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OTHER TOPICS > UF hero(in)es and their personal lives

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message 1: by Scribble (last edited Mar 18, 2013 09:18PM) (new)

Scribble De Dibble (Scribbledoutname) | 11 comments I've got a new question! Err, questions! xD

Between -- or even during -- the ass kicking and the mystery solving, how much of the main character's personal life do you like to see? Are you hoping for lots of or just a teensy bit of drama?

And do you expect their friends, family and love interests to always get tangled up in the danger and play a huge part or do you prefer it when the action is at the forefront and it's mostly just the hero(ine) up against the odds?

Just wondering how much of this stuff you prefer in your books :D


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 237 comments I think that it's interesting to see how a character in these books juggles 'normal' life on top of their supernatural entanglements. It is a great source of conflict that their loved ones and friends might be in jeopardy at times in the books. I wouldn't want it to always be the source of conflict in every book.


message 3: by Eloise (new)

Eloise Kindred | 7 comments Lady Danielle aka The Book Huntress wrote: "I think that it's interesting to see how a character in these books juggles 'normal' life on top of their supernatural entanglements. It is a great source of conflict that their loved ones and fri..."

Hear what you're saying. It's nice to get a mix of both personal life and combat with the dark forces, although it can be hard sometimes to find the right balance. I find it works best when the protagonist desperately tries to keep her two worlds separate, but they still insist on colliding; like if her friends discover who she really is, or they get kidnapped or transformed into something evil. Then you get some heroines who just don't have a normal life. Anita Blake springs to mind. And what she does in her personal life requires an X-rating!


message 4: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah That is a good question! I personally like and need to know details about a character's personal life in order for me to get involved in both the character and the story. Both the Mercy Thomson and the Jane Yellowrock series as well as all the Charles de Lint books are great for that. If all a character does is fight monsters, then they just seem too flat and one dimensional for me to believe.


message 5: by Yzabel (new)

Yzabel Ginsberg (yzabelginsberg) | 28 comments I like it when characters have personal lives, too, and try to balance things out, keep the supernatural out of normal people's lives (or, if their family/friends are also privy to what's behind the scenes, try not to get them involved all the time). The Conveniently An Orphan or Absent Parents tropes are too often played in many books—not only UF, that is. When characters have a normal life outside of thier investigations/magic/powers/etc., it helps make them more human, more like real people, and not just stereotypes or archetypes.

Of course, for me, this needs to be balanced too. If every parent, child, friend and colleague ends up becoming the MacGuffin of the day (kidnapped, threatened, killed...), it becomes boring. But having the safety of such people at stake from time to time is a good source of potential conflict and plot enhancement.


message 6: by Dawn (last edited Apr 21, 2013 10:26AM) (new)

Dawn (dawnv) | 367 comments I like it when you see the full person. It makes you see what is truly at stake. I think this is why I like the kitty series so much. She was the first heroine I have read who was not isolated and she had a family and friends and stuff she had to manage.


message 7: by Marianne (new)

Marianne This all depends upon what the personal life is and how it is handled. When it makes the hero look weak and takes over the series, I don't like it. A good example of this is the Black Swan series by Richelle Mead. By the second or third book a lot of the drama was about which man she would end up sleeping with, what kind of kinky sex they would have, and all of her wishy-washy wibbling over what she wanted to do. It made her look like a total wuss and overshadowed any action the book had.

Jill Kismet, by Lilith Saintcrow, is the exact opposite. Her backstory and her work really affect her relationships, and the way she has to deal with it adds a terrific dimension to the character. It makes her more real without becoming THE story.


message 8: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 233 comments The character's personal life/background has to be interesting for me. If I have to read about someone's ordinary life, I'm on to the next book. That's the thing I like about Mercy. Nothing about her is ordinary.


message 9: by Carly (last edited Mar 22, 2013 03:59PM) (new)

Carly (dawnsio_ar_y_dibyn) | 29 comments I'm mixed. I like to know about their lives, but at opportune downtimes in the dramatic structure. If the heroine is musing on her love-life while Lovecraftian creatures are ravaging across the country or during her last-ditch effort to avert the apocalypse (yes, this happens...), I end up getting frustrated by said heroine's priorities.

I do like the collision between the people of one's personal life and the current dangers, etc. For one thing, any practical evil character is going to try to manipulate the protag by the people around him/her; for another, it adds an interesting moral ambiguity to the character: how much of the general social welfare are they willing to risk or sacrifice to protect their own loved ones? To me, that's a key facet of a character as well as a very intriguing moral issue.


Kathy (Kindle-aholic) (kindleaholic) | 192 comments Carly wrote: "I'm mixed. I like to know about their lives, but at opportune downtimes in the dramatic structure. If the heroine is musing on her love-life while Lovecraftian creatures are ravaging across the c..."

This. I think Ilona Andrews does a good job with this aspect. The everyday life, adaptations to the magic and tech shifts, then as Kate's circle of loved ones grows, what she has to do (and what she realizes she can't do) to protect them.


message 11: by Julia (new)

Julia | 615 comments I like that Kitty in Kitty and the Midnight Hour tries to have a normal job, (view spoiler) I like that she tries very hard and her Mom tries very hard to stay out of the woo- woo stuff in her life.

I like how Mercy's desperate to keep things at the garage normal. No other part of her life is normal, but she so wants things there to be mostly normal.

In Newford's novel and stories by Charles de Lint magic is only there for people who are able to see it. Many in Newford are oblivious...

I just read a very unusual uf/ magical realism/ science fictional novel Zoo City by Lauren Beukes that has amazing world- building, though it's just one element in that world is different eveything differs.


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