Thursday, January 12, 2006

My Gal, She Is a Spunky Gal

This morning I realized what the problem is with all of my heroines. They are all trying so hard to be spunky. Every last one of them. Which makes them all too much alike. I mean, even the one who has suffered terrible abuse and is pretty much as beaten down as a girl can get is trying to let her inner spunk out. She can't be spunky. She's too downtrodden to be spunky. She's dark and sad and brooding, with all of the spunk mashed down to near non-existence, dang it!

I think the reason I'm having this problem is because I'm trying to figure out what it is about women (or a woman) that men find appealing. Beyond the sex stuff, I mean. And for some reason, spunk keeps rising to the surface as the one trait I can wrap my hands around and use. Cause doesn't everyone just love a spunky gal? The one who never quits, who's always there for her friends, and who charms the hero with her cheerful outlook even in the most dire of situations? I mean, come on, who doesn't love Meg Ryan as Sally in When Harry Met Sally or Debra Winger as Paula in An Officer and a Gentleman?

But I don't want all of my heroines to be the same, cookie cutter cute girl-next-door types.

To my defense, I do have a couple of heroines who are not spunky. I have one who's so focused on her work she's more driven than anything else. Problem with her is that I can't seem to dig beyond her work to find the three-dimensional woman beneath. I suppose that's the problem the hero has, as well. Except, I, as the writer, have to know what's there even if my hero doesn't.

Too, I have a heroine who is a free-thinker. Kind of the live for the moment party girl who's all about the fun and not getting serious. I really like her a lot. So does my hero, even though she's absolutely the wrong kind of girl he should ever fall for.

So, I guess I do vary my heroines a bit. I mean, I know the differences between them. I know how they would act in given situations, what they would think and how they vary from each other. I like to play the game of imagining if all my heroines went shopping at the mall together, which stores would each of them prefer. And I can honestly tell you that they would choose different ones.

Perhaps, then, my problem isn't my heroines all being spunky. Perhaps my problem is showing their different personalities in such a way that they don't all come off as spunky. It's like, I've got a dozen different instruments at my disposal, but somehow they all end up playing the exact same tune. I need to learn how to demonstrate the differences in each instrument, which songs to play that will best show off their various assets and qualities.

As for my heroes...

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