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Friday, April 5, 2013

Anti-hero vs. Anti-heroine

My most recent novella, DRIVING TO YOU, starred a heroine that everyone loved to hate in the previous novel of my Going the Distance series. And honestly, I can't blame them.

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In DRIVE ME CRAZY April Billingsworth was witchy to everyone, and unapologetic snob, refused to get the heroine's first name and lied her tail off at every opportunity in order to make herself look better. Who'd want to write a romance novel that had her get a yummy hero, complete with a happily ever after?

Guess I'm that glutton for punishment. Mostly because I believe 99% of people have reasons for acting the way they do. Does it excuse them? Not by a long shot, but sometimes when we as a reader (or in my case writer) learn those reasons we better understand their motivation.

But that wasn't what I was really worried about. Don't get me I wrong,  I was worried. However, even if I could give the reader REALLY GOOD REASONS for A.B. being the anti-heroine, romance readers seem less...inclined, forgiving...whatever you want to call it to get behind a formerly unsympathetic woman. Conversely, readers will root (myself included) for you to redeem the biggest, meanest, most villainous character *cough* Sebastian Romanov *cough* ever.

So have you ever rooted for an author to redeem a heroine? Or do you just root for the heroes? I'd love to know your thoughts!









12 comments:

  1. I agree 100% that most people have reasons for behaving in the unsavory ways we so often do. Like you, I love to dive beneath the surface to find what those reasons are.

    I've done that with a few of my heroes, one of which I wrote more over the top initially than I would have if I expected he would ever become a hero. Lol.

    That said, I think romance readers in general are more forgiving of unsavory men than they are of unsavory women. It can be harder to win them over when you're redeeming an unlikable heroine. I've been tempted to try it, but I'm wary. Lol. I personally would love to see it, but I often feel like I'm alone in that.

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    1. Yes. The reasons that drive characters is so fascinating to me. I think the balance I had to strike with April, was give her good reasons while letting her ex (the hero of DRIVE ME CRAZY) not seem like a jerk while hoping readers think she worthy of a new hero.

      Tall order, no? You can do it, Catherine! I'd read it. :)

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  2. I'm much more forgiving of a bad boy. But then, I'm prejudice because I like the bad boys to begin with--the badder the better. ;] However, if there is enough distance between the heroine's snotty attitude and her redeemed self, I can be won over. I'm easy. Lol

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    1. Easy, yeah, that's how I think of you, Andris. However, when you were critting DRIVING TO YOU, you yelled at me for the heroine wearing a yellow tank top. ;p

      Honestly, I love bad boys, especially when they are redeemed. :))

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    2. Yellow is of the devil. You cannot argue this. ;}

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  3. Hmm... I haven't given this much thought, but maybe I am less forgiving of the anti-heorine. It may have something to do with the way in which men and women tend to be bad. With women, oftentimes if feels like a personal attack and with men, they are equal opportunity jerks to everyone. I'm not sure why that would make a difference, unless it's easier to write off someone who's a jerk and not let it bother you than to have someone hurting you on a personal level and then having the person expect to gain your trust.

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    1. Very true, Samantha! Women do personalize attacks more than men. Heck little girls do that more than boys, at least in my teaching experience.

      I read one of Sherry Thomas' novellas and the "other" woman from Ravishing the Heiress was redeemed in it. I totally bought into it. Then again ST is a master when it comes to character development.

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  4. When you first told me about writing a story for April, I was like no she's horrible. I tend to be more forgiving to a bad boy than bad girl. However, if I know the circumstances behind then I'm forgiving.

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    1. LOL! That's why I had you beta read April and Finn's story. I was worried.

      Yeah, I'm pretty forgiving, too. There's only one main secondary character I've ever written that I know I would NEVER redeem.

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  5. I'm not very forgiving of either, lol. An author has to do some pretty fancy footwork to bring me around, but it can be done!

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    1. Erin, I think it all goes back to reasons or that fancy footwork. But i have found that we, as women, tend to root for the bad boys to get redeemed while wishing the bad girls go jump off a cliff. ;)

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  6. I'm like Erin...I have a hard time forgiving my heroes/heroines...but I think you make a really good point; people and characters have reasons for acting the way they do. And a talented writer can get to the heart of that!

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