In Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice, we all detest the dashingly handsome, but stuck up, Mr. Darcy in the beginning. After a poorly-contrived declaration of love at Rosings Park and a secret act of kindness, we all realize we’ve misjudged Mr. Darcy and fall madly in love with the sensitive, lovestruck gentleman. This is what I affectionately call The Darcy Arc. It has worked in The Twilight Saga with Edward and Bella, The Hunger Games with Peeta and Katniss, and even Sex in the City with Mr. Big and Carrie.
A successful Darcy Arc can be accomplished in seven steps.
First, have your Darcy-hero enter the scene with a bad attitude.
When we meet Fitzwilliam Darcy its clear he doesn’t like Austen’s heroine, Lizzie, Lizzie’s family, or the whole town, for that matter.
In Twilight, the whole Cullen clan keeps to themselves, including Edward. Edward literally puts his nose in the air when he meets Bella.
In The Hunger Games, Peeta’s family owns a bakery and is considered well-to-do. Katniss’s memories of Peeta show him tossing burnt bread at her as though she’s a beggar.
After trying to get along to no avail, both our heroines decide that these guys are jerks and they move along. But not so quick!
Next, our hero and heroine are thrown together for some reason.
Darcy and Lizzie dance at a ball. Edward and Bella are lab partners in school. Peeta and Katniss are selected as tributes in the games.
While spending time with one another our Darcy-hero begins making statements or moves that suggest he may be interested in our lovely lady. She begins to question her original opinion of him, but not for long. After a moment, his walls go back up and his bad attitude returns.
Then some danger befalls her that only he is aware of.
In Pride and Prejudice, Darcy’s old nemesis, Wickham, takes an interest in Lizzie. In Twilight, Edward saves Bella from street thugs. And in The Hunger Games, Peeta tries to help Katniss win allies in the training arena.
After this danger, he confesses his love, in an unromantic or suspicious way, but she rejects him.
At Rosings, Darcy delivers that gawd-awful proposal. Edward can’t decide if he wants to kill or kiss our girl Bella. Katniss isn’t sure that Peeta’s overtures or genuine or gameplay.
Its not until they all have time to process a bit more that they come to see that they were indeed wrong about these prickly men.
While visiting Pemberley, Lizzie sees a different side of Darcy. Edward keeps his fangs to himself and watches her sleep. After he saves her life in the games, Katniss is now certain of Peeta’s affections.
As our heroine’s hearts are softening, the hero comes to her aide again, expecting nothing in return.
Lizzie finds out that Darcy saved his sister in secret. Edwards sucks the poisonous blood out of Bella’s wrist without killing her. Peeta proves his love when he’s ready to swallow those poisonous berries for Katniss.
Each of our heroines realizes she definitely was wrong about her hero. She misunderstood this prince among men.
Finally, our Darcy-hero sees a glimmer of a chance in her eyes. When he confesses his love again, she accepts him.
This time when Darcy proposes, Lizzie accepts. Edward pledges his love forever, which is a long time in vampire speak. And Katniss accepts Peeta’s love…eventually.
I followed this seven part plan when I crafted my hero, Khial, in my Pleasure Hound serial. Khial doesn’t hide his distaste for my heroine, Chanyn, when he first meets her. After many ups and downs in the plot, will Khial follow the Darcy Arc and admit his true feelings? And if he does, will Chanyn come to see Khial for the prince he is?
Five hundred years after mankind ravaged the earth, women grasped the reins of the planet and set the world aright.
Chanyn grew up in isolation in the ruins of the Great Destruction. All her life she’s wanted to find her one true love. When she encounters the dashing Lord Dain, with his kind eyes and pure heart, she believes her dreams of love are finally coming true. Until she meets with the roadblock that is her betrothed’s bondmate.
In a world where men outnumber women ten to one, Khial never thought he’d have to contend with a woman entering his bond. He gave his heart to Dain when they were just boys and has been by his side every day in sickness and health. These days it’s mostly in sickness as Dain’s health deteriorates. Though his attraction to Chanyn increases with every encounter, Khial can’t help but resent the young woman who comes into his love story to play the hero, but marriage to her may be the only way to save the man he loves.
To prepare Chanyn for her union with the two males, Lord Dain hires a Pleasure Hound, an ancient order of monks tasked with instructing new husbands, who have little to no contact with women, in the art of female pleasure. Years ago a scandal left the Temple of the Pleasure Hounds near destitute. The young monk responsible for the scandal is given a chance to redeem himself and the temple when he is called upon to train the bonded triad in the orgasmic arts. What starts as a simple ritual soon turns carnal when the monk’s heart begins to yearn for Chanyn, and hers for his.
Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!
Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.
Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.