What's Wrong with Nice Guys?

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I'm listening to Can You Keep a Secret, where the heroine breaks up with her boyfriend, who loves her and wants a commitment, after she meets sexy American Jack Harper. I felt really bad for Connor, who really loved her, though she understands he's not the guy for her.

Then I watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona again and the main character Vicky (not heroine, you notice) is engaged to a man who does love her though he's very concerned with outward trappings....very like Connor from the book. Vicky becomes very confused when she meets sexy, free-spirited Spaniard. Her behavior isn't fair to her nice, shallow guy.

As I'm revising Surface, I have to work on the scene where my heroine has to leave the nice guy who helped her get over my hero, her ex-husband. I feel sorry for Jonathan, because he did love has and was ready to give her the life she thought she wanted.

So what's wrong with good guys? Is it just that they don't work in fiction, or do women just overlook them? And what happens in the long run?

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5 comments:

Charity said...

Do you have the conference sessions on CD from 2008 or 2007? On the “best of 2007” (included with the 2008 session CDs) are Michael Hauge’s sessions on character transformation, from identity to essence and he goes into one of the best explanations I’ve heard for love triangles.

Basically, during the story, the protagonist goes from her identity to her essence. Identity is the safe, but trapped (and false) existence. Essence is her destiny, her true self. Living in your true self is terrifying but fulfilling.

For a love triangle, the man she leaves represents her identity, and the one she ends up with, her essence.

I guess that’s why the “wilder” guy wins, since living in your essence is supposed to be a bit dangerous. But I don’t see why you couldn’t turn that paradigm on its ear.

But really, listen to the sessions if you can. I’ve recapped this not so well. ;-)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Maybe good guys don't create enough conflict. They're just too... good. LOL!

Toni Anderson said...

Mary, I've been catching up with your posts :) I hope Trish and JoAnn's moms are OK.

I love nice guys--I think you could turn a nice guy into a really bad guy just so he could get the girl :)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I think Jennifer's close, but backward.

I think heroines often leave nice guys because it creates MORE conflict. If they leave jerks, who cares? :) No tension there. Plus, if they're WITH jerks in the beginning, we think the heroine is stupid.

Of course, the urban fantasy I'm working on has a triangle where the heroine doesn't end up with the nice guy, but then his book is going to be the sequel, so it's okay. :)

MJFredrick said...

Charity, I do have those CDs, and I'd forgotten! Thanks! I loved the Michael Hauge workshop!

I just feel sorry for the nice guys. Like Natalie said, if she leaves a jerk, who cares, but if she walks away from a sure thing, like in Can You Keep a Secret....well, I guess it's hard to keep sympathy for her, ya know?

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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