Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 1T Olio--Who's Driving Here?

This month I'm sharing a helpful insight that I got from writer and editor James Hughes. He sent me Bitter Gertrude's "A Common Problem I See In Plays By Women Playwrights. It’s Not What You Think." The article, which is from a theater perspective, is on women early-career playwrights, but it applies to authors too.

Here's my question for you writers--in writing a story where the central character is a woman, how much does she drive the action?

This article rang a bell inside me--this is a push-pull I think a lot of women writers are saddled with, especially in romance. In the action/scene vs. reflective/sequel tug of war, romance falls heavily on the sequel side. Lots of emotion and thought. (Not so much for paranormal.) So romance is especially susceptible to a heroine who is reacting to the hero who actually drives the story.

How much does your heroine drive the action? Not respond to the action. But how much of the story is driven by what your heroine wants and needs?

Hughes sent me the article because he was editing the second novel I wrote, a dark paranormal about a man who sees the future and the woman who redeems him. It made me see the heroine in a new light--she spends a great deal of time--no, wastes a great deal of time--reacting to events, instead of meeting them head-on.   

Don't get me wrong. In a romance, you need reaction. Emotional reaction is a biggie. But I want that emotional reaction to drive my heroine to solve problems and take action. My heroine should not throw her forearm to her forehead and emote while the world does things to her. My heroine should step up to the plate.



  1. Results of Name Nixie & Julian's Baby! Between Facebook and my blog the results are

    * #Votes/Name
    * 7 Jaxxie
    * 6 Jessie
    * 5 Tegan
    * 3 Quinn
    * 3 Ava
    * 1 Noah
    * 1 Joaquin
    * (note: all names are subject to editorial changes)

  2. Interesting. Even us guys, writing romance, probably have the same issue. It's so easy to have the hero save the day, even when the heroine has her own, very competent skill set. Something to think about as I write.

    By the way, do we know if Nixie and Julian are having a boy or a girl? I might have missed that.

    1. Thanks SC :)

      Re the baby I've been trying to be mysterious about boy or girl...which I do so well (not, lol). Jaxxie is a girl's name though--when I thought of it anyway (it's a sideways combination of Julian and Nixie).

      Loving Son of Thunder, by the way.

  3. Thanks for spotlighting this article. It's an important insight and something I intend to be more aware of going forward!

    1. Thanks Amy! It turned my perspective around enough that I could pinpoint the problem I was having with my next heroine. Once I gave her actual investment in her own plot, the story itself became stronger and clearer. It also is a significant difference between earlier books I wrote and the ones that sold, so I really wanted to share this insight!