Admit it. The only reason interesting things happen to your main character is because they’re the main character.
Don’t tell me that’s not true. It’s not healthy to lie, especially to yourself.
Fine, fine. If you insist, I’ll listen to your elaborate reasons as to why your MC is the chosen one.
You might just surprise me like E.L. James did with her Fifty Shades of Grey series.
*SPOILER ALERT* (if you care . . . dare . . . whatever)
Why would a successful entrepreneur who loves sexcapades aim his attentions so hard on a naive, average college student? Because Ana (the MC) physically resembles his dead birth mother and he wants to control [PUNISH] the heck out of her! BOOM!!
One of the best explanations I’ve read for why the hot love interest would suddenly be interested in the plain jane MC.
Hate or love this book, but that one concept is psychologically plausible. That’s what kept me reading, not the crazy sexcapades. I’m not one for the erotica genre. I even skipped a few scenes with simple flips of the page and STILL walked away with a good enough read. Now would I say the trilogy is one of my favorites or one that I’d recommend to others . . . that’s a different story.
On the surface, Fifty Shades is chock full of wishful, fanfickory thinking and sex, BDSM style. I’m talking contracts, set rules, a red “play” room, and safe words. The whole shebang. But if you look more attentively, you’ll find that most of the scenes (even a few of the sex scenes) reveal a lot about Grey’s traumatic past and Ana’s potential to play both sides of dominance and submission. From what I read, each scene encompasses a power struggle and an opportunity for growth within and between the two characters.
- Ana struggles to make sense of her own sexuality and psyche more so than Grey’s. What is she open to, what does she like, what isn’t acceptable? Also, is power and dominance linked to one’s gender, age, intelligence, self-esteem, self-confidence, worldliness, or simply a signed agreement?
- Grey doesn’t want Ana to EVER touch his chest and back. This isn’t negotiable. The horribly fascinating thing is there are burn marks on his chest and back. Does Ana eventually get to touch him there? How? Why?
- Grey has former submissives; he isn’t new to BDSM. How did this start? Who introduced him to it? Will the revelation spring them forward or cause them to fall back in their relationship?
- Grey’s former submissives have dark hair and other features that Ana possesses, too. Why? (You know why. I spoiled you)
- Control and manipulation go far beyond the sex scenes. Is their relationship abusive? When is the right time to walk away? Should they trust their instincts?
- Why do Grey and Ana crave such an erratic, off-balance, scandalous, tiring, painful love? Is it the kind of love they think they deserve? The kind of love they never thought they’d fall for? The kind of love that can grow and morph into something healthier?
Further Reading (written by someone with a therapist and lawyer/professor background):
Have you read the Shades series? Or did you spoil yourself by reading this post? Either way, what do you think of what I said? Agree or disagree?
What about YOUR main character(s)? Do you provide a plausible explanation as to why major things happen to them, or do you rely on readers to suspend their disbelief?