Bad Decisions Make For Fiction Fun
Hello Monday — Madeline here. I had a busy, busy, weekend, how about you? I thought about hurricane Sandy folks who are facing a mountain of clean up, even as I turn into the next week which will be a race to the finish line with deadlines, projects, and community activities. Sunday I spent hours planning how to make everything happen. It felt like a football huddle. Now I’m braced for the impact of the week.
At the same time that I’m scrambling this morning, my dog gives a little sigh as he collapses into a pool of sunlight on the floor for his morning nap. He’ll wake up, stretch, go out for a pee at noon, and then settle down in another warm spot for his afternoon nap. I am quite feeling envious over here. I also have the hiccups.
So let’s get away from all the responsibility and healthy decision making that we do for just a minute, shall we? (I mean, I had oatmeal for breakfast, you?) Let’s talk instead about the delicious fun of living vicariously through a romance heroine with no responsibilities. A heroine who adventurously decides to make a spectacularly bad decision.
Yes, I’m talking the opposite–the exact opposite–of your typical Harlequin heroine. I’m talking the gal who has champagne and a bear claw for breakfast. The one who says ‘yes’ when a guy asks her to fly to Paris. The one who looks for magic.
Bad things happen to good people all the time and romance writers know how to exploit this to bring a tear to our eye. Those Harlequin heroines deserve their happily ever after, dammit. Yet, as that scofflaw slacker Alfred P. Dootlittle once said: “I don’t need less than a deserving man, I need more! I don’t eat less hearty than he does, and I drink, oh, a lot more.”
The bold heroine who makes an even bolder choice deserves her adventure. I cheer for her, I cringe for her, and most of all I relish those decisions that I would NEVER ever make, not in a million years!
At home I am the Harlequin heroine. She’s the kind of woman you’d meet and after ten minutes you know you’d be willing to trust her with your children. That’s me all right. But I don’t read romance to read about myself–do you? I want to enjoy the thrills, chills, and ills of the heroine with the slightly hoarse voice, and much looser morals.
I always wait for the walk sign, but I want to read about the heroine who crosses against the light. I’m not at all surprised when she’s hit by a car. In fact, I rather expected it. Stephen King says he starts a book by imagining what’s the worst that can happen. I listen to the adventures of my much crazier friends and boggle that much worse didn’t happen. They seem to be tremendously lucky.
This is true in the world of romance, too. My heroine is only lightly tapped by a limo. Sure it sends her sprawling into the street, but she picks herself up off the asphalt with only a bloody knee. If anything, she’s in an agony because she’s embarrassed. Yet out from the limo cascade six strapping werewolf billionaires. They stand around her in a circle, brooding and intense while one examines her knee, because he’s also a doctor. Now that’s my kind of morning! ;>
Get out there today and have your cake but eat it too. Enjoy the fruits of your honest desserts, but indulge in a little wickedly sinful romance as well. —-And you poor Sandy people, may your bottled water remain chilled and your electronic devices charged. Kisses to you all.