Thursday, 7 January 2010

This Charming Man

Image: Knut Finstermeier

I've recieved some more feedback on Replacing Angel from writer Robert Dickinson. He read my novel in three settings on his train journey to work and said it was easy to read and well-paced. Overall he liked it, it was just one major problem ...

The same major problem I've had since I started writing this novel: the character called the Man. He's an annoying manipulative man who believes in conspiracy theories. Despite this all women fall for him. Do you know the type?

I've always been fascinated with the fact that so many women fall for complete psychos. So that's what I've been trying to write about. But I've failed. The Man is not charming enough. He doesn't have enough charisma. Three of my four critics have said the same thing: they can't understand why the main character Natalie falls for the Man. It's not enough to state that he's sexy. And he's not sexy in a traditonal way either ... He's got red hair.

So how can I make the Man more charming? How can I SHOW his charming side, rather than TELL it? Please help me!


  1. Well, the best advice I can offer, is - what would make *you* fall for such a character? Maybe you're too aware of what he really is - try to whip him up into the image of *your* perfect bad boy, make him do/say things that would blind *you* to the obvious dangers. If you fall for him, it's more believable that your characters will...I hope that's *some* help...

  2. It's the little sensitive things women see in men that can transform an arrogant wanker into someone that might be worth investing in... Glimpses of something special. The ability to play an instrument, sing, notice things or the eccentric way he executes some mundane task. There has to be a thoughtful element to the character, that momentarily eclipses his less appealing qualities.

  3. Well I fell for someone who was very charismatic and certainly manipulative if not a bit psycho and a lot of it had to do with power I think and believing that he somehow secretly saw things in me other people didn't see. Anyway I can't tell too much about how your character comes across without reading it, but perhaps if you make him slightly mysterious so your female character always wants to know more. And you could focus on her reactions to him... e.g her heart starts beating faster when he focuses on her etc. Or on the thoughts flitting through her head.. like she suddenly notices how intense his eyes or how unusual in colour etc etc. Also if his moves are unpredictable but exciting, that would also make him stand out from the crowd as an alpha male. Hope that is helpful.... maybe I could read it sometime to see how you've described him.

  4. Could you do more work on his 'back story'...i.e. show his thoughts a bit more? Make them include some intriguing softer side? Is any of the book written from his point of view? Alternatively is there stuff from Natalie's background that without being corny would make her gravitate towards The Man (that you could develop further)? I'm thinking dad issues, you know... i'll let you know if I think of anything more helpful!