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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Character Clinic: Bridger Heidemann

I've got Liberty's character, Bridger "Brick" Heidemann on the couch today. Lucky for me, I've already assessed the love interest in the futuristic sci-fi romance. Brick is sort of an anomaly in his convictions for his day and age where everybody is sleeping with everybody else and there are few moral standards adhered to. He's a private investigator, hired by the heroine Tamryn to track down her best friend, who's missing. Brick values remaining chaste, but he's drawn to Tamryn, despite their different backgrounds and moral codes of conduct. Brick gets kidnapped near the end of the book to be part of an "active sperm donor" business for women looking to get impregnated. (Yikes, Liberty!)

Liberty wants to know: How do I play out dynamics between two very different leads in a believable way? What kinds of mental issues will Bridger face following the kidnapping, especially if there is some physical abuse (i.e., kicking, punching, stabbing) to go along with it?

Liberty -

What we've got here is opposites attracting. Nothing new, but the angle of morality that you are taking is a different twist. I'm not sure how much this is played up in your book, but it sounds like remaining pure is a big part of Bridger's identity, and this is a value Tamryn doesn't hold.

One thing's for certain, his or her stance on morality doesn't have to play a part in physical attraction. Sparks between people can often be surprising, given the different poles they come from. So writing some very real scenes of them trying to deny that chemistry will give your romance readers something to appreciate.

Tamryn will likely want to take things to the next level, riding the wave of her baser desires and instincts. This will be the initial cause of conflict, I assume, and it needs to shake Bridger up a bit....that he could get so close again to "doing the deed," this time with his full faculties about him (i.e., not half asleep). But it will be his lesson in how strong physical attraction can be, and you can subtly get a point in with readers that our mental capacity to stop can overcome the pleasure principle (if you so desire).

Bridger will be wary of her, as she embodies and represents a sensual side of himself that he's either refused to acknowledge or has kept buried because it's safer. But he'll be drawn to her anyway b/c of the attraction. Great place for him to feel that tension...which is great for page turning in a romance.

An aside about your idea to have them both ask to marry each other at the end...Bridger seems to be a pretty traditional sort. Comes from a traditional family, remaining pure, etc. If Tamryn beats him to the punch, even if he has the ring in his pocket, I'd make sure that it was the completion of a character arc for both of them. Bridger possible needing to relinquish some of his iron-tight control, and Tamryn forging ahead into a commitment with a man that up until then she's tried to evade. Something like that. Otherwise, it won't be satisfying to the reader (in my opinion) for the original/traditional role of the man asking the woman to marry him to be usurped.

Really quick about the abduction: He's going to be traumatized, especially given the nature of what he's being abducted for. It would be like his worse nightmare...almost like forced prostitution, even though the end result is impregnation rather than debauchery. him, it won't be much different. So even if he doesn't actually have sex with anyone before he's rescued, that would mess with his head. (In my weird, psychocrazy way, I think this is awesome, btw.) If he's abused, he'll probably have the usual PTSD responses of flashbacks, nightmares, exaggerated startle response, hypervigilance, etc. I've done many posts on this subject, so I won't go into it here.

Hope this helps, and thanks for being so patient!

Let's Analyze: What are some great examples to point Liberty to of books that have dynamic heroes and heroines who are POLAR opposites?