Monday, May 07, 2007

On to the the next geekfest

The hubs and I finished out X-Files marathon yesterday. We watched all the way through Season 5 and then the movie. Which, not that great. It was bad enough after watching the episodes all in a row night after night. I can't imagine what my fury would have been if, after watching the show faithfully for five years, I'd gone to see a movie that promised a Mulder/Scully kiss and got no freaking kiss. I remember the press. I remember them saying there would be a kiss. Screw you people!

So now we are on to the next level of geekitude, and have started watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Or, as we refer to it, Star Trek for ladies.

Which is a good thing. DS9 is my favorite, and I think is a lot of womens' favorite, simply because it is rather more soap-opera-y than the others. There's more romance. There's a war, which kicks ass. There's interpersonal relationships and everyone hangs out in a bar and there's all sorts of sexual innuendo (or as The Todd would say on Scrubs, "in-her-endo") all over the place.

It's actually enough to make me want to write a futuristic/sci-fi romance, which is something that just doesn't interest me (sorry, my sci-fi friends.) I especially like the evil Kardassians, because they're cruel and selfish and the greedy Ferenghi, because avaricious men are sexy. They're ugly as sin, both of them, but if they weren't I'd be drooling (actually, I drool a little anyway.)

Funny, for me it's the vices of the heroes, as much as the virtues, that make them appealing. I like heroes who are a little arrogant, or rude, or who drink a little too much, or are selfish and greedy. I think that's one reason I like writing vampires and demons et al so much.

Just as it's the insecurities of a heroine that make her appealing just as much as the strengths. One of my books--the one I'm editing now (unsubbed yet)--needed some serious work, and still does. Because I did my job a little too well, you see. The heroine was supposed to come off as fairly shallow and unlikeable. But I made her loathesome. So irritating neither of my betas could finish the book, in fact. So irritating that the hero, a perfectly good hero (sexy and handsome and all that) seems like a moron for liking her. It was hard for me not to have him realize that, too. Once or twice I had to stop him from just getting up and leaving, because she really was mean to him.

So I'm going back and softening her up. This leads me into the post I will probably do tomorrow, about what's good for the hero and not for the heroine, and then this week I will also have a New Year's resolution book to write about (I've been too broke to buy books lately, which is why I haven't done any in a bit) and the post Bernard inspired about romance and friendship.

So hopefully we'll have lots goin on here this week!

What vices and virtues do you particularly like your characters to have? Which ones make you throw the book across the room?


Anonymous said...

So, December finally falls into a rank and file. A woman that can't resist the bad boys. -V95

Rashenbo said...

I think we all like the hero and heroine to have those redeeming qualities that make them seem just as human as our own partners and friends. I love my husband to death but sometimes he irritates the hell out of me. When I read a strong hero, I want to see him in all his glory and know that he can't stand spiders or that he's got stupid opinions on dieting, or that he had anger issues growing up and now he's gone over board on controlling those emotions. Insecurities, oddities, annoying little traits... these are the things that make us who we are. I'm totally OCD with the way I run errands. It did irritate my husband, now he just giggles a little when I tell him I can't turn around and I'll just have to run that new errand on another day. I love how he is so easy going... but if I get upset then he'll jump to my defense, even if it means he's suddenly yelling at the kids because they made me yell at them. Then I yell at him because he shouldn't have yelled at the children.

No one is ever completely perfect. Perfect being (in addition to being nonexistant) are boring. They are completely predictable and they are flat. One thing that will make me throw a book is when I'm just fed up with the people I'm supposed to be connecting with.

December Quinn said...

"Rank and file"? Ouch!

I agree about perfection being boring, Rashenbo. (I love your swirly new avatar, btw!) And it does seem in a way like knowing the weaknesses make our characters seem even stronger, doesn't it? It gives them contrast.

Robyn said...

Sometimes it's the little things. Indiana Jones' fear of snakes, for example. I LOVE it when a tough guy has a totally girly fear. I read one contemporary where a tough cop who could look someone in the eye and shoot, and sort of enjoy it, couldn't bring himself to step on a bug because of the squish.

And girl, I loved DS9, too. And I hated Catch-22. But there ain't no way I can agree with you on shagging Keith Richards. Too much like necrophilia.

BernardL said...

Wow, fear of snakes is girly? Uh oh. :)

I really like a sarcastic funny character, and especially if he or she has a believable foil to shoot one liners off of.

Stuff I will toss a book for: attacking rock solid basic family values without a clue. While I know they are not the way for everyone, an author belittling them throughout a book without good reason, will land the book in my please take it shelf for twenty-five cents in my comic/used book shop, unread. Another is the whining character. Good to have around for killin' or verbal abuse, but very tiresome: just like real life. :)

pacatrue said...

It was nice to read this post. A debate I participated in recently over at Romancing the Blog was about the great alpha hero and whether or not he was just a jerk. My trouble with the classic alpha male over and over is not his strength and power, which are cool; it's that he's often arrogant, and I absolutely hate arrogant people. Most other commenters all denied that arrogance was indeed attractive or a common feature of the alpha, even though the evidence from arrogant hero after arrogant hero in books is that they are indeed attractive to many. So it's nice to hear December simply say that she finds a little arrogance sexy. Of course, usually by the end of the book, the arrogant hero has been taken down a notch? But they always have to start that way....

Anonymous said...

"Rank and file"? Ouch!

You know I tease. ;~)>

littlebirdblue said...

it's the vices of the heroes, as much as the virtues, that make them appealing.

SO true!

I like my characters to be socially awkward. Is that a vice? Oh-- and I'm not a fan of a hero or heroine who won't drink to excess, at least once in a while.

Rebecca said...

I like characters to seem real, like human beings, and so I LIKE them to be imperfect.

When I read about characters that are fallible, just like me, I get a sense of common humanity and that is something I really enjoy aboout fiction.

(And as a writer it is much more fun - and easier, I think - to write about flawed people. It is much harder to pull off a 'good' person who is still interesting!)

Anonymous said...

I like imperfection, and the biggest thing that gets on my nerves is characters who are always right. It doesn't happen in real life. It's worse when all the toher characters seem to bend over backwards to be supportive in a way that isn't "Oh, you screwed up, but that's okay" but instead is "Don't be so hard on yourself, you always do the right thing, stop doubting yourself..."

I don't like fishing either. Lines like "Yes, because I'm so attractive" "You're beautiful, gorgeous..." You're allowed lines like that ONCE per SERIES (er, between the same characters. New men are free to fall for that crap and other women are allowed to fish if you want them to look like shallow, competative people.)

Any compliments should be sincere and genuine and homestly set up like that (a la recent Anita Blake books) it doesn't feel genuine. It feels kiss ass. A heroine shouldn't need her ass kissed. Neither should a hero.

A Hero should be male, if something in their past, even something really tramatic, bothers them, they can look emotional or get upset, but men don't cry over emotional pain. Hmm, maybe over the loss of a loved one, or if there is a ton going on. But men who break into tears lose my sympathy. Especially if they aren't trying to fix their problems.

I like people who make mistakes but try anyway. People who stand up, even if it hurts to do so or they get crap for doing what no one else would.

And characters who are physically flawed, like chubby or social awkward, or down right geeky... I like that.

DS9 went the same way for me that Forever Knight did. I found out when it was on in reruns, made a point to catch it.. three nights later they showed the last episode. Completely ruined me on the series. At least I had three episodes. The first episode of Forever Knight I saw was the last. I was furious. funny, they sort of end the same way too..

Next Generation is my favorite. That one has brought me to tears (like when Data built himself a daughter. I bawled like a baby.) And the Fear episode of Voyager gave me chills and made me think "I want to write stuff like that"

December Quinn said...

Lol Robyn! And yes, I like that, a silly fear or something to give a man some vulnerability. One of my favorite Barbara Michaels moments is in "Into the Darkness", when the hero--one of her tougher heroes--gets nervous about going to a rich woman's house because "She probably has a butler." Adorable.

I agree, Bernard. We must have clever dialogue, and I love sarcastic characters, and I hate characters who spout party lines or say things just to be "shocking". When it feels like the author is creating a character just to shove their political beliefs on us, I get irked. And I'm something of a traditional lady myself, so I agree.

December Quinn said...

Paca, of course alphas are arrogant. At least they are if they're any good. An alpha is dominant, and it's basically impossible for a man to be truly dominant if he doesn't think he's powerful etc. ie arrogant. And a little arrogance is very sexy, imo.

The problem with it is it's easy to cross the line. That's why I tend to write alpha heroes with senses of humor. I feel like if he can laugh at himself a little, he can still be arrogant but now he's not an asshole. It's just my opinion and my way of doing it, but the men I write are sexy to me, and they do tend to be arrogant. (Funny because my hubby isn't at all that way.)

December Quinn said...

Yes, of course I know you tease!!

Oh, lbl, I agree. I love writing drunkenness, it's the most fun and--dare I say it--usually pretty sexy too.

Socially awkward isn't a vice, but it is a weakness that can make someone very appealing.

You know, rebecca, it's funny. Back in december I did an interview with FAR and they asked what kinds of characters I write, and I realized that with few exceptions I tend to write about damaged people. I see their flaws and weaknesses first, then go on from there. Even if those flaws and weaknesses aren't featured as strongly in the book--Julian in Blood Will Tell's past doesn't come into play at all, but I know a lot about what happened to him in his life and where his weaknesses hide--they're still there. I like writing people who are able to put those ghosts to rest, at least somewhat. That's what interests me and what to me is a real love story.

December Quinn said...

Yep, Michele, I'm not a big fan of crying heroes. I like them to get drunk and beat people up instead. But they're allowed red eyes or a shaking voice during the big emotional scenes. Sometimes. :-)

Don't tell me how DS9 ends, I never did get to see it! And honestly, you should watch anyway. Some of the episodes are so fun.

I agree with the ridiculous compliments of the AB books. Honestly, she started to lose me when all of her male characters became wimps. Who the hell wants a bunch of male pussybabies following them around, mewling and tugging their pants legs to hide behind? BLEH! That's not sexy! How could a man like that make you feel like a woman?

Anonymous said...

Funny, but I never managed to get into DS9, too soap opera-y. Go figure.

Me, I'm for Voyager. I love the borg. I have a picture of me in a borg regeneration chamber. A real one!

I don't like heroes who do things for no reason, like love the TSTL heorine. Those two seem to go hand in hand. I also don't like heroes who refuse to give up info to the heroine. Okay, we get it, you're all alpha and know everything, doesn't mean you have to refuse to offer some kind of reasoning at some point in time.

Bernita said...

~still laughing over "pussy babies"~
Perfect term!

"with senses of humor. I feel like if he can laugh at himself a little, he can still be arrogant but now he's not an asshole"
You've nailed it, December.

Scary Monster said...

Me can't stand heroes or any protagonist who don't go to the bathroom. Never see a good guy taking a dump.

Me likes the villians who got caught up in circumstance and ended up on the wrong side. Not really bad, just badass and doin their own thing. Outlaws!!!!!

Anna J. Evans said...

Just darting in here to tell you I tagged you for that '8 things meme' that's going around. You can find out more on my blog if you want, if biggie.

Back to comment on this post later,


December Quinn said...

The best thing about Voyager was the Doctor. I loved him, he was hilarious. The Although we did meet the guy who played Paris at, um, a Star Trek convention.

I think it's the most fun when the alpha tries to do that "hiding stuff" thing and the heroine refuses to stand for it.

Thanks, Bernita! I can't wait to read some of your work, you know, and see how similar our stuff really is!

December Quinn said...

Well, Scary, that's...ah. I tend to not write big pooping scenes, so...

Although I do tend to write bad guys who aren't, but instead are just duped or whatever. I write Fredos. :-)

I will do the meme later, AJ! (Which is my cool new nickname for you.)

bunnygirl said...

Superlatively attractive heroes and heroines annoy me, especially if they know they're attractive and think it's important.

Now that I think about it, none of my heroines is particularly beautiful. And all of my novels have a bookish intellectual man as a romantic interest, even if he doesn't always get the girl.

Although my alpha males do have the requisite troubled past, it usually makes them gentler. In the case of my most fully realized alpha, though, he gets carried away. Raped as a boy, he copes by styling himseslf a defender and protector of girls. Nice, until he goes too far and the love of his life leaves him, desperate for her freedom. So yeah, he's a bit of a controlling jerk, but in the nicest way and with sincerely good intentions.

Misguided characters are fun.

Sam said...

The book flies when the male of the species uses the female to wipe his feet on...and she lets him.
Bye bye book.
A hero can be obnoxious and tortured, rough and tough and an 'in your face bad guy'...he has to have respect for women.

December Quinn said...

The part about thinking it's important is a really good distinction, Bunnygirl. Some of my heroes know they're attractive but they don't care that much--unless they're after a lady. :->

I love alphas with troubled pasts. Sigh.

Excellent, Sam! That's it exactly.

writtenwyrdd said...

December, why NOT have the cool hero decide the heroine is a moron? See where that one takes you. It might be somewhere cool. Of course, it might be somewhere unmarketable, too...

I love bad boys in books. Seeing as I've been divorced for twenty-some years from the bad boy I actually married I can tell you I do notlook for them in real life, though! (Okay, I lied, I do LOOK; just run the other way, screaming, with my hair on fire if they actually seem interested.)