Monday, June 20, 2011

Girly-man! Hear Me Now and Believe Me Later! (Revisited from 9/12/07)

Yes, I loved Hans and Franz on Saturday Night Live. So funny, especially when The Arnold came on the show. Anyway, what I want to talk about is the growth of our characters.

As most of us know, each major player in our book must grow in some way before we can type THE END. We can show their growth several ways. Yes. You’re right. Another list from Carla. I’ve been a good girl for a while and it’s that time again.

1) By learning to love. That one is used more often for the male characters than for females. The character could be nursing a broken heart caused by a minor character or the other major player in the story. Maybe her childhood was horrible or someone in his life had a tragic accident and he refused to try to love again.

One of my favorite books, SARA’S CHILD by Linda Howard, has a hero whose wife and children died in a car accident. He struggles not to love his dead wife’s best friend. When they marry and she becomes pregnant, he refuses to acknowledge the child. I cried and cried the first time I read that book. Of course, it has the HEA. That’s why it’s a keeper.

2) By learning to trust. Another great one for romance. Often this is used with number one. The character’s betrayed by a mother, father, best friend, or past love. Money stolen, left for dead, or that broken heart.

I’m sure if I thought about it hard enough I could think of several books, but what comes to mind is Mel Gibson’s PAYBACK. Hard to believe, but it has a romance. Mel’s character, Porter, is betrayed by his wife and best friend, left for dead. I won’t say more, but I can promise you won’t be disappointed. I found on the internet a new re-cut verison is out. I’m not sure about that one. Just in case, get the original verison and check it out. Mel plays an anti-hero, so watch out, the story is violent.

3) By redemption. A character has realized the errors of his ways. Authors often use amnesia for this growth as they’re afraid the reader can’t believe a bad person can make a 180 degree change. I believe they can. Ask me about it sometime. Historicals like amnesia victims too. I see redemption used in paranormals a lot.

Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter books use redemption beautifully for her "Mad, Bad, and Immortal" heroes. Who doesn't love a man who has fences to mend and is willing to do it.

4) By plain ol’ learning. This is where the character seeks vengeance against another character. But maybe love (see number one) or the truth is revealed and changes the character’s direction, helping him grow.

I know I’ve read several books like this since Johanna Lindsey’s PRISONER OF MY DESIRE, but none come to mind. So Johanna’s heroine forces the hero to have sex with her (yep, forced a man) and later he takes revenge by forcing the same on her. Of course he makes her want it first. Oddly, in this one, what’s good for the goose, isn’t good for the gander.

Okay, now for the questions, what other character growth have you seen in books or movies? What are some of your favorite books or movies that represent the ones above?

In closing, as Hans said, "Sorry, Mr. Girly-Man, but here's a treat for your girlfriend!"


Lexi said...

Great post, Carla! Love your list. What about the classic, Pride and Prejudice? Both the H and H have to grow in that one and they both, arguably, are guilty of pride AND prejudice. The hero in Lord of Scoundrels is a big walking hurt little boy and terrified of falling in love. Of course, he does and magnificently!

Louisa Cornell said...

Kylemore and Verity in Claiming the Courtesan.

And this is a great list, Carla!

Carla Swafford said...

Thanks, Lexi and Louisa. Good ones.

I love seeing how the H&H change over a book.

And the last picture kind of PUMPS YOU UP, don't it? Couldn't resist saying that. LOL!

Chris Bailey said...

A good list. And thanks for the parting gift!