That pretty much sums it up, romance writers! And hey, if you're a Women's Fiction writer, stick around, too, because we've got stuff to share with you.
First, you're wondering how I did my research. Understandable.
And here in Seekerville.
And on Twitter.
SOCIAL MEDIA SCIENCE. YES!!!!
So I'm not exactly running Gallup polls. I'm not verifying results with Price, Waterhouse and Cooper (aka: PWC) and I''m pretty much making some stuff up as I go along, but I did DO the polls , so that should count for something. Okay, back to serious results:
We're going to talk heroines in this blog. Heroes will come next, right before Easter. Then settings and secondaries in blog #3 at the end of the month.
Let's do heroines first, and you know why? Because they matter. They matter far more than readers might give them credit for because while we are attracted to the hero...
We empathize with the heroines.
While we want to fix the heroes...(what are we thinking, gals??)
We want to sit down and have coffee with a well-drawn heroine.
So here's how it went, with 107 replies/choices:
1. The Kate Beckett profile (Castle): Independent heroines, maybe a little in your face, strong, assertive, sense of humor but reaches out. (35 votes)
2. Mother Earth profile: Kind, caring and empathetic, loves kids, cats and dogs and will hold frogs. (27 votes)
3. The Martha type: Saucy, sassy, able to handle a job, three kids, the hero and do homework. (25 votes)
4. The Stephanie Plum gal: Sassy, feisty but humble, always seems to be getting herself into some kind of trouble. (10 votes)
5. The Magdalena: The loner who carries a great deal of weight on her shoulders from undeserved guilt. (5 votes)
6. The Boss: No nonsense, stay out of her way, she's got this! Until she doesn't. (3 votes)
So here's the point I got from all of this: #1 and #6 are almost the same person, same profile, but here's the difference: We humanized her more in choice #1. Look at the words: Independent, strong, in your face, strong, assertive, in your face but reaches out...
And then #2 is a crowd-pleasing favorite. She's Becky Thatcher... Laura Ingalls mom Caroline... Ma Walton... She's often the 2nd sister in a trilogy, the one who stays home to run the farm.
#3 is a true Martha... She's got it all, maybe not because she wants to... but because she must. So if she must... she does it well.
#4 seems to be more likely to find her way in a humorous women's fiction story. Janet Evanovich style... The gal who's always getting into scrapes.
Strong writing can work within all these prototypes. And a strong writer can blend things together because real people are a blend. What's crucial is to stay in character all the way... The character can grow... but cannot become someone else.
#5, the loner who carries the weight of the world on her shoulders is my heroine from "Refuge of the Heart", the Maggie award-winning story of a church-sponsored refugee who was held captive by the Russian army in Chechnya before obtaining her freedom and finally a chance to come to America.
It is a beautiful story that's about to be re-published as an indie book, a story that grips the reader and pulls them into Lena's world... But look at how few votes that got in a simple poll.
Here's what that tells us: Any story, told well, can defy the odds.
Let not your heart be troubled... John 14:1
Don't give up on your work if it doesn't seem right. If it's not being received well... yet. :) Because every bit of work you do is preparing you for your goals. Your future. Your chances, possibly magnified.
Believe in yourself but pay attention to what readers want... what they love.
Is that selling out?
Of course not, that's ridiculous! If you know that pink/yellow/green quilts sell well at the fair, is it wrong to create pink/yellow/green quilts?
Very few people drive a Lexus.
Most of us are more in the Subaru/Chevy/Toyota frame of pocketbook.
Writing appealing stories doesn't make us less of a writer... and it can certainly make us more prolific.
Tell me about your heroines! I thought we'd have room for heroes today, but I talked too much. (SHOCKER!!!)
Will I love your heroines? Or want to slap them?
A copy of "Refuge of the Heart" is in the prize vault to celebrate its upcoming re-release...
I hope folks will love it.
I know they will.
They already do.
And huge blessings on Franciscan Media for turning the publishing rights back over to its fiction authors, to give these books a chance to meet the audience they deserve. I can honestly say that their actions are rare in Christian fiction... and a true blessing to their former authors.
Come on in! Let's talk heroines, my friends!
Multi-published, award-winning inspirational author Ruth Logan Herne loves writing stories... big stories and sometimes small stories. Long stories... short stories... and the occasional poem, just because. She writes on her pumpkin farm in Western New York where the winters are long and the springs are muddy, but she loves, loves, loves cats, dogs, donkeys, kids, the good Lord above and chocolate. Friend her on facebook or chase down her website ruthloganherne.com