Monday, October 09, 2006

Love Those Bad Boys! But What is Too Bad?

Not too long ago, I won a critique from a well-known author and when I received her comments back, I had expected some deep insights on the pluses and minuses of my WIP. She didn’t let me down. Some I agreed with and some I didn’t. One that we didn’t see eye-to-eye on was whether or not my hero was redeemable.

I’m sure you’re wondering what did he do that was so terrible? He was an assassin. No. He wasn’t CIA. Nope. Not even a secret agent of any type. He was a hitman. A hired gun. A bad man.

As a young man, others had realized how talented he was with a rifle. Circumstances push him into using that skill to make a living until the day he receives a contract to kill his dad. No way can he do that! His love-hate relationship with his dad never meant he wanted the old man dead. Weighed down with guilt from his past lethal jobs, he decides to end his life by allowing his enemies to catch up with him. Before they discover his location, he meets the heroine. An introvert living on the edge of life, she needs a man to show her how sexy she truly was beneath her baggy clothes. He figures he’s the man for job. Besides, he owes the fates one good deed before he dies.

Think of My Fair Lady meets the Sopranos.

Anyway, I believe he’s redeemable. By pointing out the men he’d killed had been drug pushers (contracts from other drug pushers) and other scum of the earth. Plus he never kills once he meets the heroine. I refused to take the easy way out by giving him a badge.

I guess the reason I feel he’s redeemable is all based on my faith. My faith teaches me that everyone is redeemable once they’ve learned the errors of their ways. Along with a couple of other important points I won’t get into as this blog is for writing.

So my questions are: Do you still love bad boys? How bad is too bad? What is your favorite type of bad boy?


Deborah Matthews said...

I've always loved pirates and other bad boys in my fiction--never in real life. Yet, I do have a problem with truly bad men like contract killers. Yes, they can be redeemed, but maybe it's because they start out as less than heroic.

They've been advertising a tv show that the star character is a serial killer. Yet, he only kills bad people that escape being caught by the police. Personally, I don't think that negates he's still a serial killer.

That's what's so wonderful about the romance genre. There's something for everyone.

Christy said...

Yes, I love the bad boys. I've never known any in real life, but in fiction, my oh my...

Are some things not redeemable? In real life, based on my beliefs, no. However, in fiction, it's harder. Whether we mean to or not, as we read, we're judging people, not only based upon our belief system, but how heroic we expect the characters to be. We may accept flaws in real life people that we refuse to accept in our fictional heroes.

I think it just depends on how well you motivate your characters and how you redeem them. If I see character reformed, deeply sorry and remorseful for his behavior, as well as tenderness toward the heroine, you've sold me.

It's hard, but it can be done. And isn't it fun?