Michaeline: Scarlett O’Hara

lush green velvet curtains with gold fringe hanging over a marble hall

Green curtains can stick in the mind for a very long time. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Originally, this post was going to be about events that boost the turning points of a story, but then in walked Scarlett O’Hara. And I don’t know about you, but when Scarlett O’Hara walks into my brain, I pay attention.

Now, I think it’s well established that Scarlett O’Hara, the heroine of Gone With the Wind, is not just a racist, but an all-around sociopath. With a few possible exceptions (and they mostly die during the course of the book), if a human being does not advance Scarlett’s sexual and/or economic agendas, the person has no value in her eyes and may be trampled over at will. She treats everyone like objects.

That doesn’t make her a very likeable character, and one of the pieces of writing advice we often run across is, “Make your heroine likeable.” Very good, very serviceable advice. But Scarlett swooshes right past the writing rule, because rules don’t apply to Scarlett. Continue reading

Jilly: Strong Women and Alpha Heroines

Alpha HeroinesHow strong do you like your heroines? Do you think there’s a difference between a strong heroine and an Alpha? If so, do you have a preference?

Last Sunday I wrote about my theory that Alpha Male heroes work best in sub-genres like paranormal romance, historicals, or romantic suspense, the idea being that extreme manifestations of dominant behavior are fun to read about in worlds where such behavior is not only expected, but necessary. In a setting that’s closer to real life, like contemporary romance, the reader’s tolerance for macho chest-beating is much, much lower.

In last week’s discussion, regular 8 Ladies visitor Rachel Beecroft said “the other BIG reason I love Alpha men is because it generally takes an Alpha woman to tame them (at least in the stories I like – I can’t be bothered with Alpha man being tamed by ‘little me’ heroine). Yes! Exactly what Rachel said, and we agreed we’d follow up today Continue reading