Sunday, April 18, 2010
I’ve just finished plotting and started writing a new book.
The hero is an ex-nerd and I’m loving him. He’s not a nerd now, but at the start of the book he’s back home where that’s how he was known.
Then today Finicky (my daughter) and I ended up watching Can’t Buy Me Love, one of the best nerd stories out there (remember the sweet hearted young Patrick Dempsey trying to win over the popular girl next door?). One of my other favorite movies is Never Been Kissed with the perpetually nerdy Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore)… who gets the guy (yummy Michael Vartan) in the end. Ooh, and how about Sandra Bullock’s character in Miss Congeniality? Love her.
Anyway, I was thinking a lot about nerds.
What do you think of nerds turned hero?
I think it works for a number of reasons.
One, the nerds have this inherent sweetness about them. They’ve been kicked around so they’re much less likely to do any kicking unless they really need to. In fact, I love it even more when they do stand up (especially for the women they love) because it’s that much more of reaction for them. It’s taking them out of their comfort zone (well, Miss Congeniality would be the exception there!) but they’re willing because the person or situation really matters to them.
Two, they use their brains to get what they want. Outsmarting bad guys, figuring out the mystery, seducing the girl… nothing sexier than a high IQ. Especially when he’s protecting you—or kissing you! I’d think it’d be pretty hard to argue with a genius who can give you fifty good, logical reasons why you should go to bed with him. Heck, he’d probably be able to make it sound like it was your idea all along!
Three, they’re generally depicted as a good guy, using their incredible intelligence to research things or build things or invent things. They’re making the world a better place—nothing more heroic than that.
But because my favorite stories--nerd or otherwise-- are romances, I also thought about the love interest. One of the problems with Miss Congeniality’s love story for me was that he’d known her all this time—seen her smarts, her abilities, her wit—yet he isn’t interested until she’s gorgeous. They never did really solve that for me in the movie. (But I’ll watch and likely love anything Sandra Bullock does, so it’s okay). Never Been Kissed is better, as is Can’t Buy Me Love, because they never completely shed the nerdiness and the guy/girl fall for them anyway—in fact, because of who they really are. That’s the best.
In romance novels, Vicki Lewis Thompson has a whole series of nerd books. Which I enjoyed. Lucy Monroe’s hero in The Real Deal is blessed with a mega-IQ too. What are some others? Where do you stand on the nerds? In what instance can they really do it for you? Or not?
Posted by Erin Nicholas at 9:52 PM