Feb 9, 2011

You Know You're A Heroine In A Romance Novel If...

By Melinda Carroll

We all have times when it's hard to see ourselves clearly or analyze a situation in our lives with clarity and objectivity.  Heroines in romance novels seem particularly lacking in the self-awareness department.  So, in case any of you out there are wondering if you're a heroine out of a Romance novel, I've come up with some signs that might help you figure it out:
1. The first time you meet your love interest, you instantly hate him, and he feels the same way about you.
2.  Despite your hatred, you can't help but acknowledge that he has a devilish smile and smoldering eyes.  And for some reason that is completely beyond you, every time he touches you or even steps near you it sends chills up your spine. Although you still hate him.
3.  Your love interest is virtually bereft of morals.  A rogue.  But for some reason he can't explain, he feels protective of you and flies into a rage if your safety, reputation, or feelings are at risk (that is, unless he's the one that's putting them at risk).  Although he still hates you.
4. Despite your obvious distaste for each other, fate continually throws you together in strange ways- like in a barn during a freak and totally unexpected thunderstorm, locked into a room together without a key, or lost in the woods and separated from anyone else.  Sometimes, all three of these.
5. You see your love interest in a compromising situation and instantly jump to the worst conclusion.  You also refuse to question him about it because, as far as you're concerned, having a frank and honest conversation is the worst way to work out a problem.
6.  In a completely shocking and totally sudden burst of insight, you realize that you have been in love with him from the moment you first met and that he is also in love with you.
7.  You two live happily ever after.
1. The first time you see your love interested (and usually before either of you has uttered a word), you fall madly, deeply in love.  The kind of love that makes you willing to sacrifice everything you hold most dear- including your life.
2.  You wake up in the middle of the night to find your love interest has broken into your house and is staring at you from the corner of the room.  And you think it's sweet.
3.  Your love interest has an enemy who is intent on destroying him by hurting you (either that, or his enemy is in love with you.  Either option works.)
3.  Within a few weeks (or days) of meeting, you will have to sacrifice everything you hold most dear- including your life.
4.  Your love interest will also be willing to sacrifice his life, and somehow that cancels out both your sacrifices and you get to keep everything.
5.  You two live happily ever after.

And in case you were wondering if you were in a Paranormal Romance, all of the above apply, with a few extras:
1.  Your love interest wants to eat you, drink your blood, or sacrifice you to some unknown power (particularly if you are fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen-years-old.  You might think you are in a horror novel, but you're confused- you're actually in a YA Paranormal Romance).
2.  Despite the fact that you've never entertained the idea of anything supernatural before, you take the fact that your boyfriend has supernatural abilities at face value without questioning it, nor does it make you question if any other kinds of supernatural creatures exist.  That would just be silly.

And if you thought you might be in a Romantic Comedy:
1. At some point within the first few days of meeting your love interest, you utterly and completely humiliate yourself in front of him.
2.  You lose your job, a family member, your home, or your best friend.  But you can laugh at it.

I hope this helped you.  It certainly helped me.  Imagine my surprise, after compiling this list, when I discovered that I'm not a romance heroine.  I'm actually more of a side character in a middle grade novel.  Go figure.


  1. Your post had me giggling, but also worrying about my novel, because--despite my many attempts to write it otherwise--my heroine rather stubbornly displays a few of these signs. She and her future love interest do hate each other at first sight, but are forced to work with each other--and he does have rather smoldering eyes, although she mentions his impressive physical qualities no more than twice in the book.

    Does that mean I've written a bad story, or one that's too cliched to ever get published? I don't know yet, and sometimes it keeps me up at night.

    At any rate, if my heroine ever woke up to find that her love interest had broken in and is now watching her sleep--well, if she didn't kill him first, a restraining order would definitely be issued! No matter how dazzling and disarming his smile is.

  2. I'm rolling Melinda. And I think I must be like you because none of those scenarios seem me.

  3. Kristin, don't loose heart. There's an entire genre out there as proof that the formula works. : )
    I had an author friend who once told me that in college she learned there's only about twelve or thirteen original story lines, and all books are just a version of one of these story lines.

  4. Love it! And I love your assessment of yourself at the end. Hilarious!

  5. Too funny! Love your post, Melinda! I've always been the sidekick...cleaning up the mess the heroine often leaves in her wake.

  6. I'm the loud-girl-best friend who calls the boy/vampire/rogue for what he is and makes everyone mad.
    Until the end.


  7. Hey! I'm a side character in a middle grade novel, too! I'm the short one.

  8. You had me laughing so much it got my cough started again. I have read all those novels and I am definitely a side character in a middle grade novel also. (Probably why I never married. Wink.) The formula is funny but it produces consistant results.

  9. Your blog was hilarious! As I read it, I was reminded of a very famous series. You could take this on the road. Thanks for the laughs.


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