The Bite Lectures on Romance Fiction: Heroines are Not Sissies So Man Up and Get Real Part 1

The Bite Lectures on Romance Fiction:
Heroines are Not Sissies So Man Up and Get Real:


Say, Kids, when it comes to No-no’s for heroines in contemporary romance fiction, what would you list as the Ultimate SIN? That’s what we’re discussing at today’s lecture and we’re gonna get right to it, but  audience participation is essential for this dialogue, so who’d like to go first? Raise you hand, please.

Ah, down in front. Thank you, Mary Ann. Yes, yes. That’s what I’m after. The heroine sleeping with a man other than the hero is a sin, and many here would agree with you on that one. That’s a start. We’ll come back to that in a bit. May I see some more hands?

Hi Mary Elizabeth. I see you’re a first timer here at Oldbitey. Welcome. What’s that, Mary Elizabeth? You say the heroine must never be a bitch? OK. OK. That’s something else, and I think we’ll come back to that in a little bit too. Anyone else?

You, down the back, Mary Kate, is it? Can you speak up, please? Yes…yes…Let me just repeat that for our Biteyites who didn’t hear you. Mary Kate said, "The heroine must never say fuck, shit, or…now Mary Alice pipe down. Come on, we’re all adults here and I’m certain we’ve all heard it before. The heroine must never say fuck, shit or cunt. Oh, we’re gonna come back to that little gem too.

I’m not surprised you mentioned those things as sins. But I’d like to point out a curious little fact. The one Mortal Sin no one mentioned is the heroine having the gall to be over forty.

4 thoughts on “The Bite Lectures on Romance Fiction: Heroines are Not Sissies So Man Up and Get Real Part 1

  1. Pingback: Taboos, Radio, Pimpin’ and PhDs. | Sandra Antonelli

  2. I’m with you on all these points. I don’t care if the heroine sleeps with someone else, swears or is over 40. But publishers seem squeamish and scared of readers who are conservative.

    At the ARRC2011 category romance panel, I brought up that there is a big difference in the character morality from the late 70/80s (much more broad – engaged women sleeping with other men, married men having affairs etc) yet in the 21st century category roms (at least) not sleeping with other women during a separation seems to be the sign of true love. Yet the sex scenes are much more explicit. One of the panellists did say that this would be due to the influence of the US moral right.

    This comment did make me wonder how much impact this has had on story requirements for Mills and Boon publications once Harlequin bought them. Perhaps publishers of contemporary novels have a different outlook altogether.

    Vassiliki (aka http://www.shallowreader.wordpress.com)

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  3. Speaking of Fast Women…

    Hi Dr. Laura,

    Ooops. I seem to have posted an unfinished entry. I have more to say on the matter–and it includes mentioning Nell in Crusie’s Fast Women. I hope to hear from you again when I get back up on my finished soapbox.

    Yours in Romance…
    Old Bitey

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    • Re: Speaking of Fast Women…

      Oh. I’m sorry if I pre-empted any of the impact of your soapbox lecture. I’d like to read the rest of it when when it’s finished. Will you put it in a new post? I have a feeling that an edited version of an existing post wouldn’t show up in my feedreader.

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