Wednesday 3 April 2024

Hard shell, soft centre

 This post came about because I have read a number of books recently - crime, not romance- where I didn't find a single character I could like or identify with.

I disliked all of them.

Even the ones presented as the protagonist. 

Now yes, I know a lot of people would say that this is realism - that we don't always like everyone and that even protagonists have flaws. But I'm old school. There has to be someone in the cast to attach myself to. Someone who has some positive characteristics. 

This is one of the reasons why I write romantic suspense. It gives me the chance to explore the good stuff as well as the bad. Yes, it's crime, the bodies pile up and I can have real fun creating villains, but in the centre is a couple falling in love, and whatever happens to those villains - and I do tend to kill them off- there is always going to be a happy ending - or at least a positive one. The road to romance will be rocky - secrets, misunderstandings, the effect of past trauma, but it will end in the right place.

Am I expecting things to be too nice, too neat, with too much feel good factor? I don't think so. Those books with the dislikable characters left me discontented - sufficiently so that I am blogging about it. Fiction is just that, fiction. Creating a world where everyone is unpleasant, untrustworthy or downright nasty seems very negative to me. The real world is difficult enough, I don't need it in my reading matter as well. It's all too downbeat and leaves me with the feeling of having wasted time reading the book.  Actually, to be honest in two cases I bailed out at about the three quarter mark and just read the end. In neither case did I regret it. Am I getting to be a sloppy reader, one who can't stay the course?  I do give myself permission not to finish a book these days. Life is very short and there are so many good books out there. I'm just going to have to be a bit more careful in finding the upbeat ones! 

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