I didn’t enter SYTYCW this year and now I am suffering from a severe case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). To distract myself from possibly slipping up and quickly whipping in a last minute entry (I think the deadline is up anyway) I thought I’d do a post on…..
dun dun dunnnn….
THE VIRGIN HERO!
Yes folks, it’s true. My current WIP contains a virgin hero. A tattooed, bad boy virgin hero to be exact and no, that is not a contradiction in terms. Now, I know some people will shriek that it’s not possible to do a sexy virgin of the male persuasion but those that do so have obviously never read A Royal World Apart by the inimitable Maisey Yates (yes, spoiler, sorry). It is possible for a man to be a virgin and be sexy. Oh, yes it is. It is all, as they say, in the execution.
However. Writing a female virgin in this day and age is difficult enough, let alone an alpha male in his early thirties. I mean, are there even men like that around who aren’t geeks, weirdoes or still living with their mothers? And why would you even want to write about that kind of guy?
Well, for me it came about because my Samhain editor said on Twitter she was looking for more stories that contain virgin heroes. And of course Maisey was listening and told me about it, and naturally – because I ALWAYS want to tackle the hard subjects – I thought excellent, there’s my next Samhain story. Easy.
Not. Because it’s fine to think ‘I know, I’ll write a virgin hero’. It’s not fine when the time comes and you actually have to think up a reason for why a tattooed bad boy would be a freaking virgin. I know, I know, I could have made him a priest. Or a sexy geek who’s never really been interested in women before because he likes science too. But oh no. I like to do difficult (yes, I am stupid) so I wanted him to be a bad boy. With tattoos. And a dirty mouth. Because the contrast between that and his virginity was just too, too delicious to resist.
But then, naturally, I had to think up a reason for his holding out. A reason that would encompass his bad dude appearance too, because that’s a part of his conflict as well. This, gentle readers, was not easy and has resulted in a seriously screwed up individual. It’s kind of scary how messed up he is. And yet really interesting at the same time. Role reversal has always been a particular interest of mine and I’m intrigued by how my non-virgin heroine will deal with this guy and what she’ll say when his virginity is revealed. Already I’m feeling very protective of him and my heroine (who has loved him for a long time) is getting kind of pushy and I want to tell her to back off and leave him alone. He has issues, man. 🙂
Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that his virginity is NOT his conflict. It is a consequence of his conflict. And it is his conflict that is the important bit. Because when you have a consequence like this – and let’s face it, it’s an unusual one in this era for men – if the conflict doesn’t make sense or is not deep enough, then the reasons for his virginity won’t be convincing. He’ll come across as either being a martyr or a cry-baby or a whiner. None of which you want for your hero (and I’m hoping to God that my poor hero won’t be any of these.
So maybe there is a lesson here for SYTYCW. Make your conflict simple. Make your conflict deep. Make it about your character. Once you have those things, the story will follow.
Alrighty so who is intrigued by the thought of a virgin hero? Who is crazy pants like me and wants to write one?? (oh and who entered SYTYCW??)