Sunday, May 29, 2016
Having a Zealot Overstay His Welcome
If a romantic hero is a zealot, his flaw may be truly fatal.
What is a zealot? A person who is always right in his own mind. On top of that cannot tolerate diverse opinions. He thinks lowly of those who he suspects has the wrong opinion (in the case of terrorists, would rather see them dead). I say “suspects” because many shy away from discourse with zealots, but he knows they’re wrong anyway.
Writing a zealot as a hero in romance—proud of the arc created—is asking for less audience. Readers have been confronted by zealots and they don’t like them. Even zealots don’t like those who inflexibly stand against them. The hero would make any reader uncomfortable. In other words, it is too much to expect the reader to develope empathy for or identify with the hero.
Zealots who might read the story would be saddened if the hero started to change. They’ll put the book down and go out looking for somebody to beat-up mentally or physically (or just call a name).
Zealots often use verbal abuse (bullying) or if literate or trained may engage in conversation in which their target is forced logically (as they see it) to agree with them.
The last zealot I had to deal with disliked the Catholic faith. I like him all right, anyway. An otherwise good man, if misguided. Due to my—nearly a priest—education, I saw all the sophistry or weaknesses in his sideways questioning of how devout a Catholic I was. I answered easily with humor. We continued to play ping-pong. However, I really wanted to focus on the game!
Would a reader put down a book and declare he needs to see the dentist.