Friday, November 11, 2016

Great Plot: Smug Protagonist & Zero Chemistry between Main Characters

   I am almost finished reading a romantic suspense novel that has an intriguing plot and some really great plot twists. 
   I can't put it down--even though I don't like the female lead. 
   And I can't feel any chemistry--as in none at all--between the two main characters who say they are falling for each other. I won't mention the fact that the conflict between the two and the obstacles to their happiness, of which there aren't many, seem contrived.
    But I'm telling you, the author nailed it on the plot, which is based on compelling subject matter.
   In spite of my fascination with the plot, which is strong, the smug bluntness of the main character grates on my nerves and appears to be an attempt by the author at presenting a strong female lead. But she isn't coming across that way to me, the reader. at all. 
   Getting back to the romance, there is such a disconnect between the two main characters, that in spite of the characters saying they are attracted to each other, my skin kind of crawls when they touch or kiss. The male protagonist is nice enough but kind of vague. He seems more like a secondary character than the hero of the story.
   The subject matter that drives the plot is gripping, as I said, and this story is completely plot driven. 
   There are a few secondary characters I can see clearly, The author did an excellent job of fleshing one out and making him likable, but there is no hint of romance between him and the main character, and I am almost to the finale, so I don't think there are any surprises in store there. 
   Now, if  I am having this adverse reaction to the female lead and can't see the male protagonist clearly because the author planned it that way, and is planning to bring about a redemption of her main character's goody goody character traits, and if it turns out that another plot twist is coming, and the nice enough hero isn't a hero at all but a bad guy instead, and the well developed secondary character steps up to the plate and becomes the hero, then, Wow! The author is a brilliant writer indeed. 
   I hope that is the case. 
   If so, the story will definitely be reviewed.
  I am posting this non-book-review now, even though I am not quite finished with the book,  and even though these problems with the story may turn out to be deliberate on the author's part (I hope so!), because I felt my reaction to the characters and their relationship could indeed be due to serious flaws in the story and character development, and are things that we, as writers, should be looking out for as we craft our own characters and develop relationships in the novels we write. 

 J Ellen Andersen (Jocelyn Ellen Andersen) is best known for her book, Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence.  She is also editor of the Hungry Hearts Online Bible Commentary  and is currently at work on her first novel! For more information about her work, visit her website at

No comments:

Post a Comment