A Miracle – The Non Sassy Heroine

Is this even possible in Modern Heat? Having a heroine who is not sassy? Is not quick with the comeback? Does not give the hero what-for at every given opportunity?

This, friends, is my conundrum. Having left the Frenchman to stew quietly in his own juices (don’t go there) for a wee while, the time has come to revisit my nearly-there manuscript. The manuscript that might have been a winner if its author hadn’t fell at the last hurdle and botched the revisions. Sigh. Anyway, the heroine in this manuscript is non-sassy. She is a stammerer. A stutterer. She’s nervous, ungainly and finds herself completely out of her depth with the hero. So is she a Modern Heat heroine? Well, thing is, the eds liked her the first time round. They thought she was lovely. Which means the answer I’m hoping for is yes. Yes she is!

The problem with the ms the first time round was lack of believable conflict. This time round – now I have a much better idea about what I’m doing – I think I’ve got her conflict right. But she’s still nervous and stammery. Still doesn’t know what to say or what to do when she meets the hero. However the one thing she has got, that the hero needs, is honesty. She’s unflinchingly, unfailingly honest. About herself and she certainly pulls no punches when it comes to being honest with him. Good thing too because the hero has been lying to himself for a long time and needs her honesty in order realise it.

In many ways, she is my favourite heroine. I think probably because she’s the first one I actually connected with while I was writing it. She was so nervous, I really felt for her. And yet she wasn’t scared to tell him what a coward he was being later on so she wasn’t a doormat by any stretch. She was different – there are lots of sassys out there but not so many stammeries!

Anyway, I’m tossing up between my non-sassy software developer or my extremely sassy protester. Usually what I do is choose the one with the closest love scene – yes, I’m shallow like that. 🙂 In this instance, since both love scenes happen in the first few chapters (at least, that’s my plot. Could change I guess) I’m spoilt for choice!

Has anyone else written a heroine who is a bit different? If so, how did you find it? Was it hard?

24 thoughts on “A Miracle – The Non Sassy Heroine”

  1. You’re non-sassy heroine sounds really refreshing…

    I think Juno in Public Affair Secretly Expecting was my first completely non-sass heroine. she was more earnest and forthright than nervous, but a real nightmare to write (cos I kept wanting to sass her up!).

    Definitely find it easier to write sassy ones in some ways cos then the fireworks are automatically there when they butt up against an extremely alpha hero. But then I have the problem of too-many-fireworks and the narrative becomes one enormous ping-pong game and you loose sight of what these people are really about. Arghh.

    Whatever you do it’s never easy right!

  2. I like miss non sassy – i think she has huge potential. Remember its the quiet one’s you need to worry about? Well I think she’s one of those – but in a good way – when that girl comes out of her shell, she’s gonna knock ’em for six!

  3. I’ll vote for non-sassy too cos she sounds intruiging!

    Different heroines… I have a start with a quite different for me heroine. She’s an ex soapie star, lured from retirement, and my heroines don’t usually like the limelight. But she is an ‘ex’ star so maybe she’s just more of the same. You’ve got me thinking now.

  4. You know I LOVE this heroine! Would really like to read more of her actually.

    The heroine I’m having fun thinking about in my head at the moment (for my Hollywood story) is not gonna be that sassy, I don’t think either 🙂

  5. Natalie Anderson had a heroine who was very insecure/low self esteem/easily embarrassed/ bit of a geek. She was not the least bit sassy and so easy to empathise with
    ( Emma Delaney in Bedded by arrangement.)

  6. Heidi – Oh, I loved Juno! In fact, as I typed this post I tried to think of non-sassy heroines and she was the one who instantly sprang to mind. She was sooo cool! And the HEA is so much sweeter when the heroine is a bit shy/earnest. Maybe that’s why I like them so much. But you’re right re them being difficult to write – I keep wanting to give mine a snappy comeback but she’s just not that kind of girl. Ah well, she’ll come into her own when I do the love scene. Hehe.

    Janette – cheers lovie! Oh yes, she will. See above re the love scene. 😉

    Becca – ooooh, yours sounds intriguing too. I like intriguing. Makes for a nice change.

    Rach – thanks to you too, hon. And you shall read more. Once I write it! lol! Let’s hear it for the non-sassy heroines eh??

    Caroline – thanks. She is lovely – at least I think so. 😉

    Suzanne – ah, more thanks to you too. Yes, she’s a sweetie. Hmmm, maybe it’s her story that needs to be written more.

    Janet – oh yeah, I remember Emma! Loved Nat’s book too. Christie (my heroine) is quite like that. It does make for quite a nice change.

  7. Different heroines…as I write Presents, well, not all of them are sassy. But I like to put a different flavor and both the heroes and the heroines. My heroines do tend to be a bit sassy, but it manifests in different ways. With Elaine, the heroine from His Virgin Acquisition, I had a woman who was extremely confident in herself in certain aspects of her life. When it came to business and how she conducted herself in a work setting, she knew she was in control. But there were areas where she was insecure. I think I have to have a heroine with SOME measure of confidence in herself, otherwise it’s hard for me to make a hero that’s alpha enough because you run into the doormat/bully issue.

    But I like playing with the h having confidence in some areas, not in others. I think if they’re too much like a pair of wet socks it can be tough to get the balance. That was my issue in The Greek. My heroine was much too down on herself and I found that by just giving her one area where she had confidence, I was able to make a better dynamic between them.

  8. Maisey – yeah, I think with MH you have slightly more lee-way in that the heroes don’t have to be quite so alpha. I’ve found with this heroine that though hero is still alpha, he’s a protective kind of alpha. And he does push the heroine. He needs to be strong, confident and knows what he wants in order for her to realise her own strength and confidence. And her honesty is her strength – especially as she’s not afraid to tell him exactly what’s what.

  9. Well, you’d KNOW if it wasn’t working. I know I did. My hero would burst into the room all ‘you WILL be MINE!!” and she’d simper and he just wanted to give her a hug and I was like ‘STOP THAT!!!’

  10. Maisey – LOl!! My hero is all you WILL be mine – but just for tonight ’cause love is for suckers. And she’s all a bit ‘oh, well, I’m not sure, cause sex wasn’t that great for me before’. At first. But then, after the hero shows her that’s he’s not bad in the bed department, she’s like ‘oh yeah, baby, get down on your knees and worship me’. And then she runs away the next morning ’cause she’s horribly embarassed by her demanding behaviour the night before. Lol!
    Works for me so far. 🙂

  11. Sounds great, Jackie! Non-sassy can be a refreshing change, and it sounds like you’ve given her some strengths which don’t make her a doormat (all important for me as a reader!).

    You’ve had some great advice here. Good luck with it 🙂

    My current heroine is a bit different. She’s more reserved and an introvert so being seduced by the extremely hot out-of-her- league hero turns her world upside down, LOL.

  12. ‘Get down and worship me?’ This doesn’t sound non-sassy. Is she a closet dominatrix? Sounds kinky to me, Jackie, definitely kinky. You naughty author, you.

  13. Your heroine sounds great. I assume she develops throughout the story, and I am sure readers will love to follow that journey. In some ways it’s a more heart wrenching one and I think there are many more readers who can identify with this type of character. I mean, we’ve all been nervous and unsure at some point, right? I have an outline for a story where my heroine is very unsure of herself. She doesn’t stammer, but lacks the confidence at first to really go head to head with the heroine. It’s fun to write that too!

  14. Angie – yeah, I like her. And she isn’t a doormat by a long stretch. Yours sounds VERY intriguing too I have to say!!

    Jane – well, not in so many words. But she does turn all demanding in..ah..certain situations. And she is wearing a cat-suit and boots so there is potential dominatrix-like behaviour. Don’t think the hero would go for it though. Then again…now you’re giving me ideas! Lol!

    Kaily – yeah, there are reasons for her nervousness etc. And the story is all about her coming into her own with the hero’s help. So by the end of the book she knows her own worth and isn’t the shy, stammerer any more. But yeah, I really like her because being nervous and unsure is such a familiar situation to most people. You can relate to it. Your heroine sounds great too. Let’s hear it for the non-sassies!

  15. I love heroines that are different. Truthfully, since I’m not exactly a self-assured miss all of the time, I like someone who doesn’t know what move to make in all situations. Sass is fun too, but I think there’s room for all kinds of heroines in this world. Insecure girls need love too!

    Good luck with your choice, Jackie. 🙂

  16. Cari – I think that’s why I like her. Cause I get nervous and unsure a lot myself. I like writing sass – as you say, it’s fun – but in reality I never have quick comebacks or anything like that. It’s quite nice to write someone who doesn’t do that either. And I reckon the insecure girls who finally come into their own have the nicest storylines.

  17. Hi,

    Your heroine sounds great!

    What’s wrong with stuttery etc., crikey, how stuttery would you be if you found yourself locked in a room (by accident) with the most stunningly goodlooking fella you’ve ever seen and equally as charming with it in a hot sexy way?

    Sassy is OK, and I like sassy wenches who enjoy the sex and walk away from it leaving the macho hunk thinking on how he can get more of the same from her, but has to work at it because she ain’t intending playing in his ballpark as often as he’d like!! Let’s be honest, the just tasted delectable and suddenly unattainable becomes all the more desirable 😉

    Conflict!? I think sometimes less is more effective, and subtle conflict on emotional plain doubly effective! And, deciding between two male lover’s in a modern heat would really get me going on buying up such a book. Oh god, the devil will out in me: <>


  18. Francine – thanks re my heroine! Yep, I figured coming face to face with someone as gorgeous as he is would definitely make any girl a stuttery mess. Lol! Sadly though, having two lovers to chose from won’t work in MH. At least, not one that they would buy. 😉

  19. Hi,

    True enough, not in a Modern Heat, but a historical is a whole different outlook on what is acceptable at HM&B.

    Hence historical provides for more risque opportunities!!! It’s a pity MH is not a little more in a risque category. 😉

    Take the following:

    Nominated for the RWA 2004 RITA Award for Best Short Historical Romance.

    Not all rakehells are male!

    “Wayward Widow” by Nicola Cornick

    Lady Juliana Myfleet is the Ton’s most notorious widow, a lady profligate in her gambling and with a reputation for taking and dismissing a whole legion of lovers. Unmarriageable, untameable, unforgiveable, she lives down to her reputation as the worst Lady Rakehell in town. It is therefore most disconcerting for Juliana to find that she has taken a tendre to a man of unimpeachable virtue and cannot seem to do anything to cure herself…

    Now imagine similar in modern heat – hee hee, I’d be drooling to get my hands on a moder version of the above without it being grossly erotic and more suited to Blaze etc!

  20. Francine – sounds like a VERY interesting premise! Love it when the old tropes get turned on their head. You ‘may’ be able to pull it off for MH. As long as the heroine stays sympathetic and the hero alpha. It’s all in the execution eh?

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