Monday, 27 January 2014

Day Four of #TemptedToWrite

Day Four:  What Does Your Heroine Think about Love and Why?

Heroines are different from heroes (not the least because of the whole gender thing), but also because they are usually the gateway into the story for the reader.  A heroine has to be more than just complex - we have to be able to understand her.

Her stance on love has to have a reason; if she's anti-romance, there needs to be a good reason why, and if she's all hearts and puppies and "yay love!", there needs to be a reason for this also.

So what makes the Modern Tempted heroine's approach to love different?
For me, the key thing is that she doesn't need love or man in order to be happy.  It sure makes everything a hell of a lot better, but she's sassy enough to stand on her own two feet, and she has a career that fulfills her, or at least is working on a dream that'll end up that way.

And in some ways that's what makes her so much more easier to relate to.

Example Number One:  Gina in Heidi Rice's Maid of Dishonour

She couldn't tell him that.  Would never tell him that.  Because it would mean revealing something she had decided a long time ago he had never really been a part of.  The pregnancy had been an accident, a biological blip, that had ended almost as soon as it had begun - and forced her to re-evaluate who she was and what she was.  But she'd come out the other side.  She hadn't thought about it in years.  And if she could get away from him, she wouldn't have to think about it now.
What makes Gina stand out?  The fact that she has to renegotiate a past linked to her hero, that he has no idea about, means that her reactions seem to him to be erratic at times.  What makes it particularly interesting for us is that we know the truth.  Heidi Rice reveals to us what happened in the past and we can see what's happening now - even if Gina can't!

Example Number Two:  Ellie in Joss Wood's If You Can't Stand the Heat...

Hearing water running in the basin, Ellie abruptly sat down.  She was instantly catapulted back in time to when she'd spent a holiday with Mitchell and his mother - her grandmother Ginger - in London when she was fourteen.  He'd run to Bosnia to do a 'quick report' and had come back in an ambulance plane, shot in the thight.  He'd lost a lot of blood and spent a couple of days in the ICU.
It wasn't her favourite holiday memory. 
What makes Ellie stand out? everyone's parents impact on them in one way or another, but Ellie's disfunctional relationship with her father, and the way it colours her view of love and life, gets in between her and her feelings Jack.  Wood manages to create a complex character whose fears we can understand and empathise with.

And as for my favourite, it has to go to Jenny Roman, for her character of Pippa:
If you asked Pippa Coulthard if she believed in true love, she’d probably wrinkle her nose, and then make a joke or change the subject. 

She’s not sure if she’s ever been in love; proper, all-consuming love. 

Yes, she’d once thought she had been – with her ex, Ross, a lad she’d known since school days. But a few months ago, their long on-off relationship finally fizzled to permanently off, and since then – despite plenty of offers – she's decided to devote herself to her career. 

She’s told herself she’s in no hurry to find a man. After Ross’s thoughtlessness, she’s happy to wait for that special someone - warm, patient and caring. But as she’s about to find out, you can’t make up rules about love – not with Leo Montgomery around.
What makes Pippa stand out? For me, Pippa encapsulates the Modern Tempted heroine.  She's confident, got a career and isn't particularly fussed about falling in love - if she even believes it.  And that's what makes us root for her all the more.  We want her to fall in love with Leo, and we want her to fall in love hard!

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