Wait for it...
BOYS IN LOVE.
Yes. Boys in love. This should be interesting, if you've read any of the books that I've read this past year... ;)
And now, for Molly's post!
Let's be honest, ladies. When we find ourselves hopelessly attracted to a womanizer, or a snarky, too-cool-for-love type, our daydreams and hopes are fueled by one proposition: the idea that we can change him. Yes, after falling in love with us, he will start respecting women! (Or us, at least.) He will realize his flaws and cast them away! He will apologize, repeatedly! Ideally while feeding us chocolate cake and strawberries, and massaging our feet.
Okay, so it's unrealistic. Love does change and improve people, but usually it's more of a compromise: we'll overlook his condescending remarks if he overlooks our temper, and the relationship can proceed. But love transforming a young man is sure popular in literature, along with happily-ever-after endings, because we readers can't help enjoying such scenarios.
As a writer, I use the theme of guys reforming their flaws for love all the time. In order for readers to feel satisfied, a protagonist usually has to have an "arc"--that is, must change from the start of a book to the end. And since I like to dwell upon romance, I'm happy to make love the reason for the change. Love changes my female protagonists too, but again, let's be honest: it's the beguiling boys we're interested in when we read those YA romances.
In both of my novels so far that could be classed as YA (Relatively Honest and What Scotland Taught Me), I write about attractive young men who start out the book with notable flaws. Daniel Revelstoke in Relatively Honest is something of a player: he knows how to charm girls, but quickly drops them after having gotten his fill of adoration. He's never been in love--that is, not until he meets Julie. Though she's off limits for a couple of seriously good reasons, he builds up an inferno of a crush on her, and soon finds himself not even wanting to be a womanizer anymore, just a boyfriend. Her boyfriend. If there's any way the universe will allow it. *Dreamy sigh*. Yeah, that's pretty much the effect we'd all like to have upon a Casanova. (In fact, in the movie Casanova with Heath Ledger, the same thing happened.)
In What Scotland Taught Me, I deal with two young men who each brandish their own form of snarkiness as their defense against the world, which irritates their would-be girlfriends. Gil, a Scotsman, is an indie-music lover, fond of so-ugly-they're-hip clothes and immature banter, all of which acts as armor to hide his heartache. And Laurence is a well-behaved super-smartie preparing to launch into scientific university studies, who excels at pushing his friends' buttons by calling things a little too directly as he sees them. Both Laurence and Gil learn tact and tenderness after getting entangled in close affections with their young lady friends, and end up proving they're made of excellent boyfriend material. Again, *dreamy sigh*.
I suppose I ought to put a disclaimer on such stories: "This is fiction. In real life, don't expect to change a guy this thoroughly." Then again, to judge from true stories my friends and readers have told me, sometimes events do happen that are even more extraordinary than the ones I've written. Might as well keep hoping you'll cause that lovely guy to amend his ways. And while you're at it, consider improving yours too. What better reason to fix your flaws than love?
*slow clap* YES. I agree. That question at the end? Ohmygoodness, yes!
*clears throat* Okay. Moving on...thank you so much to Molly for stopping by with that post! I love the topic. Truly, I do. Now...
To enter to win a free ebook copy of either What Scotland Taught Me or Relatively Honest (winner's choice), comment below. Winner will be chosen at random in one week.
Molly's site: http://www.mollyringle.
You saw it. Comment below to enter! Let us know what you thought of that wonderful post! Yes, since it is an ecopy it IS international. ;)