Wounded Characters Part II by Nancy Brophy
Personalities mold us (see Part I, Friday November 18, 2011), but social economics factors are heavy contributors.
What if your hero/heroine’s family was wealthy? Not just a few bucks in the bank, but owned so many homes/private islands/retreats they’d lost count of the number. A common fantasy we harbor, involves slipping into the life of the idle rich, but most would have no idea how to handle the money or the situation. Like lottery winners, we’d have to declare bankruptcy within a few years.
But if one were that rich, how would another person overcome your character’s inability to trust? Is it the person they like or the money? Would they have to be even richer to prove their sincerity? Can one really fall in love with a rich man as easily as a poor one?
In the regency period, you could expect a marriage based upon an exchange of goods and services. An arrangement with status would allow you, a rich American, to marry a poor but upper crust titled aristocrat who found you crass, but needed your money.
What if the life your characters lived turned out to be a lie? Like the children of Bernie Madoff? Or Aldrich Ames? What if everything they valued – respectability, honesty, financial stability, position within the community – disappeared overnight because of someone else’s actions?
Or what if your hero/heroine lived their entire life under the shadow of an evil relative? Not imaginary, family secret evil, but known by all – scorned and hated solely because of a last name? Living in Germany with the last name of Goebbels or Hess cannot be popular even 65 years after the end of WWII.
And then, there is the physical aspect. Most of us fall in the middle of the looks continuum, not hunchback of Notre Dame ugly and not Sleeping Beauty beautiful. But if strangers wrote sonnets to your appearance, would anyone ever see you for who you truly were?
Catherine the Great had young lovers into her old age when she was so fat it was reported she needed two chairs to sit. Russian families lined up their good-looking sons, no matter the age difference, to try and catch her eye. Because when she was finished with them, she showered them with gifts, money and position. Catherine avoided marriage because, for her, power was more important, and she was not fooled into thinking extravagant gifts meant love.
Even our superhero must have vulnerabilities. Kryptonite can be overcome but finding a person who can see beyond the mask is difficult. My friend, Jessie, hated the ending to Captain America (SPOILER ALERT!) because she wanted the hero to return to the heroine who liked him even when he was a wimp.
Whether you are fictional or real, the truth is simple. It is hard to find someone who truly loves and understands you, as it is popular to say – warts and all.
Posted on November 25, 2011, in General and tagged Bernie Madoff, Catherine the Great, General, Hitler’s henchmen, Nancy Brophy, menopause, writing about love, memories, Regency historicals, Superheroes, wounded characters in writing. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.