Monday, December 16, 2013

WHY I ROOT FOR AND WRITE GOOD GUYS


I’m a sucker for a nice guy. Whether the overlooked best friend or the boy next door, they deserve their measure of happiness and I root for them to win, even when the girl of their dreams is decidedly unworthy.

If I learned anything from 80s movies, it was the value of the Duckies and Lloyd Doblers of the world. Forget the rich, stunningly handsome, unattainable guys and the unrepentant bad boys in need of redemption, I want the boy who holds up the boom box; the one who wants me for myself—flaws and all. Most importantly, I want the guy who knows me better than I do.

Can any of us hear Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" without thinking of this scene?
 

What is the real appeal of the good guy? It’s not his easy-to-overlook handsomeness, his subtle charm, or the polite way he treats those around him. Yes, he’s loyal, witty, thoughtful, and gets those around him on an intrinsically deep level. However the true appeal of the good guy is his emotional availability. He’s not some prickly coconut that you have to crack before an emotional connection can be made. He’s ready and waiting to give you everything.

Another wonderful thing about the good guy is his underdog heart. To get the girl, he has to persevere against the Blaines of the world openly, creatively and with his whole being. But the good guy’s heart is a fragile thing. When he gives it away, he gives it all. This tender vulnerability is at the center of his appeal. Unlike bad boys, he can be irrevocably decimated by love. (Ever notice good guy stories contain a lot more angst? And I love me some angst!)
I still root for Duckie every time I watch PiP.
 
The good guy is like a hidden gem. While bad boys wear their sexy on the outside, the good guy’s sexy exists on the inside. Like a flower waiting for the caress of spring, he’s just waiting for the right girl to coax it out of him. And when he blossoms, it’s a beautiful thing.

Recently I’ve become a bit obsessed with the Winchester brothers of SUPERNATURAL. While Dean is awesome with his snarky comebacks and his swoon-worthy charm, I’m a Sammy girl all the way.
Somehow I lost a whole hour swooning over Sammy pictures while writing this post.
 As a writer, I’m also obsessed with the good guy. So much so that my debut novel, THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN had two of them. Gabriel is heavenly—quite literally. Although he’s in mortal form, he’s nearly perfect and my heroine, Alex, can’t help but fall in love with him. He’s also a metaphor for first love. I mean, what better symbolism for the idealistic perfection of first love than an angel.

Derry is not so perfect. He’s the flawed best friend who knows Alex better than she knows herself. Don’t get me wrong, the angel is *insert swoon* AMAZING. But what really intrigued me about this story was the boy who comes after the angel. Does Derry even have a shot? I guess we’ll find out in book 2 of THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE KEEPER.

In the DOON series, I write sweet, emotionally available young brother Prince Duncan MacCrae. (Who sounds a lot like Sam Winchester, but I SWEAR I never even watched SUPERNATURAL until after the first DOON book sold!) Duncan is a wonderful contrast to his coconut of an older brother Crown Prince Jamie MacCrae (written by Lorie Langdon). Much like the Winchester Brothers, one of my favorite things about DOON is you get both a bad boy and a good guy without some weird love triangle. With DOON, I can be TEAM JAMIE and TEAM DUNCAN. But if I had to chose...well, sorry Lorie, I'm a sucker for a good guy-especially one of my own making!

Find out more about DOON at The Dooniverse.

YOUR TURN: Are you a Dean girl or a Sammy girl?

Until next time!

Carey

Monday, December 2, 2013

Good Girl Goes Bad

Full disclosure: I'm a Good Girl. Always have been. Always will be. I can't do bad if I try.

Well, I'm not even sure if that's true, because I've never actually tried to be bad. It's just not in my DNA.

Make no mistake, back in high school there were lots of temptations, some of which I've written about here on Honestly YA, like this choice episode. But in retrospect, even those uh, mishaps, weren't all that naughty. And most of the boys I ended up tangling with where pretty decent guys on the whole. Nice guys. Good guys. The kind of guys who stopped when you asked them to, even after they'd had a few beers themselves.

And now that I think about it, most of them were soccer players. Though I'm not sure whether that means anything.

But maybe it does. None of them were delinquents. They all had after school jobs or extracurricular activities that kept them out of trouble. And, despite the fact that I grew up on Long Island in the 80s, none of them drove a Trans Am.
And absolutely none of them looked like these guys:
Poison
Motley Crue
Because if I'd brought home one of these dudes, my mother would have thrown him out on the porch right after she'd held him down and shaved his head.

So I stuck to the Good Boys. Even in my entertainment choices. This guy?
I thought he was a total dirt bag. Sure he had a troubled past and an abusive family, and blah blah blah, but he smoked pot, looked like a slob, and ew, hadn't washed his hair in like, forever. And he was totally going to ruin Claire and her reputation.

And this guy?
Complete sociopath.

Even Danny Zucko was gross with all that Vitalis or whatever it was in his hair. And let's be honest, he wasn't exactly the brightest halogen in the lamp.
I'm not gonna lie, the occasional Bad Boy may have piqued my interest, especially if he was an Outsider.
But even "Do it For Johnny"gets a little old after awhile.

Until...

One Bad Boy captured my heart on film and then tragically, crushed it in real life.
Even as I write this, twenty years after his passing, my heart's squeezing a little. I first noticed him in Stand By Me. As Chris Chambers, he was tough and damaged but also caring and supportive of his friends. He made sure they all got back from seeing the dead guy safe and sound.
Then there was The Mosquito Coast, Running on Empty, and My Own Private Idaho. Plus a bunch more including an Indiana Jones movie. Heck, I even loved him in Sneakers.
No matter what role he played, no matter how damaged or alienated, there was depth in those soulful, Bad Boy eyes. A sensitivity that made you want to reach out and save him from whatever horrible demons were after him.

Sadly, when it mattered most, no one caught him before he fell. And there were so many movies he didn't make. Loves he never had. Which just makes me sad. For him and for all of us because of all the great performances we never got to experience.

Maybe if he'd been one of those Good Boys he'd still be among us. But I'm guessing he wouldn't have been nearly as appealing.

So, here's to the one Bad Boy who managed to thaw my uptight, Good Girl's heart. I hope they've got a movie studio in heaven and that your name's at the top of every marquee.

So what about you, readers? Who's your favorite cinematic Bad Boy? Did River do it for you, too, or is there another boy out there destined to break your heart?

~Lea

Lea Nolan is the author of Conjure and Allure the first two books in the Hoodoo Apprentice Series. The final installment, Illusion, will release in 2014. Chat her up on Twitter or on Facebook.