With Soul Solution coming out this week, I wanted to discuss a topic I feel quite strongly about. I may be a bit isolated on this too, so I’d love others opinions or weigh-ins. Broody heroes more often than not annoy the piss out of me. Why? Because many times, they bypass mere brooding and hit the level of whiny, or emo. Once the guy has hit the whiny zone, my interest is gone, because I can’t suspend my disbelief any longer without getting supremely annoyed every time Sir Whiner opens his mouth to say something flowery and obnoxious.
So what makes the difference? Because there are certain situations where I’ve been madly attracted to dark and broody, but then it can just as fast traverse to the dark side of TOO MUCH. While I respect Anne Rice as an author, one example would be Louis–spending an entire book mourning his experiences as a vampire. With love interests though, where I lose interest is when broody guy throws down mournful lines, woe is me, ‘I’m so dark’ mystique and the girl is lapping that shit up. For me, it comes off as cheesy. Sorry, I don’t have time for anyone who wants to be ‘saved’ and find the ‘I can fix him’ trope utterly ridiculous.
Girls, if you find a guy who’s damaged and broken–you can FEEL the hurt underneath all the jerk–and yet he keeps lashing out at you? RUN. That’s an abusive cycle of empaths versus the narcissist, and if you’re one of us empathic sorts, you will be churned up and spat back out over and over again.
Which leads me to Soul Solution. Despite the narrow and dangerous line brooding travels, there are characters who manage it quite attractively. I mean, the appeal of the brooding character is in fact, that he’s sensitive and full of feeling, yet keeps the tough, often bitter outer shell merely to survive the cruel world. So when I wrote Erik, I was careful to write someone considerate, and keep in mind my own pet peeves and the harm of those brooding alpha heroes that unfairly lash out on their counterparts. Erik is none of these.
He’s full of regrets, sure. He sold his soul for a girl who ended up ditching him, and he’s lonely. After all, since his touch is poison to humans, and he views himself as a monster, it’s not like he’ll be making friends any time soon. Which makes Mina a perfect counterbalance to him. She’s a stubborn introvert, eternal optimist, and just the practical sort of girl I love. Why would she be attracted to him then? It’s that lovely opposites attract law.
The two characters have so much to learn from each other. Mina throws herself into her daily life, but Erik’s been so detached from that and so introspective that he can teach her to look up at the stars and appreciate what a vast, huge universe is out there. Meanwhile, he’s stuck in a cycle of loneliness and sadness–his last love considering him a monster–and Mina not only helps him heal, but teaches him that though despair and sorrow happen, they can be overcome.
The book comes out on July 24th, but I’d love to see if people think I upheld my own line of creating an attractive brooding hero, without crossing over into whiny territory. Hope everyone enjoys!