he could be more than what his nature and training told him he was, was a real pleasure for me. I wanted to be Minnie Driver. I wanted to help him become the man he was never allowed to be! *sigh*

Cassondra said...

Christine!

What a wonderful observation. I think I'd love to hear/read that stuff you're into at this moment. Our dear Foanna has recently been doing email therapy with me about emotional honesty in writing (which I strive for) and this flows right into that I think. Redemption/Salvation is a theme that seems to run through my stories whether I want it there or not! :0/

It's all a path, isn't it? Becoming our best "selves" and I guess that's what character arc is--the realization that what we are at any moment is not what we're meant to be--that it's baggage behavior.

I was thinking about the hero from SEP's Ain't She Sweet as I was reading your blog. The moment he falls to his knees in front of Sugar Beth--when she says "Facts don't change." And he says "How we see them does." The moment in his kitchen after her planned demise when he looks up at her when she's pushed through everything he could throw at her and thinks something along the lines of "What kind of fool tries to break a spirit like that?" And he realizes the shallowness of his need for revenge...

I loved Scovy in Scandal's Daughter too. He appealed to me, though, as much for his goodness, which always peeked through the dark outer shell for me, as his darkness. You were brilliant at those subtleties. That friendship-first relationship between hero and heroine makes that a keeper for me. I so seldom see that in a story.

My favorite darkest, most tortured hero of recent reads is, indeed, Kylemore, because you just can't get much darker I don't think. Or at least I can't with my heroes and still redeem them. But then I don't have Foanna's skill at writing them. ;0) Or yours. Heavy sigh.

doglady said...

Kirsten should get the prize for beating the Aussies to the board. And I have to agree with you about Wulfric. SIGH He is one of my favorite heroes. And oh, Cassondra, I totally agree with you about Kylemore. He is such a complicated, dark, hero and I think he and Verity actually redeem each other. Another of my favorites is Sebastian / St. Vincent from Devil in Winter. He was such a selfish, wasted cad, immoral and unconcerned on the surface, but with Evie he discovered who he really was. I think the key is to show that the dark hero COULD go completely into the dark without the help of a good woman. Then it is believable.

Joan said...

Love your post, Christine.

I don't know that I can recollect a specific tortured hero (for me, tortured and wounded blend together). Anna C's Klyemore is an EXCELLENT recent example. An I remember Cian from Karen Marie Moning's "Spell of the Highlander".

Your own Sebastian tried SO hard to maitain his facade of rake when in actually he was self torturing himself over events he had had no control over.

There is something primal and sensual about a heroine possessing some missing link, some special gift that will ONLY help this one particualr hero. Her essense healing his....

Excuse me...must go write...

Gillian Layne said...

Ah, Wulf. He makes my heart melt.

I agree with doglady (Hi Louisa!) Love is what allows the goodness in him to overshadow the dark side. It's the same for almost anyone; in certain situations, we could all be as sweet or as evil as we need to be.

Kirsten said...

Thanks Doglady! :-) Now I have to see what prize I can wrangle up.

Have any of you Aussies ever heard of a book called "A Town Like Alice"? A friend of mine is listening to it on tape, and we had a long drive yesterday so I got to hear a part. It's from the 50s, and the part I listened to had the hero and heroine on Green Island checking out the Reef. My friend got the book because he thought it was a war story, which it was in part, but the last half is pure romance...

Cassondra said...

Kirsten,

Oops for your friend, if he wasn't expecting it. But maybe we'll have a convert! (grin)

Cassondra said...

Oh, and Kirsten, when I logged on (early this morning cuz I'm doing taxes--Ugh--Gack!)NOBODY had commented. I thought I was about to be first poster--which would be the first time EVAH for this night owl--ah, but it was not to be. You were typing as I was typing. :0)

Still, I'm way up the list from my usual afternoon awake state.

Kirsten said...

Maybe next time, Cassondra! I'm usually up at 5:30 PCT, so if you can manage to be on the board by 8AM EST, you can do it! :-)

Claudia Dain said...

I'm going to echo Caren on the Martin Blank vote. Amazing character and made more so, imho, because it was all handled with such a light touch. We feel for the guy, but with a smile on our faces.

I keep thinking about my own books and am astonished to realize that half the time I do a tortured hero and the other half a tortured heroine. Huh. I wonder why? It hasn't been intentional. Just fair play at work?

MsHellion said...

Any of the heroes from Sherrilyn Kenyon's books...tortured!--but I love them.

I love the Beauty & the Beast fantasy in my books. Even though I too don't believe people change. But I eat them up like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, even though I know better.

I can't resist. *swoons*

Kate Carlisle said...

Christine, this is a fascinating post! Michael Hauge came to our local chapter recently and I really enjoyed his talk about the essence of a character buried under layers of false personality and bravado. It's always so satisfying to see the layers peeled off!

As far as favorite irredeemable rakes, your Sebastian is high on the list, along with Donna's (and Mrs. Brimley's) Nicholas and Anna's Kylemore. Clearly, our brilliant Bandita authors have nailed the bad boy hero.

Umm, did that sound right? LOL

Cassondra said...

Claudia wrote:

I keep thinking about my own books and am astonished to realize that half the time I do a tortured hero and the other half a tortured heroine. Huh. I wonder why? It hasn't been intentional. Just fair play at work?

That's interesting. I do this too. And I hadn't thought about it either. Though in the most recent manuscript, they're both tortured--that's gonna take a bit of skill building to pull off I think.

Caren, into the Hero's Journey at the moment are we? (grin) I think I could read that a gazillion times and not absorb all it's layers.

Claudia Dain said...

Well, let's talk about this, Cassondra. Let's get Deep. *G* Don't both the hero and heroine have to be tortured or dark or have some issue or other to some degree for the story to work? I mean, one can be Super Issued Out, but if the other one is all Sweet Goodness, isn't that boring? Weird? Out of balance?

Of course, that's just me. I don't gravitate towards books where the hero is dark and the heroine is so darling that she cures him or rescues him or whatever. I like them to be more in sync, more equal players on a level field.

I think this is a very popular fantasy, btw, it's just not *my* fantasy.

Nancy said...

Christine--

A fascinating post! My favorite bad-boy hero is Bronte's Heathcliff. He's pretty bad, but he doesn't seem to be as bad as he tries to be.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Part of the draw of the bad boy for me is, they don't believe they deserve a good woman. So they try hard to thrust her away to the point that it nearly kills them. Then they realize they can't live without them...ah...sigh. Zadist is this one for me, and then there's half a dozen of Sherrilyn's heroes!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Oh and technically, Christine is an Aussie so no one really beat them today. Of course I work tonight, so maybe I can tomorrow!!

hehehe

Terry Stone said...

Two of my favorite tortured souls have been mentioned, Heathcliff and Wulfric. Those names are enough to make the inner teenager sigh with bliss.

I think the thing that draws me to tortured/injured hero's is the scene from Bronte's Wuthering Heights where Catherine dies and Heathcliff is beating himself against a tree in grief. To me, it showed that Heathcliff wasn't as evil and unredeemable as he wanted everyone to think. There was such a beauty in that scene that to this day brings a tear to my eyes and causes a long heartfelt sigh.

And I have to tell you, I JUST found a copy of Anna's CTC!! And it was the last copy on the shelf. I have been wanting this book since before it's release, and when I finally saw it on the shelf I gave a shriek that had my teenage kids gaping at me and then running in the opposite direction as fast as they could go! I cannot wait to sit down and devour this book.

(Hello to Gillian and Louisa)

Susan Seyfarth said...

Christine, I LOVE a good tortured hero. And I think you're absolutely right--it's not that they're bad, it's just that they're not living up to their best selves. It takes a heroine to draw that out. :-)

As for bad boys I can't help but love? I have a thing for Christopher Moltisanti, from the Sopranos. You know, Tony's nephew/cousin? Adrianna's man? I don't know if this counts, as he doesn't get redeemed at all, but it's so heartbreaking the way he tries (and fails) to rise above his background & circumstances. The spark of a better man is there --he's a loyal & honorable soldier, & loves so deeply. There's a great scene where Tony, his boss/mentor/idol, disparages him in front of a rival & Christopher forces himself (out of love for Tony, I'm sure) to laugh it off. But then they cut to a scene of him driving home alone afterwards, thinking about the betrayal & welling up. Oh, it's heart breaking, & any heroine worth her salt would find a way to save him. :-)

Susan

p.s. That said, however, Wulfric IS extremely hot. I sped through all those Bedwyn books falling more in love with Wulf with every one. Wouldn't know you his book would be LAST??

Anna Campbell said...

Shame, Shame, Shame! I've let a US Bandita beat an Aussie to the poll commenting spot! It's like losing the America's Cup! Kirsten, congratulations on your win. You do deserve a prize.

Christine, great post. As I think is painfully obvious, I love a good tortured hero. Although I always need to see a faint glimmer of redeemability in him for me to stick with him. Just the tiniest gleam of light amongst all the darkness. My favorites? Oh, man, how long have you got? Going right back to the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. Francis Crawford in the Lymond series - the ultimate tortured hero. Heathcliff. I was so madly in love with him when I was about 16! Mr. Rochester. Jervaulx. In fact, all Laura Kinsale's heroes are what I'd call tortured, sometimes literally! J.R. Ward's vamps - sexy, intense, brave and tortured, what else does a girl want?

And thank you for mentioning Kylemore in such august company. And thanks, Cassondra, Pam, Joan and Kate for including him in your lists too! He's definitely DARK! ;-) Terry, delighted you finally found CTC!

Helen said...

Kylemore is my favourite tortured hero he had been tortured for so long but I always felt there was something about him that could change with the right person to help and Verity was that person, I am halfway thru Donna's book at the moment and Nicholas is a rake according to most people but he is treating Emma with so much understanding that he will defiantly be a wonderful hero by the time I get to the end which should be today and look what Scovey went thru to redeem himself for Gemma.
There is always something that the tortured hero does thru a book even if it is small, some kindness that shows thru little things that make me feel the understanding and love they have in them.
Have Fun
Helen

AndreaW said...

Couldn't agree more with Kylemore....Anna did a fabulous job with him. Some of my faves are Julian Kane from Teresa Medeiros's The Vampire Who Loved Me, Chapel from Kathryn Smith's Be Mine Tonight, Derek Craven from Lisa Kleypas's Dreaming of You...

I'll have to ponder this some more.

~Andrea

Caren Crane said...

I can't believe no one has mentioned Bentley from Liz Carlyle's The Devil You Know. We first meet him in Beauty Like the Night, where he is a rakehell of the worst sort. By the time we get to Bentley's book, he seems irredeemable. But my heart broke for him! Poor Bentley. So misunderstood!

Christine Wells said...

Sorry to come in so late! I had my one year old's birthday yesterday and the adults stayed up celebrating long after the birthday boy went to bed. After a few glasses of Pinot Noir I'm only glad my post was relatively lucid!

Hee, Kirsten! I think you deserve some sort of prize. I'll have to think about what that might be.

Ah, yes, Wulfric! Sigh. Mary Balogh is a genius.

Christine Wells said...

Caren, I've never seen GPB! I shall rent it when I get Mary Poppins out again. Thanks for the recommendation. I love Minnie Driver, too. Sounds great!

Christine Wells said...

Hey, Cassondra, thanks for saying such lovely things about Scandal's Daughter. Sebastian isn't a dark hero, certainly nothing like Kylemore, but I still had to work out a way to show that he would turn over a new leaf and shoulder the responsibilities that he'd shirked for so long.

Yes, Anna C certainly walked the edge in CTC and pulled off the redemption brilliantly. You're right, FOanna, there always has to be a kernel, just a glimmer of goodness there from the beginning or we don't believe in the redemption.

Christine Wells said...

Doglady, that's a very acute observation, that the hero could go into the dark without the heroine. That uncertainty makes the redemption so much more delicious! Loved Devil in Winter!

Christine Wells said...

Joanie T wrote: Her essense healing his....

Yes! Because I don't like it when a heroine sets out consciously to heal the hero. I think it has to be because of who she is and what she does while pursuing her own life goals and his reaction to that, which changes him. Does that make sense? I don't really like the 'ministering angel' type of heroine. That's one of the reasons I love Verity, because she was wounded too and her journey of discovery also triggered Kylemore's redemption.

Christine Wells said...

Gillian, that's so true. We all have a dark side, we just don't all let him/her come out to play. Another Wulf fan!

Christine Wells said...

Oh, A Town Like Alice is an Australian classic, Kirsten. We've all heard of it! I must shamefacedly admit I haven't read it though. Was it good?

Christine Wells said...

Ha! Claudia! Equal opportunity torturedness. I like that idea. Actually, I LOVE tortured heroines but they're far riskier to do in romance than tortured heroes, don't you think? I wonder if it's because women like to identify with the heroine?

Anna Sugden said...

Great post Christine. Must listen to Michael Hague!

Love the bad boy discussion. In my hockey book Bad Boy, Good Man, my hero's conflict is that he's trying to be a 'good man' to redeem himself for a tragic accident. What he learns through the course of the book is that it's not the external trappings which make him a good man, but what is inside him.

He was inspired by a real hockey 'bad boy' Scott Stevens (I have a bit about him on my website - including when I met him!) who was known for his hard hits and ruthless play, but was/is a great captain, a loyal friend and team-mate and a devoted family man. The dichotomy fascinated me!

Favourite bad boy hero? Ah, there are so many. A lot of the western heroes come to mind though - Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, Butch and Sundance etc etc

Happy birthday to your son - is it really a year?!

Christine Wells said...

Ms Hellion--
You are going to LOVE Anna Campbell's Untouched if you like the Beauty and the Beast theme. Sigh. Can't wait to read it again. (For the third time)

Hee, Kate--
I'd make the obvious comment about 'nailing the bad boy hero' but I'm happily married:)

Christine Wells said...

Claudia, I so agree about wanting the hero and heroine to be equal players. I hate it when the goody two-shoes heroine plays out her 'rescue' fantasy. That's so not me!

Christine Wells said...

Nancy wrote: My favorite bad-boy hero is Bronte's Heathcliff. He's pretty bad, but he doesn't seem to be as bad as he tries to be.

Yes, that can be a good thing. I love Anne Stuart, because her heroes are every bit as bad as they try to be:) She is such a goddess, she still manages to redeem them.

Christine Wells said...

Suz wrote: Oh and technically, Christine is an Aussie so no one really beat them today. Of course I work tonight, so maybe I can tomorrow!!

It *is* America's Cup! Come on, Foanna, we can take these Yanks! We come from the land Downunder...

Christine Wells said...

Oh, Terry, you'll LOVE CTC, especially if you love Heathcliff. Sigh! I love that scene too.

Christine Wells said...

Susan, it's so sexy when a bad boy loves so deeply! You're right, and I think that's the attraction. There's that almost obsessive, possessive quality about such a man that just makes you shiver.

DownUnderGirl said...

Ahhh, A Town Like Alice. As Christine said - an Australian classic. Have read the book several times and adored it. I went through a bit if a Neville Shute stage. On The Beach and Trustee From the Toolroom.

I'm with you Christine, I also got a lot out of Debrah Williamson's interview.

Bad boys - hmm, Robbie Williams fetish, need I say more?

Amy

Christine Wells said...

Foanna, I'm sure no one can tell you anything new about the tortured hero but I'd recommend Hauge's lecture. He put into words a lot of things I'd done instinctively in Scandal's Daughter without analysing why. Sebastian is not a dark hero, but he does need to atone for being an irresponsible rake and show that he won't run away when things get tough. The way I brought out his essence was to throw him into close quarters with a girl who knew him before he was wounded and consequently went off the rails. So I was doing everything Hauge said, I just didn't know it!

Christine Wells said...

Helen, that's so true. We like a lot of wounded heroes for the way they treat the heroine, or for their humour, or the small kindnesses they do when they think no one is looking:) Thanks for dropping in!

Christine Wells said...

AndreaW, I will have to read those books you mentioned. I've only recently begun reading Lisa Kleypas and I love her books! You're so right, Anna Campbell is a genius at redemption! Maybe for a future post, she could tell us how she does it:)

Christine Wells said...

Hi Anna, I LOVE the sound of Bad Boy Good Man and I'm fascinated by the dichotomy of ruthlessness in a chosen field like hockey, with the flipside being loyalty to his team, etc. Love the idea of a sport star being a devoted family man, since so many of them...aren't. It shows real character to withstand temptation like that, what with groupies and all the trappings that come along with stardom.

And yes, it is a year! Time flies:)

Christine Wells said...

Amy! Great to see you here. Robbie Williams? I would never have guessed:)

Cassondra said...

Claudia wrote:

Don't both the hero and heroine have to be tortured or dark or have some issue or other to some degree for the story to work? I mean, one can be Super Issued Out, but if the other one is all Sweet Goodness, isn't that boring? Weird? Out of balance?

You're right. It is boring. I don't know about weird or out of balance. I'm not that well adjusted. ;0)

I think it doesn't read as "real" to me, though, when they're all sweet goodness. They don't read as fully developed, real people--they're Snow White. I love that film, but honestly I like the dwarves with all their foibles and the villainess better than I like Snow White. They're more interesting. (This wasn't true when I was a kid of course, but now? Oh yeah.) When she starts singing and the birds sing with her I kinda want to smack her. Hmmm.

Maybe I could do a workshop. Snow White Needs Smacking--Why your characters should have issues.

Anna Sugden said...

Ahhh Nevil Shute - one of my faves. Town Like Alice is one of my all-time favourite books and TV series. Also loved Trustee from the Toolroom and Requiem for a Wren.

Love the title for your workshop, Christine!

And you know - hockey is one of the few sports which is filled with bad boys who are good men. It's fascinating. *grin*

Cassondra said...

Christine, a one-year-old's birthday party!????

Those are so fun. I don't have kids, but I love the pics of the kids putting their faces in the cake.

My husband's family always gets a special small cake for the baby to mess up, then exploits the poor kid with picture after picture. I don't blame them, but I'm glad there were no pics of me covered with cake for my family to use as blackmail later!

Cassondra said...

Anna wrote:

And you know - hockey is one of the few sports which is filled with bad boys who are good men. It's fascinating. *grin*

Are they really? I'm being honest here. I have no clue. Hockey fans are the worst crowds to control (okay former events coordinator speaking here, and of course Anna, YOU would never behave in those ways. Your shoes are WAY too kickin'--and you can tell a lot about a girl's breeding by good shoes I think ;0) ), but I've never actually been around hockey players. And in South Central Kentucky, we don't even have an ice rink, let alone hockey players, so my experience is only with the Nashville Preds fans.

Cassondra said...

"Breeding."

Ooooo. That sounded terrible. I've been reading entirely too many regencies.

Beth said...

Great post, Christine! I love a tortured hero as long as he shows some signs (even the merest hint) that he can be redeemed *g*

Like Claudia, I tend to have either a tortured hero or heroine. On my WIP I had to rethink my heroine a bit as having two tortured souls was...well, exhausting *g* All of that turmoil was just a bit too much for me to write. While my heroine has a conflict, it's not as seemingly impossible to overcome like my hero's :-)

As for favorite tortured hero, I really loved Ethan in Nora Roberts' Rising Tides. Poor Ethan suffered the most horrendous abuse as a child which made him feel as if he somehow didn't deserve happiness, that his past had tainted him. He was able to overcome his fears in a way that didn't gloss over his pain or what he'd suffered. I found it very powerful.

DownUnderGirl said...

I'm thinking about Greg House as I'm reading the comments. Now there's a geat complex character and great writing.
On the outside totally obnoxious if brilliant physician with a bedside manner that leaves a lot to be desired but you just know there's a wounded man underneath.
And of course Hugh's blue blue eyes don't hurt.

Amy

Anna Campbell said...

Beth, I didn't think of the Chesapeake Quartet by Nora, but you're so right. All those men are so tortured and yet they get this wonderful happy ending. They really are powerful stories. Love them!

Cassondra, I'd go to that workshop! Snork! Just the title alone should guarantee standing room only.

Christine, I don't think redemption stories necessarily have to be life or death things (like CTC!). You did a wonderful character arc with Sebastian.

Actually, I always find it enormously reassuring when I find I've done something instinctually that some guru brings out as a necessary element for a compelling read. I remember wanting to cheer when Donald Maass did his make it worse speech at a workshop. We had our manuscripts with us and we had to open at a random page. I opened on the bit where Verity falls over the cliff. And he kept saying, take it to the limit, make it worse. I'm looking at that situation and thinking, "Um, Donald Babe, things here are about as BAAAAAD as they can be unless I just kill both hero and heroine. And hey, that sort of defeats the purpose! Especially as I'm trying to do a redemption story!"

Thanks, everyone, for saying all those lovely things about my books! Brings a tear to the old eye. Sob...

Joan said...

Louisville had a hockey team for a short time and I took my godson there as a present.

I have to say...despite that obnoxious blaring horn...that I loved it! Especially (ducks head) when they got into fights! Yeah! Get 'em!

Okie Deb said...

Kristen,

If you enjoyed the book A Town Like Alice, be sure to watch the movie.

Released in 1981 and stars Bryan Brown, one of my favorite Aussie actors.

It's a great movie.

Trish Milburn aka Tricia Mills said...

Well, I loved this post as soon as I saw Angel and Buffy together. :) I loved the whole vampire with a soul angle with Angel. Talk about tortured. And I agree with Suz about Zadist, though I have to add V and Phury to the list of J.R. Ward's fabulous dark vamp heroes. Hmm, methinks I see a bloodsucker theme here.

Kirsten said...

Wow, maybe I really was born down under in another life. I'm so proud I found such a cool book (even if it was totally accidental and had nothing to do with me). I did like what I heard. I guess I'll just have to read the whole thing! And see the movie! :-)

Keira Soleore said...

Christine, your post was almost poetic. I loved that the heroine is the one person who draws out of the hero all the potential she sees in him (as he does her).

It's like the role of parents. We're not here to mold clay, but instead provide the environment and nurturing that frees the children to be the people they're meant to be.

Firstly, you have to see the potential. Secondly, you have figure out the best way for the person to discover for himself or herself how to evolve (for lack of a better word). Thirdly, you have to get out of the way of this growing person so that he has the freedom and space to make mistakes, falter, fail, and get back up. Fourthly, you have to be there to guide only when absolutely necessary. And finally, you have to be there at the finishing line cheering as all heck.

Anna Campbell said...

Keira, I LOVE your analysis of being a good parent. You should write a book (well, I know you're writing a book, but a book about parenting). That was fantastic and so true!

Keira Soleore said...

Lisa Kleypas does redemption stories spectacularly well!I adore each and every one of her books.

Teresa Medeiros has a superb "Beauty and the Beast" story.

Claudia, I agree with you. While you can have one character who has more issues (or different ones0 than the other main character, but if one of them has no issues at all, then I find that person tiresome. Too much sweetness and light rings false to me.

V.Anna, the Michael Hague workshops from National are fabulous.

Christine, a big happy birthday to your son. And the first birthday is always for the parents--they survived! :)

Foanna, I can hardly wait for "Untouched." You bet you'll hear the huge YAY from Seattle when I finally set my hands on the book.

Annie West said...

Christine,

Chiming in very late as I just saw your post. Great topic! I've just been talking at another site about fairy tales and it's interesting to see how popular Beauty and the Beast is. Redemption is such a popular theme.

Having just watched Timothy Dalton in the BBC 'Jane Eyre' series I'd have to say his Rochester is a terrific dark hero (much better than in certain other versions which I will not name). Kylemore in 'Claiming the Courtesan' and Dain in 'Lord of Scoundrels' are also faves. I used to love gothic romances where there was a delicious frisson of excitement as you wondered if the hero was actually heroic or a villain! Hm, maybe it's time I read a few more.

Annie

Sami said...

I'm coming in late because I love this topic and was so excited to see Caren mention Martin Blank, one of my absolute favourites. John Cusack does neurotic characters so well, I absolutely love him.

I also love Paul Newman's 'Cool Hand Luke' character and Spike from Buffy the Vampire slayer. I liked him better than Angel because he made me laugh. I like a bit of humour with my torture... yes, I'm a little off centre there...

None of these were literary, sorry!

Keira Soleore said...

Thanks, Foanna, for the compliement. (blushing)