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Thread: The Heroine with a twist

  1. #1
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    The Heroine with a twist

    Author Sherry Thomas had an interesting blog post about the anti-heroine, something she'd like to see more of in romance books.

    I pretty much agree with everything she said (so much so that I commented--i'm commenter numero uno). I also wanted to hear from folks here about this issue.

    So, after you read the post,

    1) Tell me about your own heroine with a twist (if that's what you've written)

    2) Do you think anti-heroine's have a chance at seeing the light of day (i.e., being in a published book)? Anyone get editorial or agent feedback about this type of heroine regarding their own project?

    3) Can you recommend any books with an anti-heroine (the kind with a redemptive character arc, of course)


    My current project features a sexy space pirate out to avenge the deaths of her family. She's captain of a ship loaded with kick-butt artillery, and she's not afraid to use seduction, especially with the hero, to get what she needs. Outside, she's cool, crafty, and ruthless. Inside, however, she's very conflicted and worries her soul will be condemned for all of eternity.

    What about you?

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW mirrorkisses's Avatar
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    I think that an anti-heroine can definitely get published. It's just a matter of finding the right publisher. Selling a story like this to a romance publisher may not be the best idea.
    I really can't think of any anti-heroines at the moment, but I don't believe it can't work.

    My heroine has no twist... The only thing that might seem anti about her is that she can definitely be a bitch. The reason is she has a lot of insecurities.

    huh... sounds like me. what a surprise.

    oh yeah, I'd like to say, a character does not have to be evil to be an anti-hero. It can simply hold the traits that people don't consider to be desirable. I have an example now: Holden Caulfield.

    umm and the cast of revenge of the nerds.
    Last edited by mirrorkisses; 09-30-2007 at 01:50 AM.

  3. #3
    Momma Wolf Sassee's Avatar
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    My character isn't innocent. Hell, she starts the book getting drunk and sleeping with a stranger, and she wasn't a virgin to begin with. Does she have "the magical hooha" immune from disease/virus that also cures men of roaming eyes? Well, since she slept with a werewolf and picked up that "disease" STD style, I would have to say no. Does she even have a boyfriend? Nope. And the men interested in getting in her pants only want to do it for power, not out of personal interest in her. Everyone wants her to pick a mate and she's like "Eff that, I'm not picking shit." At the end of the book she still doesn't have a boyfriend (though she does have a decent guy interested).

    Does she care about other people more than herself? Not in the beginning. She wants everyone to leave her alone. She sees a murder on the news and thinks, "oh god, that could have been me" (because it was supposed to be, but that's besides the point). She isn't completely heartless - when her friends and family are threatened she comes to their defense. So she does care, it's just not readily apparent.

    I do have to say that this one applies to me:

    Those mean to her are assured of a nasty end.
    I can't help it. They deserved it. One wanted to kill her and the other... well yeah I won't get into that, but it was worse than killing.

    I really like this article. Off the top of my head I can't think of any characters like this already in publication, but I'd like to read about 'em if anyone has suggestions.
    SASSEE BIOCHE
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  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW mirrorkisses's Avatar
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    speaking of anti-heroines, wikipedia has a lot of anti-heros named, but no anti-heroines. perhaps some should be posted. (irritated)

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW Claudia Gray's Avatar
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    I hope that Lexie in Delilah will be such an anti-heroine. She's done some terrible things in her life, and caused her husband a lot of pain. She has guilt but she won't apologize for any of it, and she's about to get fiercer than ever before. And the men in her life are only going to love her more the tougher she gets.

  6. #6
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    I wrote a romantic fantasy where the heroine is very sexually experienced (the hero isn't, so she has to help him out a little when they have sex). She's also manipulative enough to charm men into confiding certain inside information to her. Plus, she's sterile, she knows it and she accepts it - she's not exactly dying inside because she can't have babies. So, not exactly the typical romance novel heroine.

    She stays unscrupulous to the end, but since she falls in love with the hero, who's too honest for his own good, much of her cool calculation is directed towards looking out for him. That'll have to be redemption enough.
    Last edited by Marian Perera; 09-30-2007 at 05:35 AM.

  7. #7
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    can't add anything else right now, but i am loving these posts!!!

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW Josie's Avatar
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    okay. Right now I'm reading a Silhouette Nocturne between bouts of writing a book.

    This is called "Kiss Me Deadly". It's keeping my interest because it's a paranormal and I'm interested in seeing the ending between the heroine and hero.

    She is an anti-heroine in my view. She is a witch out to kill every vampire she can because they killer her family. She's a vampire slayer. Hee hee. But she reluctantly falls in love with a hunky vampire she nearly killed, but he revived himself through a long arduous recuperation. He had nothing to do with the massacre of her family.

    They have a torrid affair trying to keep it a secret because their civilization would frown upon it. He supposedly has taken a love potion by accident which she did not create for him. She is strongly attracted to him, won't say she loves him, but he is positive about the whole affair and the love, etc. etc.

    She starts to feel the redemption routine for many reasons. And she's getting soft...yup it's happening to her.

    I don't know about the end yet...

    She even has Himself (Satan) visiting her because she sold her soul, wants it back, and Himself has a price.

    To me she is an anti-heroine...

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW mirrorkisses's Avatar
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    this has really made me want to write a story with an anti-heroine. I've had an idea rolling around in my head for a month or so, and the nature of the story would make it perfect for an anti-herione. thanks for the idea!

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW mirrorkisses's Avatar
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    So I've really been looking for anti-heroines because they seem to be harder to find than male anti-heros (interesting there. Is that a comment on society's values or what people actually want to read?).
    Scarlett O'Hara, maybe?

  11. #11
    American Aquarium Drinker pepperlandgirl's Avatar
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    My anti-heroine is a whore. Literally. And though it wasn't really her first career choice, she enjoys her work for what it is.

    She is also a murderer. She shot one guy in the face at point blank range. She also arranged to have her "boyfriend" kill her pimp. Later, she set her "boyfriend" up to get beat to death, but changed her mind at the last minute.

    She is a masochist. Her "boyfriend" beats her with a belt in one scene. He's pretty violent with her in general. But she is also a sadist. For every single thing he does to her, she revisits it on him without mercy. (He tied her to the bed and beat her with a belt, she cuffed him to the bed and used a whip. He tattooed his initials into her thigh. She carved her initials into his hip with a knife.)

    She steals money. She'll steal anything that might help her that isn't tied down. She regularly steals wallets from her johns. She never buys anything with the money though. She hordes it because it's the only bit of security she has.

    She lies. All the time. Sometimes she lies just because she can get away with it.

    She'll put herself in direct danger for money. Too stupid to live? The guy who threatened to rape her also got shot in the face. Because she's always armed.

    She's not yet 21.

    When she went back to...um...reconcile with her "boyfriend" she put a gun to his head because she wasn't sure he wouldn't kill her first.

    Nobody is redeemed at the end. Yeah, she admits she loves him and he loves her, but it'd be best for all involved if they are far, far from each other.

    Oddly enough, the rejections this book garnered always said that the hero, Jason, wasn't "romance material." Nobody seemed to notice that Daisy had a higher body count or was a "worse" person.

  12. #12
    Momma Wolf Sassee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pepperlandgirl View Post
    Oddly enough, the rejections this book garnered always said that the hero, Jason, wasn't "romance material." Nobody seemed to notice that Daisy had a higher body count or was a "worse" person.
    LOL!
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  13. #13
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    My next heroine is a junkie.
    http://www.staciakane.com

    FIVE DOWN, a Downside anthology, available now!
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  14. #14
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mirrorkisses View Post
    \ Selling a story like this to a romance publisher may not be the best idea.
    I'm intrigued by your opinion...tell me why you think that. (my SFR is clearly a romance, though, so I may or may not be in trouble, tee hee!)

  15. #15
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sassee View Post
    My character isn't innocent. Hell, she starts the book getting drunk and sleeping with a stranger, and she wasn't a virgin to begin with. Does she have "the magical hooha" immune from disease/virus that also cures men of roaming eyes? Well, since she slept with a werewolf and picked up that "disease" STD style,

    Ok, i really dig that idea...of contracting the werewolf bug via sex...i find that to be very original. any luck with agents or publishers?


    I really like this article.
    I agree, I thought it was thought provoking and well written.

  16. #16
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mirrorkisses View Post
    speaking of anti-heroines, wikipedia has a lot of anti-heros named, but no anti-heroines. perhaps some should be posted. (irritated)
    It figures.

  17. #17
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClaudiaGray View Post
    I hope that Lexie in Delilah will be such an anti-heroine. And the men in her life are only going to love her more the tougher she gets.
    Is DELILAH your project? sounds exciting.

  18. #18
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pepperlandgirl View Post
    My anti-heroine is a whore.
    wow, I think your character wins!

  19. #19
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DecemberQuinn View Post
    My next heroine is a junkie.
    i would so read that.

  20. #20
    Reflections of Reality jodiodi's Avatar
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    My heroines are usually pretty bitchy. One even kills the hero (but since it's a paranormal, that's not necessarily the end of the story).

    I absolutely loathe the 'typical romance heroine'. The one in a book I recently read, while protesting herself to be 'a simple peasant' about every other line, is the only one who has no fear of a man who is practically the devil incarnate. No matter how mean and nasty and cruel and murderous he is, she insists he's noble and won't betray her. This being romance, of course, she's right. Still, though it just grates on my nerves.

    I still don't know how I ended up writing romances. Of course, some might say I don't.
    Jodi locuta est; causa finita est.


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  21. #21
    Li'l Rug Bug clara bow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jodiodi View Post

    I absolutely loathe the 'typical romance heroine'.

    I'll second that, and I'll also add that I'm disappointed by a set up wherein the heroine might be atypical or unusual, but then the author undermines it and weakens the character (e.g., sympathy building is fine, but don't make her a wuss in the process). It's okay for a heroine to be scary for a while, or dominant, or intelligent, or whatever.


    I still don't know how I ended up writing romances. Of course, some might say I don't.
    well if your stuff is anything like mine, then we're both in trouble!

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW mirrorkisses's Avatar
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    So, since you guys are discussing this and I like the idea of an anti-heroine, I have a question for those of you writing stories with them.

    How do you guys create an anti-heroine and keep it interesting? I mean in the idea that the reader will not necessarily like the mc, but they will keep reading because it's a good book.

  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW mirrorkisses's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jodiodi View Post
    My heroines are usually pretty bitchy.

    I still don't know how I ended up writing romances. Of course, some might say I don't.

    I don't read a lot of romance, per se (I'm a chicklit kind of girl), but I notice that I like characters that are "spunky."
    I think that women like characters that are similar to them (or an extreme). What girl doesn't want to be a bitch to everyone sometimes? Also, I don't think a woman has to be a bitch to be strong.

  24. #24
    Reflections of Reality jodiodi's Avatar
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    Clara_bow: I agree, heroines don't have to be weakened to be sympathetic. Too often people tend o equate vulnerability with weakness but they're not exactly the same quality.

    mirrorkisses: I think it's the sheer spunkiness of chick lit heroines that turns me off from that genre (and that the topics just don't interest me personally). However, spunk is a characteristic usually required for chick lit heroines. When traditional romance heroines exhibit chick lit spunkiness, I lose total interest in the story (since I tend to read historicals as far as my preferred romance genre). Also, if I'm reading horror or suspense or mystery, if the heroine is too brave (or spunky) I'm turned off. I mean, if there are monsters after you, and you aren't one yourself, it's normal to be terrified. Too often, the heroines are unbelievably brave.

    As for liking heroines close to our own personality, you may have a valid point. I don't know for sure that the heroines mirror ourselves so much as they mirror what we'd like to think we're capable of. If that makes any sense.
    Last edited by jodiodi; 10-01-2007 at 01:35 AM.
    Jodi locuta est; causa finita est.


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  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW HoosierCowgirl's Avatar
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    Francine Rivers wrote one several years ago, "Redeeming Love," where the heroine starts out as an abused child, ends up a prostitute and is taken to San Francisco during the 1849 Gold Rush. She ends up married to a farmer/rancher for some reason, I can't remember why, sleeps with his brother for spite after realizing she's falling in love with her husband. Then she abandons him hoping he will take the hint and marry a good girl.

    Warning: it does end HEA.

    I liked it but would not read it again b/c some of it is too explicit for my tastes.

    Ann
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