I have a blog half written, but didn’t get it finished so I’ll post it next week This week I thought we’d just chat about Too Stupid To Live Heroines.
Most often, I hear readers getting annoyed at heroine’s for hearing a noise and going in the basement to check it out. Um…I that heroine, LOL! So when we lived in our other house, and the kids were little, we had a lot of winds. Sometimes a gate to a tiny side yard didn’t get latched, and it would bang in the wind. It was actually a terrifying sound. Long story short, Wizard would ignore it and sleep, but I had to go out into the night, cross the patio onto the grass and circle around the entire house where it’s pitch black dark, to make sure it was the gate banging and latch it. By the time I got there, my heart would be thumping louder than the gate, and fear-sweat would prickle my neck and armpits.
Some people would call that Too Stupid To Live.
But to me, it made sense. It was mentally easier to get up and live through a couple minutes of being scared to make sure the noise was the gate, than to lay there for hours and let my brain concoct horrendous scenarios of serial killers and vampires. (That’s what I get for reading Salem’s Lot by Stephen King when I was a teenager).
Plus I was going to rip that gate off the hinges and throat punch a serial killer if either of them woke the kids
See? Totally rational. But the book I’m reading right now, I want to strangle the heroine. She has a stalker threatening her, and calls the police when he leaves a scary message written in blood. But she won’t tell them it’s her deranged brother who just got out of prison doing this. I guess she’s so traumatized that she can’t talk about it? Okay I could understand that if she was mentally battling with herself to tell them. But nope, she tells them everything except that. Then a second police-involved incident happens and she once again refuses to tells the cops about her psychotic brother just released from prison. So she either has a major psychological block…but wait! Right after the cops leave, she confides everything about her sick and twisted brother to her useless college-professor boyfriend whose major quality is the way he wears his sleeves rolled up to show his sexy forearms. Huh, so she can talk about it to a hot guy with his sleeves rolled up.
But not to the cops with guns and the resources to actually protect her.
The only reason this book hasn’t turned into a wall banger is that it’s on my Kindle, and I really like my Kindle. I’m going to give this book one more chapter to start making sense. If the boyfriend turns out to be the support she needs to get her butt to the cop shop and clue them in no matter how painful, or at least freaking try to, then I’ll reconsider. But if she tells the boyfriend not to tell, or something equally silly without a clear reason (like her brother always told her he’d kill her parents if she told), then I’ll mentally throw the book against the wall.
That’s my version of a too stupid to live heroine. What’s yours?
March 17th, 2021 at 6:03 am · Link
Those heroines are one of the only reasons I’ll give up on a book. If I have to roll my eyes so far back in my head they get stuck, I know it’s going to be a long read. I don’t like giving up, but too stupid for their own good is one of my trigger points and sometimes cause me to grumble out loud in the work break room!
March 17th, 2021 at 8:30 am · Link
TSTL. I’m trying to think of one. I know I’ve wall-banged a few books–virtually speaking–over the “syndrome” but none come to mind off the top of my head. Whenever the subject comes up, I’m always reminded of the Geico commercial with the “horror movie kids” and the chainsaw dude. The look on his face always cracks me up because that’s exactly my expression when encountering that particular variety of heroine.
I also stick heroines who won’t use their words to talk out a minor problem, choosing to fly off the handle instead because the author thinks that adds tension to the book in the TSTL category. Along with the author. Now, that being said, I’m getting ready to do that exact same thing to my current heroine. But there are reasons having to do with her backstory, her fear of commitment based on that backstory, and she almost immediately realizes how stupid her reaction was and she’ll need to do a bit of groveling, except the hero is refusing to answer her calls. Again, reasons! That are made clear at the time. Or at least I hope they are.
Okay, I’m stalling because I’m still trying to think of a heroine/situation other than what you’ve described. I agree with the first scenario and am totally on board with the second. I’m not sure I’d be able to give that book even another chapter’s worth of my time.
Ah well. If I think of one in the course of the day, I’ll come back and add another comment. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
March 17th, 2021 at 3:10 pm · Link
Stupid heroines drive me crazy. I give you kudos for not tossing your Kindle ;).
I do love the story of the non-latching gate. I would have been done the same. Wake up the kids and you would haved died. Yes, we are too similar ;).
How did Wizard handle his second shot? All the people I know over 60 but under 80 have had some reaction, but not really bad. Over 80, pretty much only a sore arm. Under 60, the range from several but mild reaction to VERY bad reaction for 36 or so hours. I sure hope Wizard was okay. My hubs had the reactions (fever, chills, aches, et al) over night and was just very tired the next 24 hours.
I just had my first shot. I hope you are able to get your shot soon.
Happy Birthday Turbo!
Have a great day!
March 17th, 2021 at 3:20 pm · Link
Carrie, I’m 100% with you! As an author, I know we can unintentionally create a heroine like that. But as a reader–drives me batty!
I can hear you grumbling in the breakroom
Hope you’re week is going well!
March 17th, 2021 at 3:25 pm · Link
Silver, YES! I was thinking of that commercial when I wrote the blog! It’s funny too, because I rarely notice commercials but that one is soooo true!
Yes, reasons! Motivation! And making sure the reader is getting the heroine (or hero’s) internal struggle. It always goes back to internal conflict that drives all the characters decisions. And fear is usually a bigger motivator than anything else. Fear of commitment works, and it’s even better when the character realizes she messed up.
Hmm that’s another blog I want to do about internal conflict and motivation if I’d just remember AND sit down to write it.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you too!
March 17th, 2021 at 3:34 pm · Link
Viki, we are similar for sure! I definitely didn’t want anyone waking the kids in the middle of the night. But I also can’t stand the internal pressure of that much fear or worry.
Wizard got his second shot yesterday and has mild symptons today. Sore arm, mild muscle soreness and tired. No fever or headache. I’m so relieved he’s got both shots.
I’d say your summation of ages and reactions is pretty accurate from what we’ve seen too. My younger niece and nephew (a teacher and doctor) both had stronger reactions.
How are you feeling after your first shot?
March 17th, 2021 at 4:57 pm · Link
Yeah, I’m probably the gal who would go outside to check on a banging gate, too. Here in the woods, though, there are so many unusual noises, I just attribute them to critters and leave them be. It’ll be bad if I ever assume it’s just a critter when it’s actually a loose psycho.
I can’t think of any TSTL characters at the moment. Usually, I get to the point where they’re being totally stupid and close the book. Life’s too short and I have too many other things to read. Gah, I hope I never accidentally write one of those characters and if I do, my readers catch it before the book goes live.
March 18th, 2021 at 10:59 am · Link
B.E. Living in the woods is a different experience than living in a neighborhood. On the other hand, probably a less chance of a psycho out there. Fewer people generally equals fewer psychos in my mind
I’m going to chuck the book. After the big reveal, they had sex and jumped to a week later where they are going to a party. So. Done.
One of your beta readers would catch it. And in your case, it’d be an easy fix. You’d never set up anything like this plot. This just isn’t rational.