Thursday, May 10, 2007

The turning of the worm

It's official. Old Project is now my huckleberry again, and New Project, for a number of reasons, has lost my interest. I still think it's a great idea, I'm just not desperate to work on it at the moment. It's not, you know, finished and edited the way OP is.

Plus, I had occasion to re-read OP the other day and still really like it. So there. Let's hope I'm not the only one.

Not to mention I have so many projects on my plate right now it's not even funny.

BUT, that's not the point of this post. The point here is about Rex Harrison, and irritating heroines, and why they're irritating.

I mentioned the big old vacuous bitch heroine I wrote. Did I mention the plot of that story? It's a vampire "My Fair Lady", but she's Professor Higgins.

Yeah. Turns out, persnickety, rude, arrogant women aren't nearly as sexy or interesting as Rex Harrison.

In a man, that sort of commanding presence is waaay attractive. In a lady? Not so much. (BTW, I know I've been using "ladies" a lot lately. I'm not sure why.)

It just made me wonder what other sorts of personality traits and behaviors are good for the gander but not for the goose.

See, it's not just a matter of being unappealing in a woman. It's a matter of making the hero look unappealing.

If she pushes him around and he lets her, he's unappealing. If she's always has the upper hand, he's unappealing. If she keeps secrets from him and he just goes on his merry way, he's unappealing.

Life isn't necessarily like that, no. But in books I like my heroes to always be stronger, faster, smarter, better. The heroine has to be a good match...but he's always a step ahead.

Must be exhausting, being a romance hero.

What other rules can you think of for heros and heroines?


Robyn said...

See, it's not just a matter of being unappealing in a woman. It's a matter of making the hero look unappealing.

You have nailed it. I think a heroine could be a perfect arrogant, annoying witch if the hero is a match for her. But please- no "taming." My dh loves old John Wayne movies; I do too, but there's a lot of spanking going on when the womenfolk get uppity!

A rule I see frequently is that in a story where the H/h are on opposite sides, the heroine must be on the losing side of the war. Norman/Saxon? The man will be French, the woman will be blond. North/South? Heroine will have an atrocious accent and a mammy. Someone must have decided heroes will lose their appeal if they lose the war.

Bernita said...

"Must be exhausting, being a romance hero"
Thinking of that myself. My girl has the urge to fling herself upon his manly chest and wonders if big men must have to put up with a lot!

I like them both to have a sense of personal honour.
And no sneaks, please.

Anna J. Evans said...

I"m with everyone else, the heroine CAN be a bitch as long as the hero doesn't take her shit.

And I've read the manuscript in question and I would say it wasn't her bitchiness that was the problem, it was the fact that she didn't seem to change in response to the hero's goodness. That what made me not like her, not that she started off as a bitch. I mean...don't we all get bitchy from time to time? Lol.

I think the book would rock as long as you let her be more seriously affected by how well big and studly vamp was lovin' her up.

god, I should know better than to try to comment on anyone's blog, roo is on me again! ARGHH!!! How do you deal with this all the time!!


writtenwyrdd said...

But December, if you have the heroine all those things toward the villian, it's either funny or she's cool. Depends on how you write it. And if you go for humor, you can have her be All That but helpless and kittenish to Her Man. He'd still look weak, but it could be funny.

Of course, that wouldn't be romance, either!

Rashenbo said...

Yeah... I don't know that I could swing very long with the other monkeys in the romance writer's monkeynut tree. I just am not sure I could handle all the ins and outs of the hero vs heroine "are they in love and really compatible" battle. :)

I like a strong female character... sometimes I like the female character that needs assistance. Men and Women are not the same. We may be equal in what we can achieve in life and what we can do for tasks, etc. But on the plain ole chemical carbon based-life form level... we are not the same. Men and women don't always react the same or think the same. So, what may be seen as an internal strength in one gender just doesn't seem completely plausible when applied to the opposite sex.

Your question is a good one and I wish you luck! :D

December Quinn said...

Someone must have decided heroes will lose their appeal if they lose the war.

So true, Robyn, and such a shame, because the idea of a defeated man trying to regain his manhood...actually gives me somevery interesting ideas...

December Quinn said...

Lol Bernita! I think they do, actually. And yes, honor is the most important thing of all.

Yeah, Anna, I'm going back and fixing her motivations etc. as time goes on and trying to make her more at war with her new, soft and loving side as opposed to her bitchy judgemental side.

Very true, Rashenbo. We do see things very differently depending on whether i's a man or woman doing te behaving, don't we? :-)
And it is difficult to make sure they're compatible, yes. It's the hardest part of all.

Anonymous said...

A sense of humor is always good in the right doses and with the right timing, even for the bad guy/gal.

Also, I hate naive or stupid decisions. I just watched Hitcher and that happened a lot. One of the stupidest movies I've ever seen. -V95

BernardL said...

Just give me a heroine, Barbi Doll, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Mary the Mouse, as long as when the monster's down, she finishes him off. Is there anything dumber in a book or movie than a woman who clocks the monster, and then runs away when she could have made sure she didn't have to run at all?