Yeah, having my post follow Mary Ann’s is like going from Kiri Te Kanawa to Rebecca Black, let’s face it. But I like to think there’s also a certain wonky poetry in the fumbling, barely articulate efforts of the neurotic to seek connection through language…which is the story of my life, but also brings me to the hero of my work in progress. This is a post about that hero, why I decided to write him, and why writing him is so damn tricky.
Ed. Oh, Ed. You are truly average looking. Five foot ten, brownish hair, brownish eyes, not especially fit. You’re well aware that if your life were a movie, you’d be played by Seth Rogen, not Robert Pattinson. You have a nice smile but your personality isn’t particularly winning, because you are a curmudgeon and have been all your life. Your two most significant sexual relationships have been with long-term fuckbuddies. One made it clear from the start that you were only to be her booty call, not the other way around. The other was mainly just too lazy to find another roommate after that first, drunken incident. They fucked, but gave no fucks about you, and you never felt like you got all that lucky afterwards. You enjoy your work as an aerospace engineer, but you tend to bring it home with you because you don’t have much else to do at home. You have some friends, but probably wouldn’t take a bullet for any of them…even in a role-playing game. You have no passion, Ed. No flair. You are no Zaphod Beeblebrox.
And that right there is why I decided to write Ed. All of that, the unlovely mundaneness of it. Geeky everyman, that’s who I wanted to start out with. A guy who was genuinely nothing special, who wasn’t hero material. The guys we all know in our lives, to whom we may well be married. Not a diamond in the rough. Just a regular ol’ rock. You can chip and chip and chip away, but all you’ll uncover is more granite. And that’s okay, because really, isn’t that what we all look for? Think of the functions a diamond might serve in your life; now think of all the things granite probably does for you on a daily basis. If you had to choose between them, you’d choose granite, because we might want things like sparkly earrings but we need things like buildings and roads. And maybe sometimes that comes with a bonus, like luxe countertops. Granite is for every day, but it doesn’t get much love because it’s a background material. We don’t notice it. Granite heros don’t get much action in romance novels, however, because we all want diamonds. My heroine is no different.
My heroine will need some time to shift her sights from diamond to granite. Because let’s face it, everyman isn’t that stellar a dude. And where Ed veers from normal, he does so in the direction of extreme geek/nerd, and although that’s the new hot in Romancelandia, in real life that can mean a guy who’s wonked beyond obvious lovability. That’s the problem, of course, with writing a guy like Ed. Ed doesn’t give me much to work with, much to show off. When he tries to act like a diamond, it just doesn’t work for him. In real life, it rarely does. You have to get to know Ed to love him, but books are short and this book in particular is novella length.
I can’t make him into a diamond. The heroine must come to see the intrinsic value of granite. In forty-five thousand words or less.
Ed is the most challenging hero I’ve ever written, precisely because he is not a hero. But he must become one to the heroine somehow by the end of the book, and even I’m not quite sure how he’ll achieve that. My deadline for figuring it out is July 8th, so wish me luck and if you see me hanging out on twitter this week, remind me I should be writing!
(The book, by the way, is The Principle of Desire, which will be the third in my BDSM nerdmance series The Science of Temptation. Oh, and in addition to his other normality, Ed has never had anything but the vanilla-est of sex before. The fact that this is the least of my concerns with him should indicate how many fits he’s giving me to write. Usually the kink factor is one of the trickier bits. This time? Pfft. Walk in the park. Of course he’ll do that, but how the hell do he and the heroine have a normal freakin’ kiss?).