I love the romance novels and hate to see the genre get trashed, especially by outsiders who do not even read the books. But we’re all friends here, right? Somehow I feel it is okay for writers, readers, and lovers of the romance genre to comment in a friendly spirit, even if its not so welcome coming from outsiders. I can say my sister is ugly, but no one else can, right?
So in that friendly spirit, here are the things I hope never again to see in a romance novel heroine:
1) The Too Stupid to Live Heroine. We have all seen her. She is the one who hears the mysterious footsteps in the attic. Her immediate thought is about the villain who is stalking her since page one of the book. He’s fierce, he’s ruthless, and the reader has just read two-hundred pages of build-up to how mean and nasty he is. Yet, armed with her trusting rolling-pin, our girl is going to mount those stairs and look into those mysterious footsteps. I’m rooting for this villain in this case.
2) A Heroine whose only Redeeming Quality is Beauty. It didn’t work for Pia Zadora, and it won’t work in a romance novel. Give me someone I can root for. Very few of the readers were prom queens in high school. Now, I’m sure most prom queens are perfectly nice people (although I was never welcomed into the rarified air they breathed!) but if all I know about a heroine is her stunning good looks, I’ll get bored pretty quickly.
3) Snotty Behavior as an Indication of being “Strong.” This is the worst crime committed in Romancelandia. We all know that readers want to get behind a strong heroine, but sometimes authors make the mistake of thinking this means she should mouth off. Or stand up for herself by being utterly, horribly rude. The otherwise charming movie Doc Hollywood was spoiled for me by the mouthy, annoying heroine.
4) Ridiculous Names. I know we live in the era of Pax, Apple, and Suri…..but please, authors! Don’t spoil your book by saddling your heroines with names like these. In recent years I have seen heroines named Scooter, Desari, Tedra, and Raven. Also steer clear of hard-to-pronounce names like Ishihara and Cryssa. One book had a heroine named Sileas, and I struggled the entire book. The author later added in an interview that it was to be pronounced SHEE-las. Oh well. Lovely name, but I wish she was just named Sharon.
If you’ve got any traits you are tired of seeing in romance novel heroines, give me a shout!