Tuesday, July 15, 2014

He's Just Not That Into You - Women Scorned and Exes by Alison Henderson

Our topic this month, He's Just Not That Into You, got me thinking, but not about the movie. Since I've never seen it, I had to think of something else. I let the words of the title roll around in my brain until they could make a connection of some kind. Here's what I came up with: He's Just Not That Into You made me think of a woman scorned (like Sharon Stone in Fatal Attraction) and also the whole idea of Exes.

Both these themes can make juicy fodder in romance novels, but I've never used either in my stories. I wonder why. They both provide excellent built-in conflict. The woman scorned could be either the heroine or an antagonist. If she's the heroine, she could have been dumped by the hero or another man. How would that make her feel and behave? If she is the antagonist, does she come after the man who dumped her (the hero) or his new love interest (the heroine)?

An ex-lover or spouse can be either a villain, a comfortable old friend, or something in between. Having a past with someone can add elements of jealousy, regret, or outright fury. 

Since I have no personal experience writing characters like this, I'm going to take a little poll. Please chime in and share your ideas.

1. Have you written a story that included a woman scorned? Who was she?
2. Do any of your favorite books include this theme? How did the author use it?
3. Do you like to write about ex-lovers or ex-spouses? Do you like to read about them?
4. What do you think is the most effective use of an ex from a character standpoint?

I've clearly been missing the boat. I need to add a character like this to my WIP. Hmm. I wonder who it will be.



Jannine Gallant said...

I've had an ex-wife who gets along fine with her ex-hub. People have mentioned they like the good relationship between them as a change of pace. I've also had the ex-girlfriend who gets a second chance with her old love. Twice! And I've had an ex-wife who's husband was a complete ass--but I killed him off. LOL Oh, wait, their was an ex-fiance who was very hesitant to jump into another relationship after getting burned the first time around. Okay, I've used this theme a few times. It does add drama. You should go for it, Alison.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I've used the ex before, in various ways. In one book, the ex--a spoiled rich woman--just couldn't believe my hero was through with her and kept showing up at the oddest of places to put the make on him. The heroine overheard some things and ditched the hero. I've used a male ex, who's decided he wants her back, doing some dumb stuff to get her attention and drive the hero a tad high on the jealousy scale. As Shakespeare taught us, comedic relief is good. An ex can make good fodder for that angle or for the scary "if I can't have you, no one can" angle. I find it a good way to add tension, because so many of us have ex's or have children with ex's.

Alison Henderson said...

I don't know why exes have been off my radar for so long, but I've got one in my current WIP, and I'm determined to make the most of him!

Alicia Dean said...

Fun post! I have used exes in quite a few of my stories, in varying ways and levels of impact on the plot. I hadn't really thought of it in these terms until now, though. In my first ever novel, her ex was a very bad guy, a killer, and she had to go into Witness Protection. I can't think of any books right now where exes were used, but I'm sure I have read many that I loved. In my latest, a short story releasing soon, the heroine and hero are exes. He dumped her because he was a commitment phobe, and pushed her into the arms of his friend, who she ended up marrying. Now, said friend is dead, but his ghost comes back to insist my hero stop heroine from getting involved with a man who is only after her money. So...yeah, exes figure heavily into that story. :) I do like the theme of scorned lovers. It does create interesting drama.

Alison Henderson said...

An ex AND a ghost in the same story? Great imagination!!

Diane Burton said...

I've never used an ex but I have the scorned lover. Maybe I've missed the boat, too.

Donna Michaels said...

The first book in my Harland County Series sort of has the 'ex' factor. They were young loves that were pulled apart when she moved, and now they have a second chance. I also have a romantic suspense that involves ex lovers which makes the hero very bitter, but they are forced to work together to solve his partner's murder. And in one of the books in my upcoming spinoff series has an ex fiance that will play a role in the hero's life. Adding an ex to the story absolutely increases tension. :-)