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"Chloe Harris" really is the pseudonym for two writers, Noelle and Barbra, who've joined forces to write intriguing and sexy stories. A quintessential eccentric southerner, Noelle seems to find a story in almost everything. Ever ambitious to change her stars, she has a degree in Communications. Barbra lives together with her cat ('Princess Mimi'), who isn't very happy that she is spending so much time on writing. But this folly of the living can opener with opposable thumbs is mostly tolerated.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Protagonists 101, Part Four

by Barbra

In my blog series “Protagonists 101” I’d like to analyze stereotypes and how we as writers employ them to our advantage. Part One dealt with The Boss and The General. In Part Two we had a closer look at The Bad Boy and The Trickster. In Part Three we discussed The Best Friend and The Gal With Courage. Part Four now will examine The Charmer and The Lost One.

The Charmer is funny, witty, irresistible and has a (seductive) way with words. He is irresponsible on the verge of being unreliable. He believes he’s been made to make women happy in every possible way. He doesn’t like hard work; he rather earns his living with a game of poker, for instance. Typically, The Charmer is the second son and therefore never learned to deal with responsibility.
If he were in the basement with the unconscious lady and the time bomb, he’d most likely charm the villain rather than tending to the lady or the ticking bomb. He’ll use brutal strength to run down the door only as a last resort; more likely he’ll be rescued by the ex who happens to pass by and is still in love with him.

The Lost One is the prototype of the damsel in distress. She needs to be saved (especially from herself) by the knight in shining armor. Her naivety charms the hero instantly. Even so, she’s determined. She bears the cards life has dealt her heroically. All the same, she secretly longs to be rid of those burdens (although she doesn’t really do anything to actually get what she really wants out of life, because that’s the hero’s task).
In the brawl situation she’d rely on the hero to get her out and to safety. If that doesn’t work, she’ll hide in the corner. However, should some hothead come too close to her, he’ll suffer for it. She’ll draw her Colt M1911A1 semiautomatic pistol hidden in her garter and fire at will.

This constellation very much reminds me of Justin Herne and Sarah Wylde in Joey W. Hill’s If Wishes Were Horses. Can you come up with other fictional characters that are The Charmer or The Lost One type?


Noelle said...

I'll take the easy road and say Madeline Hunter's The Charmer. :)

I think there can be a little bit of the bad boy in The Charmer so I see a few characters I've read being some of both. I also think the people in the post below might actually fit into this category better than any other so far but it too early in the writing to tell.

I do enjoy these types a lot. And who says playing cards isn't hard work if you're doing it right. :)

Samantha Kane said...

Wow. One of my books in the planning stage is these two exactly. It's a science fiction, but you've hit the nail on the head.

Several Susan Elizabeth Phillips characters come to mind, Natural Born Charmer, Heaven, Texas, Match Me If You Can. I really enjoy these two because I think it can make for some lighthearted romantic comedy with just the right touch of pathos.

Anonymous said...

Aww… Dante… *sigh* He is a very charming character, isn’t he? *sigh again*

Of course you’ve got to be a little bit of a Bad Boy to be truly charming! And you’re absolutely right, Noelle. Playing cards - and winning at it! - is definitely hard work. It’s not just a means to earn one’s living; it’s a philosophy as well!

I also love these character types. There seems to be no limit to the wickedness a Charmer can come up with and the Lost One is bound to head toward trouble and giving the Charmer a hard time getting her out of it.

Anonymous said...

Samantha, you’re absolutely right. These types together is the basic ingredient for a wonderfully romantic and still light-hearted comedy!

That just goes to show that the "Protagonists 101" series is not just something I made up!

Ooh, a sci-fi you say? Hurry up! I want to read it! *lol*

Noelle said...

You know there is not enough Sci Fi Romance. I hope as Prarnormal wanes it gets more popular.

I've been thnking about other Books with these types and one I think that didn't get this right was Julia Quinn's The Lost Duke of Wyndham.

Samantha Kane said...

I have not read The Lost Duke of Wyndham. What went wrong there?

I love science fiction, much more than paranormal. I tried several times to write a paranormal, but my heart wasn't in it. But when the opportunity came to get in on a sci fi continuity series at my publisher I grabbed it.

My first in book in a trilogy within the Hunter For Hire series comes out next month. It's called Tomorrow and it comes out on April 22. I had so much fun writing it! This book has a Charmer and a Lost One, too, But it's a menage, so the third is more like the Boss, lite. LOL And the Charmer tries to be the Boss at the beginning, but everyone sees through it. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy it!

Noelle said...

Honestly I can't tell you what went wrong with The Lost Duke. Which is part of the problem I guess. The whole thing was Meh. He seemed like he was suppose to be charming but he didn't really do anything for me past the opening scene.

I will check out Tomorrow for sure.

Samantha Kane said...

Okay, truth. I haven't read a Julia Quinn in a while because I found this happening in the last few books of hers I did read. She just wasn't grabbing me with her characters, although I loved the first few books in the Bridgerton series. But that's why I haven't read The Lost Duke of Wyndham, or the other one that goes with it. I'm sorry to hear that this seems to be a trend with her. She's a good writer.

You can see my new cover for Tomorrow at my blog.