Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Rebelliousness and Redemption

Okay, so I have a confession that probably won’t shock anyone who knows me: I’m a rule-follower. And a people-pleaser, to boot. I color within the lines, obey traffic laws (mostly), and pay my bills on time. 

Don't hate me. Life just runs much smoother when I'm organized, and I'm all about avoiding conflict whenever and wherever I can.

But in my writing, I tend to be the opposite, at least when it comes to plotting and character-building. Of course, writers have to have conflict in their stories, and there's a certain cadence and pattern to romantic suspense, but when I began creating my new series (Redemption Club), and compared it to my older one (The Mindhunters), I realized how much I loathe having to create characters who are bound by rules. 

Both series lack what I'd term the "classic" romantic suspense heroes and heroines—cops and detectives, FBI agents, SEALs, and so forth. From my very first book, I'd already realized I didn’t like the constraints of writing characters who have to obey the law to the letter because of their career choice. Sometimes, my characters have a background in military or law enforcement, but they've moved on, were hurt by their career in some way, or became disgruntled or even jaded. 

Time for another confession: I thought this choice was because I was lazy. I don't enjoy spending a lot of time researching rulebooks and procedural manuals.

I created a private agency in my Mindhunters series, and the Redemption Club series focuses more on the criminal side, where bending the law is acceptable if it gets you what you want. My heroes and heroines try to be upstanding people, but they may have a blight or two on their records that they need to overcome.

However... I recently realized that it’s not laziness that kept me from going with the traditional types of heroes and heroines. (Okay, it might be a little laziness.) My choices are due, in part, to the restrictions in my normal life. Anne Becker doesn't get to break the rules. As a valedictorian, student role model, oldest sibling, doting wife, perfect mother (yeah, right!) to three children, and law-abiding citizen, I have to follow so many guidelines that it’s no wonder I don’t run off screaming into the woods and become a hermit.

In my books, however… There, "Anne Marie Becker, Author" gets to break any rule she wants—via her characters. As long as she makes her characters likeable and redeemable.

A little rebelliousness, a dash of redemption. That’s what my latest batch of characters are made of.


How about you? Do you like to read/write about characters who have to walk the line, work within boundaries, or do you like the rogues who have sins to make up for?

10 comments:

Rita said...

Gee! Do I have to make a decision about what I like? Oh! All right! I like the path less taken. I can only take so much of the same trope with different character names. But...that path less traveled is also harder. You're the one breaking the trail. So no you are not lazy. Nice post. Thanks.

Anne Marie Becker said...

So true, Rita - the path less traveled is harder. Although, researching the boundaries that bind more traditional RS heroes is pretty hard work, too. :) Not sure I'm blazing any trails, since I still stick to the alpha heroes, but I like them to have psychological wounds... That doesn't sound very nice, does it? LOL

Toni Anderson said...

We are truly sisters, Anne Marie, aside from the slight height difference! I do use law enforcement types, but they might slightly break the rules. *cough* the odd dead serial killer/b&e/tapped phone without a warrant. As an anal retentive rule follower I now understand why my characters are so unconventional--they are the opposite of me 👿

Rita said...

Ha! Someone without psychological wounds hasn't been born yet!

Elise Warner said...

Rule breakers are never dull and we all hope to keep the reader glued to the page.

jean harrington said...

OMG, Anne Marie, I like--love--the rogues. Does it only have to be in fiction? Bad boys are fun. Exciting. Sexy. Okay, mean, vicious, unreliable, and, more often than not, liars. No wonder they make great villains--if not heroes. Oh this is a subject we need to discuss over wine--I mean coffee.

Anne Marie Becker said...

Toni, I believe you're right. We were separated at birth or something. ;) Rule followers, unite!

Anne Marie Becker said...

Rita - true! I definitely like exploiting...um, developing...that layer of characters. Wounds make us what we are.

Anne Marie Becker said...

Elise, well said. :D

Anne Marie Becker said...

@Jean - Bad boys ARE fun! And I would love to discuss, and discuss, and discuss them over wine. ;)