So I had problem with alphas in my last post. My new hero, Mr Rough, is being let off the reins and he’s loving it, but now I’m wondering all over again about sympatheticness (if that’s even a word) as it relates to the heroine. The romance heroine does have a reputation for being a perfect, self-sacrificing, paragon of a woman, brutally manhandled by the hero before making him bow down before her like a unicorn before a virgin (and she’s often that too).
Now, I have to say right up and here and now that I hate those heroines. I don’t want to read about perfect, self-sacrificing people. I want to read about flawed, imperfect individuals who go on a journey to either overcome those flaws or to learn to accept that they’re actually not flaws at all. And yet right now, in my WIP, I have a heroine who wants to take control of her father’s money. She wants to control her father’s money because he controlled her as a child and she wants payback. For herself. And yet I’m trying to make this motivation less mercenary and cold by including her feelings about protecting her mother in there, purely because I’m wondering if a reader will find her too mercenary. Too unsympathetic. Too selfish. And this annoys me because it’s predictable. Always the heroine has to have some unselfish motivation because no one likes a cold-hearted woman. It’s always her mother or her brother or sister or her poor widowed auntie.
Why can’t she want to have something for herself? Why can’t she be as cold and as ruthless as the hero? Especially if she’s motivated enough?
We’re hard on our heroines I think. They’re supposed to be the placeholder for ourselves and so they can’t be seen as selfish or anything too extreme or else they risk alienating us.
Me, I’m a forgiving reader. But I hate stupidity in heroines and doormattery and too much self-sacrifice. I also can’t stand kick-assedness for the sake of it. But I can handle a heroine being selfish. I can handle a heroine who takes the diamonds the hero wants to give her and also the hot sex because she wants it and she likes it. None of this ‘oh no, I can’t. It would demean me!’ or ‘I must take the diamonds to pay for healthcare for my poor sick granny and bear the sex because I said I would’ crap.
What about you? What turns you off in a heroine? What can’t you forgive? And is liking her instantly really that important?