Sunday 13 May 2018

Why I could never be a Modern Fiction Novel Heroine

Let’s call her Tiffany.  Nah, too twee.  How about Jen.  Meet our
fiction heroine, Jen.  She’s a modern girl. Has her own condo. Drives a car. Lives in the city. Has a meaningful job.  All in all, a typical modern heroine of a fiction novel.    

Sounds reasonable, but I couldn’t be her.  I’m all for ‘suspension of disbelief’ in fantasy, but my world requires more human elements.  To wit:


1.  They look great all the time.

By this I mean: she gets up in the morning, perfect quaffed.  She dons clothes for her work day.  Maybe goes for a jog.  And spends absolutely no time in front of the mirror swabbing on makeup or doing her hair.  Did you ever notice fiction novel heroines look great in the morning without doing anything?  They may have a shit-load of angst about their personal lives, but apparently, they have Barbie doll hair.

As of immediately, name of heroine is changed to Barbie.

2.  They never eat.

Oh, they got out to dinner a lot.  You may even hear them order food.  But when it comes, do they ever eat it?  No! Barbie is far too busy arguing with her dinner companion, and then getting upset.

So many books, so many meals where our intrepid plucky heroine says, “oh my, I’m so upset, I couldn’t eat a thing.”

What is it with these feeble women who can’t eat?  Who the hell are they?  What do they exist on? 

When I’m upset, I eat, dammit.  Gotta fuel up for the famine that’s going to come sometime in the next 400 years.

If I hear another TSTL heroine say she’s too upset to eat, I’m going to shove the virtual dinner in her vapid virtual face and watch her choke to death.  Oh.  But then someone would have to rescue her.


3.  They never go to the bathroom.

Twenty-four hours a day, we’re with this dame.  Does she ever go to the loo?  I mean, for other than a quick swipe of lipstick and a gabfest with friends?

Do none of these women have periods?

Do they not have to offload some by-products?  EVER?

Oh right.  Barbie is always too upset to eat a thing.  Therefore, nothing to offload. What was I thinking?

Cranky author disclosure:  Just so you know, Gina Gallo of The Goddaughter series loves her food.  You’ll see her eat it.  She sneaks off to the bathroom (offstage, so don’t freak.)  She looks like shit in the morning. Just like me.  Even Rowena of my fantasy books goes to the outhouse and enjoys her meals.  (Not at the same time.)


  1. Right! I also want to point out that if they happen to have a dog or more likely a cat, their animals ought to be given to a rescue since they will be ignored once the action gets hot and heavy and our heroine takes off for plot point two!

  2. So true, Caro. Especially in cozy mysteries, I find this. They have a cute dog, and then they leave it for 12 hours at a time, only running home to let them out for pee, and then going back to the plot, leaving said dog in a cage for another 12 hours. In my books, particularly The Crime Club coming out in 2019, the dogs are there for the long haul.

  3. That's one of the things I like about Stephanie Plum. She has a hamster. Feed it once a day and clean its cage once a week and it will happily ignore you the rest of the time. That's the kind of pet a modern heroine needs. But wait, Steph does worry about her pet. And she eats, goes to the bathroom and looks a mess in the morning.

    No wonder you're considered the Canadian Janet Evanovich, Melodie. You are both on the same page here.

  4. Ali, thank you for that :) And right on, re the hamster. Now, she's my kind of dame.