Stalkers: They’re Everywhere!

20 May

In an earlier post I tackled YA heroines,  and since I’m in a ranting mood today I’ve decided to talk about their hunky, boring, and clichéd counter parts. The average YA male.

To begin I’d like to start with a profile of said YA Male:

Height: 6’2″

Eyes: sparkling deep pools (usually of a color that doesn’t exist in the real world like gold or turquoise) with lashes like a girl (why? who knows apparently that’s normal)

Build: muscular but lean (whatever that looks like, I think it’s just a cop-out so the writer doesn’t need to decided)

Occupation(s): stalker, body-guard, and/or best friend of the female in question (but most usually stalker).

Weaknesses: over protectiveness????? (does that count?)

Every time I read a YA romance I just want to cry. I want to lay my head down and cry, because these guys/men/boys/werewolf what have you, have no personality. Some how they all boil down to slightly obsessed stalker types for no reason other than the fact that as a werewolf/vampire/radioactive super something they have a freakish fascination with pale, plain Jane girls who have nothing better to do than sit around and be sullen. Or complain occasionally about not having anything interesting to do.

I’m not sure why a guy being a stalker is attractive, because  having a stalker in real life (no matter how long his eyelashes are) would creep me out. And they aren’t even GOOD stalkers. They suck at stalking, and eventually get caught. Which, is pretty sad if you really think about it, because  Jane isn’t the brightest bulb in the bunch to begin with. I guess that’s used as their character flaw since they don’t really have any others.

The YA males of today are rather vapid, attractive, and completely and utterly obsessed with keeping their Jane Doe’s tucked under their protective wing and little else matters. They don’t ever break down, they don’t stumble, or fail, or fart or get stuff stuck in their teeth, or do anything that would cause them to be little strange, or abnormal. Or, you know, Relate-able! Why teenagers continue to insist on reading this stuff absolutely amazes me!

I’m not sure why these YA guys are so attractive. (other than the fact that they are attractive in the aesthetic sense)  Where is the substance? Remove the stalkery obsession, and you have a mannequin with less personality than the cut outs from those Old Navy commercials and little else. All I’m asking is that these ‘guardians’ (if that’s what you want to call them) also be PEOPLE.

I think that’s really easy to forget when you are writing. Every character you write needs to be a PERSON, and PEOPLE care about more than just their significant other. Even if that is a big part of their life it isn’t the ONLY part. That gets lost a lot of times in YA romance because writers become so focused on the plot (which is about the characters relationship) that they forget about everything else their characters need to care about. Especially the male love interest, because the book isn’t told through their eyes  it’s easy to just let them fall by the wayside and pretend that they can live off their lovers presence alone.

That is not the case.

An excellent example of finding this balance in a YA male lies in Suzanne Collins’ book THE HUNGER GAMES. Even though I am team Peeta all the way I think Collins’ did an excellent job of writing Gale. Sure, Gale loves Katniss, but that is only one part of  him. He takes care of his family, he loves to hunt, he is a soldier in later parts of the book, and he is outspoken about resisting the oppression of the government. His world doesn’t revolve around Katniss, even if she is a large part of it!  If one of the cookie cutter guys from another YA romance had been put in his place things would have been a lot different. For instance, instead of staying behind to look after his family and Katnisses during the hunger games, in a blind fit of protectiveness he would have flung himself onto the stage to go into the games with his dearly beloved. Dumb move. Gale just proves that you don’t need to be a stalker to be a successful YA guy!

Please, if you are writing a YA novel, or ANY novel just PLEASE don’t put a stalker in your book unless it’s a mystery. No more creepers! Anyone have a theory about why young women like them so much?

 

 

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8 Responses to “Stalkers: They’re Everywhere!”

  1. kosmopolite May 20, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    Reblogged this on Kosmopolite and commented:
    Reblogged because I totally get this. Though I have one novel outlined, one started in several notebooks and half a dozen short stories that need editing – it often seems like so much more work than going outside or, in my case, watching Geek and Sundry on YouTube (http://geekandsundry.tumblr.com/). It’s a problem. I’ve found working in notebooks allows me to chug along at a couple of hundred words at a time. Try taking a notebook to the park?

  2. Naomi May 21, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    Oh my, FINALLY a voice of reason! I had a Twilight phase when I was 12 and the book first came out when I thought Edward Cullen was the most lovable (imaginary) boy in the world and wanted someone like him. I think it’s because these girls are so insecure and often never have been in a relationship and don’t realise that in reality, Edward Cullen types would be, well, a pain in the arse to put up with. They think it’s so romantic when guys are always there for “their girl” and get possessive. Personally, in TGH I liked Gale over Peeta for exactly the reasons you stated, I mean Peeta’s sweet and kind and everything, but he depends too much on Katniss, I liked that Gale has a life outside of her and cares about making a difference to the rest of the world and not just her.
    Though I’m currently single, when I’m in a relationship, I’ll admit I like being close to the person I’m with, and spending time with them, but I think time apart is crucial, because I have been dependent on someone else’s love and approval in the past and it always ends badly. Clinginess/neediness is just a no-no, it may be sweet at first but in the long run it’s a problem. Guys can’t date me if I act clingy and I can’t stand guys who are too clingy either.
    In Twilight, Bella is just so dependant on Edward it’s ridiculous, because it’s the first time anyone’s payed attention to her and she jumps on the opportunity of feeling wanted and loved.
    When I write, I like to write equally strong and well rounded male and female characters. It’s something I’ve always appreciated in JK Rowling’s writing, take Hermione for instance, she stands up for herself and what she believes in and doesn’t dumb herself down, and the focus is always on her brains rather than her looks. Ron loves Hermione and she loves him back, but the fact they don’t get together for years doesn’t make them depressed all the time. I’m glad the story wasn’t “beautiful, smart, sexy Hermione kissed super sexy, hot, tanned, muscular but lean, blond Ron” because it isn’t realistic.
    Yes, there are plenty of attractive couples in the world but not every couple is made of two models, and I think the personality is more important than the looks, especially in the long run. What do these mindless people talk about? Other than how much they love each other and find each other attractive?

    Apologies for my long comment by the way, but this is a topic I think is important (:

    In a story I wrote, the male character, Damian, is ok looking, he has nice eyes, yes, but they’re just green, not freaking purple (seriously, what is so attractive about unnaturally coloured eyes?), but then aren’t all eyes nice? I’ve never seen someone and thought “Daaaaaamn, you have ugly eyes!” Damian also has an average physique, he’s not particularly fit or overweight, just sort of in the middle. Now, it’s true I like some good abs, because let’s be honest, abs are just…. yeah, um, awkward.. But he isn’t stalkerish or all macho macho, hell he’s the one who breaks down and cries halfway through the novel, though he isn’t weak, he just actually has emotions, and doesn’t try to hide them. As for my female character, Marci, she is pretty, but not in a model-type way. Damian thinks she’s beautiful but only after getting to know her and falling in love with her, she’s not a stereotypical beauty. She has brown eyes, red curly hair, fair skin and freckles, and she’s a curvy girl, I don’t think she needs to have visible hip bones to be attractive, you know?
    Anyway, I think characters should have flaws. Marci is a little jealous and has quite the temper, and Damian is a total pushover. And that annoys Marci and he knows it.

    But anyway, I’ll stop now because this comment is going to end up being longer than your post.. Uh oh.
    Anyway, great post, keep it up (:

    PS. About ‘girly lashes’, personally, I do have to say I’m a sucker for long eyelashes. I don’t know what it is, but I really like a boy with long eyelashes. But just because a guy doesn’t have long thick luscious lashes doesn’t mean I won’t like him!

  3. Kylie May 21, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

    Oh, YES. This is so true. Again, it’s fine for characters to be attractive-but for goodness’ sake, at least give them SOME kind of flaw! And what’s with all this promotion of controlling relationships? Girls are perfectly capable of individual thought and decision-making, yet YA heroes don’t seem to understand that. And I, personally, wouldn’t like someone who thinks I’m incapable of making my own decisions.

    • nkeda14 May 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

      Yes! Exactly! Why all these boys end up being control freaks is beyond me. I know that guys naturally want to protect their girlfriends, but this is a bit extreme. As you said if my guy wouldn’t let me make my own decision I’d tell him a thing or two, and then do what I needed to do anyway!

  4. gabriellan May 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    I feel bad for saying this on an intellectual post but… I love Supernatural! Dean and Sam are awesome 🙂 Jensen Ackles in Dark Angel is also awesome.

    Anyway, to the actual content of the post: completely agree with Kylie. Anybody who thought I wasn’t smart enough to make my own decisions would really get on my nerves. I feel for authors; I really do, especially if the book is written in first POV. Other characters basically cease to exist if they’re not on the main character’s, so it’s not easy to make them seem like they have lives of their own without making everything feel too contrived.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that when the MC’s romantic interest is boring as dirt, you can only hide it for so long. An example I can think of off the top of my head is in DeStefano’s books Wither and Fever. Gabriel is only slightly interesting when he’s forbidden from being with Rhine. In Fever, when that ban is gone, you realize he has no life or development of his own.

    Also (now I’m ranting hahaha), it bugs me when the girl is a strong character in book one, ends up with her man at the end, and turns into a possum in book two, letting the guy boss her around and tell her what to think and feel. She loses all her good qualities because her life revolves around her boyfriend, and that’s all she ever thinks about.

    Okay, now I’m done.

    • nkeda14 May 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

      Ha-ha no it’s cool. I like some paranormal, but only ones without stalkers :/ and Sam… OMG I LOVE SAM!!! Okay, done fan girling.

      Anyway, you are right about Gabriel from Wither. Honestly, I thought Linden was WAY more interesting then he was, and now I really don’t want to read Fever. I’m nervous about getting into it. I mostly only picked up Wither because of the cover anyway. That’s embarrassing I know.

      Possums… they haunt my dreams!

      • gabriellan May 23, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

        Sam was a good boyfriend. He didn’t stalk his girlfriend, for as long as she was alive anyway, and they were both very sweet to each other.

        I picked up Wither for the cover too. Haha. I’m glad Linden’s making a reappearance in book three. He’s a good guy, even if his father is off the deep end crazy. Heck, even his dad is more interesting than Gabriel.

      • nkeda14 May 23, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

        Yes, he was creepy… but still more interesting! Now that is just sad. ha-ha!

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