I’ve been thinking about internal conflict and Luk’s motivation, and it’s changed him a lot. I noticed as I was writing that he was becoming softer, less hard edged Alpha, more the sort of man I’d marry in real life (if I wasn’t happy with the DH, of course), only better. Far better looking, taller, a helluva lot richer and more successful.
I love the new Luk! Only problem is, his internal conflict seems to be disappearing by the minute. He’s just too ready to fall in love with Gabriella, so what is there to keep them apart? Maybe this is going to be one of those stories where it looks like it’s all going to be fine halfway through then the really big conflict whams them. Problem is, I have no idea what that conflict is going to be! One plan was going to be that he didn’t want to stay in his birth country, where Gabi, as the Princess, must stay. And that he was emotionally walled in after the death of his first love, so he would let Gabi so close but no further. They could have a relationship, especially when circumstances force marriage on them, but love wasn’t part of the deal. I’m just not sure now. He isn’t coming across as a man who is emotionally closed off!
He is definitely not a Presents/ Sexy/ Modern hero any more, the line I was originally aiming for. He’s now very much a Romance hero, for the sweet and tender line. The guidelines for the Romance line are different depending if you look on the North American Harlequin site or the UK Mills and Boon site!
The US site says this about the Romance hero, they call him the “Tender Alpha”-
Hero: He’s always strong and charismatic, successful in his own way and aspirational — a man you’d want to be with! Tower of Strength: He has a steely core, is not easily manipulated and uncompromising about the things that matter
Aspirational: The guy with whom women aspire to spend the rest of their lives with; definitely Mr. Right
Code of Honour: He has a strong sense of right and wrong, is reasonable and fair
Sense of Humour: He can laugh at himself and life; he’s often understated and modest in manner
Status: Definitely successful, can be wealthy or just comfortably off; perhaps a specialist in his field
Examples of the Tender Alpha Male in Film/TV: Nick (Dermot Mulroney) in The Wedding Date; Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
I like this hero! Whether I can write him or not is another matter. Whether I can give Luk and Gabi a convincing and emotionally real conflict (and one the Richmond editors will like too!) is another matter again. The only ideas I have now for conflict are so outrageous that I am getting into very different territory. I know it has to hinge on his sense of honour, on doing what he sees as morally and ethically right, that steely and uncompromising core. The risk in making him a softer hero is that he becomes less of the driver of events. He still needs to be in command, he needs to be the one making things happen. Gabriella too, of course, but my feeling is it is very much his issues or his decisions that force situations.
Hmm. It’s a challenge. I don’t want to keep on writing and find I’ve written myself into a dead end. But I don’t want to stop writing yet again to figure this out either. No way am I going to meet my self-imposed deadline of submitting a partial by March 31st, if I keep going as I’m going. I want to just write, and hope the characters tell me the story. Magical thinking? You bet!