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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Attraction

Yesterday's post was all about creating evil characters, but there are just as many layers of goodness that can be added to characters we wish to portray as positive. One of the most common threads in a variety of genres is the girl-boy relationship. The entire book can center around their relationship (as in the romance genre) or the relationship could be another thread in a more complicated plot (such as an action-adventure or suspense/thriller).

I just finished reading a book in which the male lead instantly thinks of the girl without her clothes on, the moment they meet. Though the author was attempting to portray the female as a love interest, the affect was sleazy and superficial. It didn't have the desired affect. Why not?

Because we are attracted to people in a multitude of ways, some of which are subtle and some more profound.

Attraction can be depicted with the simple touch of a silky-smooth hand, which creates a surge of electricity in the one the woman touches.

It can be the mesmerizing way the woman runs her fingers through her hair, the man brushes his stray locks off his forehead, the way his collar brushes against the back of his neck or the way a blouse caresses a woman's wrist.

It can be the sensual aroma of a woman's skin, described as spicy or sweet, depending on the rest of the character's persona. Or the fresh or slightly wild scent of a man - perhaps he is an outdoorsman and athletic, or a Wall Street power broker wearing a musk-based cologne.

In The Tempest Murders, Ryan O'Clery is mesmerized by a dragonfly tattoo on Cate's ankle. Her jeans are ankle-length so when she's sitting, the pants ride up slightly, exposing more of the tattoo. She also dangles one stiletto heel as she sits with her legs crossed. Dangling a shoe and exposing the heel of the foot is actually one of the sexiest things men list for a woman to do, according to a recent survey of sexual attraction.

Cate doesn't hit Ryan over the head with her sexuality; yet the most subtle gestures heighten the attraction he has for her. It also heightens the reader's reaction; as any good book progresses, the gestures can become broader, deeper, or more profound, building to the point where the two characters take their relationship to a more intimate level.

Have you read any books where the couple remained with you long after you put the book down? What triggers did each character provide to the other in a subtle but telling way?