Clash of the Titles Conqueror
by Jennifer Slattery
Creating authentic, dynamic, yet admirable characters is perhaps the hardest part of writing. This is especially true of Christian fiction. Let’s be honest, how many novels about Pollyanna have you read in the past year? And how realistic were they? Perhaps they inspired you to act better, but did they reach to your gut? Did they tap into the deep recesses of your heart or did they skim the surface
labeled as “clean entertainment” but not life-changing?
So how does Clash of the Titles Conqueror, Karen Witemeyer solve this problem? She falls in love with her heroes.
“I’m afraid I’ve had a crush on all my heroes,” Karen says. “After all, what would be the fun in creating a romantic male lead if I didn’t find him attractive myself?” But that doesn’t mean she pastes Mr. GQ on her page. “I’m not just referring to his broad shoulders and dark hair. No, it’s the man behind the rugged exterior that makes me sigh.”
So what are some heart-pounding, yet non-gagging characteristics heroes should have?
Tenderness without sappiness. Strength without dominance. Christ-likeness without perfection. It’s a fine balance that makes the difference between a page-turner and campfire kindling. Characterization is deepened when it stems from personal experience. (Yes, I am giving you permission to become your neighbor’s/co-worker’s/grocery store clerk’s stalker—but if you get caught, I will deny it implicitly!)
As Karen crafts her story, she relives moments from her past. “There’s something so refreshing and fun about remembering what it was like to fall in love. The butterflies cavorting your stomach, the spark of attraction, the vulnerability of trusting another with your heart.”
These emotional memories add vitality to the text. They take characters from dull, one-dimensional puppets to authentic humans learning to depend on grace. Many authors are afraid this will turn their reader away from their characters, but in reality, it does just the opposite. It draws them to them on a deeper level by showing their humanity, their vulnerabilities, and their need for Christ.
Think about it for a moment. Pause to remember a time when you’ve felt closest to your spouse or a dear friend. With my husband, although I am attracted to his strength and steadfast character, it is often his moments of weakness that touch me most.
By incorporating your hero and heroine’s weaknesses into your story, you enable the two to complete each other, as demonstrated in Karen’s novel, A Tailor Made Bride.
“Hanna stirs Jericho’s heart like no other woman. Being with her softens him in a way that makes him feel stronger instead of weaker.”
She softens him, and in so doing, makes him stronger.
Or as Genesis puts it, the two shall become one. If we were complete, we wouldn’t need each other.
Visit Karen’s website to find out more about her debut novel, A Tailor Made Bride, then hop on over to Clash of the Titles to get to know our next two competitors.