I hope you all had a chance to look at the amazing Heroine Week posts at Romance Around the Corner. Such a great discussion about women in romance in both the posts and the comments.
My post was on the unlikable heroine, and the discussion in the comments and Rebecca’s post on the same subject were like little light bulbs all over the place helping me realize why it is I like the “unlikable” so much,
Also fitting for heroine week was reading Mary Ann River’s novella The Story Guy, which if you’re a part of the romance community at all you’ve probably already seen the gushing reviews. And they’re all right on the money, because this novella was fantastic.
What really struck me with this novella though was the heroine. She is not unlikable in the least, and yet she entered my list of favorite heroines. A list which is populated mostly by prickly, kick ass, “unlikable” types. Carrie is kick ass in her own way, but it’s a very different way.
Carrie is nice. She loves her job. She loves her parents and friends and is relatively content. She has no terrible tragedy marring her life. She’s not hugely flawed or unbelievably perfect. She is very real. More so than perhaps any other character I’ve read in romance Carrie was someone I personally related to. I understood her because she was so much like me.
And so heroine week and reading The Story Guy kind of came together to put this bright shining point on why it is I like the “unlikable” heroine so much.
She feels real. Flaws are real. Selfishness is real. I see my flaws in giant blazing 3D, so heroines that are flawed and not always good at being around people are heroines that strike the “real” chord for me more so than uber sophisticated, sleek, successful or meek, dewy-eyed, self-sacrificing Cinderella types.
But, in Carrie, despite her general likeableness, I found pieces of myself in such clarity, she was real and 3D and all I look for in a heroine. A crap way with people is going to be the thing I relate to the most, but just being an average, doing-the-best-I-can person is also incredibly real and awesome.
I’m off to the RWA conference on Wednesday. I’ll be going to workshops, pitching to agents/editors, participating in Samhain’s book signing, going to a few parties. I’m nervous and uncertain and a million other emotions I can’t even name, but I am so excited to be a part of this community, even if only on the fringes.
Romance is awesome. Writers are awesome. Heroines are super awesome.