Tuesday, August 16, 2011

1 Do Not Lick the Phones Guest Post by Britney Bronte





ChickLit Heroes

Personally I blame Mr Darcy.

It’s no coincidence that Bridget Jones’ hero is named Mark Darcy. If I have a son I’ll probably call him Darcy just to guarantee he gets the girl of his dreams in the end. 

Jane Austen ruined us all for anyone else when she created him for Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Since then, generations of women have sighed and smiled over the handsome, proud, exasperating and hopelessly alluring Mr Darcy. No-one ever fancies his nice mate Mr Bingley. Roll it round your tongue; Bingley. Bingbingbing! Sounds like a pinball machine. No deal. Best friend/beloved sister can have him, we don’t care.

Then there’s the bad guy, I like to call him Roger Dangerously, and am probably writing my next book about him.  From Wickham to Daniel Cleaver, these ruinous charmers are in the story to create pitfalls. These are the men you really don’t want to fall for. But they are easy for the heroine to love precisely because a proper chicklit hero isn’t.

Often a chicklit hero is a rubbish communicator; In Do Not Lick The Phones, the main man as such, is a character called Jonny, sarcastic, offensive and inevitably right. It’s this last that our heroine Britney can’t forgive. Jonny is always bursting her balloon, and she’s always telling him to get lost because of it.

One of my male readers told me he liked Jonny because ‘He’s a good mate. Why doesn’t she ever listen to him?’ It’s because he says the right thing in the wrong way, at the wrong time. This is a problem facing a lot of heroes.  If they could talk with all the sincerity they feel, we would understand them straight away and there would be no story. No, the one who can talk is usually the guy we shouldn’t be listening to. And so it begins…

Stories need to stay fresh. We love Mr Darcy, but we can’t keep remaking him. So what kind of new heroes might spark up new stories?

Shifty heroes don’t really work. If they have a secret, it has to be for motives we can all understand. Cowardly heroes are hit and miss, there’s a reason the central male is called a hero; either they must develop a backbone or we discover they had it all along. I haven’t read of many over-talkative heroes, but maybe it’s time for someone to try.

The key to a successful hero is to consider the heroine; on some level, there’s got to be a polarity, almost an opposition between them. Is she dreamy and impractical? Make him down to earth. Is she hard headed and ambitious? Sling a guitar on his back. Is she a mother with two kids and a howling mutt? He can be an international playboy, as long as he’s secretly deep. Begin by understanding the central spark between your main characters, and develop that.  On paper and on screen opposites attract, lesson 101 from the greatest chicklit writer of all time, Jane Austen. Thank you Jane, for that hero of the genre; the legend that is Mr Darcy!


For more information on the author, be sure to visit her website, and Britney Bronte is on Facebook and Twitter

You can read the first chapter of Do Not Lick the Phones on Britney Bronte's website for free. 

*All proceeds from the book will be going to helping London communities recover after the awful riots. Britney is a proud Londoner and has been effected from them, so she wanted to do her part in giving back. 

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