Today’s guest is LE Franks speaking about the ‘antihero’.
Why Do We Love The Antihero So Much?
It’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot lately.
For fun I asked another author, who I respect greatly, what her definition of antihero was and she gave me this: “A protagonist who’s actions are less than heroic; the person we often root for, but who often achieves a heroic result by selfish means.”
The definition is a decent, if lighthearted, fit for my protagonist Nick in 6 Days to Valentine. I must confess, the last three reviews I received for this novella made me giddy with joy—their largest complaint was the struggle to balance their annoyance with Nick’s behavior with their love of “FatBoy” Davis Newman.
Earlier reviews have been generally favorable, or highly favorable, or the occasional ‘thanks but no thanks’ that we accept from the ranks of GoodReads readers, but no one had quite put their finger on the point of tension in the story as well as these three. They have a legitimate beef with Nick. He’s a bit of an ass, he has history that gets in his way, he treats FatBoy poorly, and FatBoy is a saint.
In this first story, the reader doesn’t know if he’ll rise above his past or his present in order to make something more of his future. We just get the first glimpse of his yearning for something more as circumstances sweep him along.
What makes me happy in what the reviewers revealed is they cared enough to be bothered—they wanted Nick to do better, to be better, and against their will, they pulled for him for FatBoy’s sake. They became invested in Nick, hoping for the best.
When I pen a character like Nick, I’m hoping to find a way to carefully walk the blade’s edge of intention without turning a character into a caricature—or in Nick’s case, changing him from acting like an ass to being an asshole. I think in this case I was successful, but it’s always a delicate balance.
Whether we are writing for our antihero (or the romantic lead of our plot) we must write like a gem cutter cuts. Our words faceting the original stone of our characters, revealing their deeper beauty, or the flaws that can’t be fixed, only managed—hidden, cut away, or ignored.
It’s these imperfections emphasized in the antihero that fascinate and inform and draw me willingly into an uncomfortable world where obstacles must be overcome without the moral fiber at hand to see them through. Succeed, and the antihero redeems himself—most is forgiven until the next time. Fail, and the protagonist fails, lost in ignominy.
The trick for the writer is to make you care either way. —LE
In Nick’s perfect world, Valentine’s Day would be struck from the calendar.
Nick’s dreams of a Happily Ever After were shredded long ago and the last thing he and his customers need is a bunch of happy loving couples rubbing it in their faces.
Bouncer Fat Boy Newman is willing to bet he knows Nick’s heart better than he does. He has just six days to change Nick’s mind about romance and the holiday and the perfect man to do it.
Too bad it’s not him.
Too bad Nick’s not going down without a fight.
Too bad he cheats.
About LE Franks:
LE Franks lives in the SF Bay Area, surrounded by inspiration everywhere. After years of ignoring the voices in her head, LE is finally taking off the filters and giving the stories free rein. These days, she can be found frequently writing about sexy men who desperately need a happily ever.
LE writes M/M Romance in a unique mix of humor and drama with enough suspense to produce fast paced stories filled with emotion and passion and featuring characters that are quirky and complicated. Don’t expect the typical rugged hero or sophisticated businessman with the world at their feet; LE’s men are living in the margins–they’re in the middle of their journey, doing the best they can while searching for a connection to something bigger than themselves. With a little effort and a lot of luck they may actually find their happily-ever-afters.
When not writing, LE wrangles an odd assortment of jobs (six – at last count), houseguests (including pro baseball players), family, and friends. Manifesting an odd combination of contradictory talents and traits, LE is tragically honest and personally deceptive, and makes the best piecrust – ever.