Whenever I write I write with the aim to create all my characters with some aspect of relatability. It doesn’t matter how major nor minor they are, I think it’s paramount for a writer to make their characters believable. It’s our duty to our readers. To write in a weak, unbelievable character into a piece of work is an insult to your loyal readers. I feel like it is insulting their intelligence. I’ve read many things with character that are ‘groan worthy’ and it ruins the mood of the book. No matter how good a piece of writing is, if there is an unbelievable character in it you’re going to be dragged back to reality with the realisation that this is only after all just a book. What a let down…..
I have come to a shocking realisation this morning, I’m a female creating male characters and oh my gosh I think I’ve created feminine, unrealistic male characters. I’m lucky to have a very romantic husband but he is not the type to try and stay clean or neat – ever! The main male protagonists in my manuscripts (that thankfully are still in the editing process) are too romantic, good looking, clean and neat, emotional and over all too perfect. Every female wants the perfect male and by creating that kind of protagonist I feel that we are reminding our readers that this piece of writing is just fiction and guys like that don’t exist. I’m scared now that my male characters would fit nicely into a Mills & Boon book. I have nothing against Mills & Boon books but they are notoriously known for having these unbelievable, overly emotional male characters. These are the characters that give the current male population an unfairly high standard that they almost always cannot reach.
To all those lovely ladies who enjoy a good fantasy with the perfect male in it who ‘sweeps the girl off of her feet’ please remember that back here in real life like every other human being you must take the good with the bad. Love your partner for their amazing traits, traits that make you laugh and smile and don’t dwell on the things that may irritate or annoy you. To concentrate on the negatives in anything in life will always lead to hurt and disaster.
Back to my feminine characters. Maybe all manuscripts with the ‘perfect male’ in them should be read by a male to ensure that you haven’t created something so unrealistic your readers actually cringe whilst reading. I’ll try and give an example and I apologise if my writing isn’t at a high standard.
She stood there staring at him, the tears welling in her eyes as her heart was breaking. She needed him to love her, accept her for who she was. A tear spilled over slowly making its down her cheek. He stepped forward closing the gap between them, raised his hand and with the softest touch caught her tear and wiped it away. His hand slowly wrapped around her own and guided it up, placing it over where his heart is.
“My heart will always only beat for you my darling. I could never live without your love. I’ve spent my whole life searching for you, for this love.” His hand proceeded to caress her face and he stared deep into her eyes.
“You’re the most perfect creature I’ve ever seen and every time I see you, your beauty takes my breathe away.” He enfolded her in his strong muscular arms chasing away all of her fears.
Ok so that was even hard for me to write as I just wanted to say to the male character to ‘man up’ so to speak. I personally got a bit annoyed at how he acted more how a woman would want than how a man would actually act. Don’t get me wrong there may be times where writing like this makes sense or is appropriate but not in my writing that’s for sure.
To write a relatable character in my experience is to combine the fantasy man (as above) with the experiences you have lived through. Those moments when you needed someone to say something that would make it all better but even though they try the words aren’t as perfect as you had imagined. Most males don’t always have the exact words you need to hear but nevertheless they try and usual try hard. Their love shouldn’t be measured by the words they say. When I cry my husband just pulls me into a hug, there’s none of this wiping away my tears stuff haha yet a hug always helps make it all better.
Always remember the emotional moments in your life when writing about such things. It will help you and the readers relate to the characters and situation. Life and those in it aren’t always perfect – so why make all your characters and scenes perfect?