I never had a thing for bad boys.
Don’t get me wrong, I admire the aesthetic as much as the next woman. I’ll gladly gawk at the tattooed beefcake with the bedroom eyes and the police record.
I just never wanted to date him. Maybe I lack the “rescuer” gene that draws many women to men like that. Maybe I just found more appeal in good boys – or more accurately, in being the one to make good boys do bad things.
I blogged last month about the thrill I get writing many different heroes, but I have to admit, the guy in my current manuscript is throwing me for a loop.
He’s a former bad boy who’s gone to rehab and cleaned up his act. My heroine – who was married to the hero's best friend and knew him well when he was a self-destructive drunk – is doubtful he’s changed.
It’s an interesting dynamic, and I’m having fun with it. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a challenge. Not just the fact that I’m writing a divorced heroine and a recovering alcoholic hero, but that I have to tackle those issues sensitively while still making you laugh hard enough to piddle down your leg.
That’s a handful.
I can find comic relief in secondary characters – the alpaca who likes to head-butt men in the gonads, the pink-haired grandmother who's in a motorcycle gang, the over-amorous parents who never stop groping each other.
I think I’m striking a decent balance, but it’s too soon to tell. I might just be crafting a document my husband will eventually hand over to our family physician as evidence I should be heavily medicated.
Only time – and my critique partners – will tell.
I knew this story was a risk when I proposed it as the third book in my contract. To be honest, I was surprised my editor picked it out of four other ideas I offered. It was the one I most wanted to write, but also the most challenging.
There’s some comfort in knowing it’s already sold, but also some panic. What if they hate it? What if I hate it? What if my mother-in-law reads what I wrote above about making good boys do bad things and decides to backhand me for corrupting her son?
Writing is a risky business no matter where you are in your career. There’s the risk of pouring your heart and soul into a book that agents and editors might not love. There’s a risk in every decision you make – from what genre to pursue, to what kind of car your heroine drives.
But the risks are also the fun part. They’re what keep us from writing the same book over and over until our eyes glaze and we topple unconscious from our chairs and hit our head on the floor and bleed to death and end up being devoured by the cat.
What risks are you taking in your writing? Do you enjoy it, or do you just want to hide under the bed? Please share in the comments, I’m curious.
And I’m also braced for that backhand.