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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Creating Your Villain Using Facts About Real Men

By Dr. Debra Holland

I teach an online class for romance writers called "Understanding Men." I thought posting about "bad" men might be helpful.

In cultures worldwide, the things that trigger male violence in abusive relationships are surprisingly consistent.

1. Women disobeying
2. Women arguing
3. Her questioning him about money
4. Her questioning him about girlfriends
5. His belief that his meal isn't ready on time
6. Her refusing to have sex
7. He suspects her of infidelity

Violent men often have low self-esteem, feel insecure about their relationships, and use intimidation and anger as a way to control their partners. They feel victimized by others/society/government/the boss/women and don't take responsibility for their problems. Alcohol is often a problem, and the violence escalates when he is intoxicated.

A good book for developing both villains/ex-husbands/boyfriends you don't want the heroine to keep is Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, by Lundy Bancroft. This is also a good general knowledge book because if you haven't dated a man like this in your past, one of your friends or relatives has. And I sincerely hope you're not with one now.
I was halfway through the book when I picked up a category romance by a friend of mine. To my dismay, the hero was EXACTLY like the men in the book. I couldn't finish reading the romance. If this had not been a friend's book, I would have vowed never to read another of this author's books again. Be careful of perpetuating the myth that angry, controlling men change out of love for the heroine. They don't.

Have you read romances where you felt disturbed by the hero's attitude and behavior?

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At 11:14 AM, Blogger Judy said...

Debra, what a great post! You're right, love does not change them. They don't see the problem. They refuse to see any problem except to say that it's "Your problem. You're too sensitive. It's just a joke. Can't you take a little teasing?" It took me a long time to realize how incredibly unhealthy it was. And yes, I've read books where I was appalled by the hero and vowed never to read another book by the author. One I read recently had him leaving bruises, and of course very sorry, and all was well, but I think it unnerved me more that the heroine liked his violent behavior. She found it exciting that he was so passionate. Yea, right. NOT. Usually, if I don't like a book, I give it away, but that particular book I threw away.

At 4:19 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

Not recently. I've been pretty lucky in my reading lately!!

At 9:17 PM, Blogger Dr. Debra Holland said...

Good for you, Judy. I'd throw that book away, too!


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