Hey wait a minute, what happened to the Romance in Video Games topic?
I know, I know. I said I would do that but the topic has stumped me and I haven’t done any research. So, I’m switching to another topic that is more opinion-oriented than research. Not to mention, I didn’t even blog last week. If you’re going to jump on my case… *ahem*
BAD BOYS OF ROMANCE:
VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, AND OTHER MALE-CREATURES THAT BUMP THE NIGHT
Everyone always asks if vampire romance will ever lose its audience. My answer: NOT FRIGGIN’ LIKELY. It’s cliche’d to Hell and back and every story has supposedly been done, but still more are coming and people buy them.
Simple: Women love a bad boy. Women love the idea of a rough and tumble, hards as nails, take no prisoners hero (so long as he takes out the garbage). Vampires and werewolves et al are the ultimate bad boys.
Vampires – Centuries old man who has learned most of the truths of life, including how to please a woman with only a few touches. Usually dark and moody, this bad boy will romance the heroine out of her blood and then her heart.
His inhuman strength and mysterious powers have heroines the world over treading the line of fear and desire. And, readers tread the line with her, wondering how she’ll overcome his need for blood (usually hers) or how he’ll overcome his dark nature to love (usually once again… I should do a topic on clichés next).
Whether he fries in the sun or turns into a bat, almost every woman wants the immortal lover who will promise them forever youth and forever love. Does that say something psychologically about the women who read vampire romances? Probably, but I only took one psych course and I don’t care what Freud thinks.
If the draw of forever youth and forever love cause psychological questions, then what about the women who love the fuzzy boys? I’m talking therianthropes. No, not lycanthropes. Lycanthrope is the fancy way of saying werewolf. Therianthrope is the universal term for wereanimal. No matter the flavor, women love those shifter boys.
Unfortunately (in my mind), the flavor seems to be wolf more often than anything else. Are wolves just sexier than any other carnivorous animal, or something? Personally, I like tigers. Or maybe, it’s the believability factor. If you see a random wolf (albeit bigger than normal) running the streets at night, you might mistake it for a dog and continue on your way. If you see a random tiger roaming the streets at night, I’d like to think you’d notice and have some sort of reaction… but back to the topic.
Therianthropes – Half man, half beast (usually carnivorous mammalian). These bad boys have to struggle with their inner beast (literally) all the time. The introduction of the heroine, who throws them into a tailspin of desire, makes that struggle even harder. She wants to be with him and he wants to keep her from danger — namely him.
There are so many factors that draw readers to this little slice of paranormal heaven. How will she find out his secret? Will she freak or take it in stride? Will he give her the chance to react or run away, trying to be noble? Will they go at it while he’s changed?
Frankly, that last question is the most important (to me and most of my friends). What’s the point of having a fuzzy boyfriend if you never get to sleep with him when he’s changed? It’s a taste of the taboo while not really breaking any moral laws.
Every publisher says it on their submissions page: no beastiality but shifters and sentient animals are okay. He’s still an animal but that he turns human or can hold a conversation makes this sex scene between woman and beast completely palatable and totally wanted.
And what about the other guys: demons, gargoyles, aliens, ghosts, dark fey, etc. Maybe it’s not that these guys are bad boys at all. Maybe it’s the built-in, ready made “flaw”. The author could make this hero the most caring and attentive man in the universe but that one flaw grounds him for the reader and makes him believable.
I’m not saying writing paranormal heroes is easier than contemporary heroes, not at all. But that ready-made flaw adds a whole new dimension to the story. Now, all of a sudden, the heroine has to overcome their emotional baggage and some physical baggage (blood drinking, shape-shifting, lack of corporeal form, etc) as well.
In the end, what’s the draw to a story you’ve probably read a hundred times already? To a hero who has the same sob story as the rest of them? That’s simple. It’s not the theme, it’s the genre. ROMANCE. It doesn’t matter if the hero is a king on some unknown planet or a desk jockey working 9-5 on Earth, we (the reader) want our emotional rollercoaster with the HEA at the end. If the hero happens to turn into a giant cat, drink blood to survive, or have horns and a tail, who cares? I want to know that the heroine can see passed all of that to the man she loves and wants to be with forever.
Since I already said it, I’m doing clichés next week. There are tons of them and I’ll probably forget a whole bunch, but I’m going to talk about them.
As for my goals, I did a pretty good job with the last set. Kashmir is finished and submitted and I’m waiting to hear back. My goody bags were mailed and most (if not all, I haven’t heard back from some people) were received. I got my newsletter written but now it’s time to write another one. 🙂 I also managed to get my living looking good. And the mother of all goals: I READ SOMETHING. Yes, sirree bob, you read that right. I actually read something. Multiple somethings. Not having a job is making it easier to read and write at the same time. Not saying I want to stay day-jobless but I’m using my current situation to its advantage.
This weeks goals (these are contingent on me being day-jobless for another week):
1 – Finish Serenity revisions. If you keep up with other stuff besides my blog (or check my site), I’m in the middle of revising Serenity, implementing changes I know need to be made, to make my editor’s life a life a little easier. I’m almost half-way done and should finish in a few days if I just work on it instead of staring off into space.
2 – Finish my submission for Pink Chair Diaries. I’ve been invited to submit a free story (5000 words or less). I’ve already come up with two, but I need to finish them. It’s fun writing to a specific theme and I’m sure I’ll come up with more stories.
3 – Read some more. Brazen by Maya Banks comes out tomorrow (actually late tonight) from Samhain Publishing, Ltd., so I’ll be accomplishing this goal fairly soon.
and something a little more mundane
4 – Clean my study. I can barely walk in here and the mess is distracting me. It’s time to get organized so I can mess it up again, thus starting the process all over again.