Author Topic: Promiscuous Heroines  (Read 5557 times)  

Offline BGArcher

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Re: Promiscuous Heroines
« Reply #150 on: September 14, 2017, 12:55:41 PM »
I may be late to the party, but first wanted to say loving this thread. With my romance pens, I'm pretty strict about the female protagonist having only had a very brief romantic past, or one that's implied vs talked about. Maybe just having one ex they have a hard time getting over, that sort of thing. The only exception is my first romance, where the main character was a former sex worker, dealing with the trauma when she meets the love of her life.

My main mystery series has a female protagonist in college who's Bi, and for the first few books she is promiscuous, because that's realistic to what a lot of my friends were like around that age. I wanted to show a well-rounded realistic character, because hook up culture is very much what it's like on college campus's these days. The challenge for me (as a male author writing in third person about a female main character) is to make sure that the sex scenes are not gratuitous, or have male gaze. Second, to not have judgments about her choices, but rather just show her doing it because it's honest to the character. As the series goes on, she begins to have more serious relationships that last, because that feels realistic to someone who grows into a woman in her mid 20's as opposed to someone discovering who they are.

One of my favorite reviews I ever had was actually a negative review. They complimented my first book, saying it was well written, great characters, plot, etc, but couldn't finish it because the main character was too much of a slut. I loved the review, because I didn't mind their basis. In fact, I made note of them, and when I finish with my cozy mystery book, I'll probably send them a copy (only a love triangle there, and very much follows the rules of a cozy.)

Offline Jack C. Nemo

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Re: Promiscuous Heroines
« Reply #151 on: September 20, 2017, 11:39:24 PM »
Worldbuilding itself is nothing new to me. No need to explain it. I had that question, because what was described appears to be drawn directly off Twilight, rather than any original worldbuilding or actual folklore. I was astonished that multiple authors are using the worldbuilding of another author.

Wasn't original to Twilight either. Poppy Z Brite's Lost Souls had vamp births involve the baby chewing its way out way back in 1991. I doubt that was the first use of the trope either.

Offline Jack C. Nemo

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Re: Promiscuous Heroines
« Reply #152 on: September 21, 2017, 12:29:58 AM »
Might depend on the heroine's other qualities. I was musing about this recently when it looked like James Bond might become "Jane Bond."

The result in that case would be a semi-sociopathic woman who sleeps with every man she meets, usually right before they die.

Actually the biggest backlash against Jane Bond would probably be males who've been made to feel disposable by such a character. Followed by a subset of women who find nothing sympathetic about her.

Double standards are a funny thing to be sure.

I think it would be the first time Jane Bond gets tortured, or gets the [crap] beaten out of her. Occupational hazards for superspies.

The one that I've written is Urban Fantasy, the heroine being one of the main reasons it's not in Paranormal Romance instead. I have to say I find that double standard annoying though...the guys can sleep around all they want, but not the women. Her love interest is pretty chaste in contrast, but I mostly did that to avoid perpetuating a stereotype.

How many male protagonists are sleeping around in Urban Fantasy though?  The "take multiple books to ask out the love interest from book one, then have them disappear immediately after sleeping with them so you can wangst about it" model from Dresden seems to be the default from what I've read. To the point where Vinnie de Soth's two mentioned girlfriends and an ex-fiancee in his lifetime seems almost shocking.

Otoh at least half of the female protagonists I've read in the genre have had several onscreen lovers, or at least active love interests, in less time than it takes most of the guys to get a second date. If anything the double standard about not sleeping around is the other way.

Online brkingsolver

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Re: Promiscuous Heroines
« Reply #153 on: September 21, 2017, 04:17:33 AM »
I'm so glad other UF writers answered this, because it seems like within the genre it's pretty accepted. My MC's love interest is the product of a vampire/human union, so pregnancy would be a possibility, but it doesn't happen for my MC anyway.

*applause* :)

I was traveling when this thread started and just discovered it.

Yes, you can do anything you want in your books and some readers will love it. Realize that you will limit your audience and get some nasty reviews. I have the t-shirt (see my Telepathic Clans series).

In my current series, one review blasted my MC for sleeping with two men at the same time, even though she didn't. She simply dated two men at the same time, but only slept with one. In the second book, a male reviewer blasted her for not sleeping with the male love interest but jumping into bed with another woman for some recreation.

As for Nic's pseudo-scientific claptrap on page 1 of this thread, it doesn't deserve a response. See the recent Google controversy for reference. Taking survey data and drawing far-reaching conclusions from it and cherry-picking "facts" from history to explain one's own biases doesn't make those conclusions valid.

If you want reader acceptance and a broader audience, take a good look at what Romance readers consider acceptable and apply those principles to any genre you write. If you don't, that is your decision, but whether it is fair or not, writing outside that box will be penalized.

BR Kingsolver | Author website

Online paranormal_kitty

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Re: Promiscuous Heroines
« Reply #154 on: September 21, 2017, 06:14:39 AM »
How many male protagonists are sleeping around in Urban Fantasy though?  The "take multiple books to ask out the love interest from book one, then have them disappear immediately after sleeping with them so you can wangst about it" model from Dresden seems to be the default from what I've read. To the point where Vinnie de Soth's two mentioned girlfriends and an ex-fiancee in his lifetime seems almost shocking.

Otoh at least half of the female protagonists I've read in the genre have had several onscreen lovers, or at least active love interests, in less time than it takes most of the guys to get a second date. If anything the double standard about not sleeping around is the other way.

This is why I had some slight reservations about the love story being too much for UF. They're really dual protagonists more than a protagonist and her love interest; it's third-person with both POVs.

I was traveling when this thread started and just discovered it.

Yes, you can do anything you want in your books and some readers will love it. Realize that you will limit your audience and get some nasty reviews. I have the t-shirt (see my Telepathic Clans series).

In my current series, one review blasted my MC for sleeping with two men at the same time, even though she didn't. She simply dated two men at the same time, but only slept with one. In the second book, a male reviewer blasted her for not sleeping with the male love interest but jumping into bed with another woman for some recreation.

As for Nic's pseudo-scientific claptrap on page 1 of this thread, it doesn't deserve a response. See the recent Google controversy for reference. Taking survey data and drawing far-reaching conclusions from it and cherry-picking "facts" from history to explain one's own biases doesn't make those conclusions valid.

If you want reader acceptance and a broader audience, take a good look at what Romance readers consider acceptable and apply those principles to any genre you write. If you don't, that is your decision, but whether it is fair or not, writing outside that box will be penalized.

Thanks for answering! You got sales on these though, right? I'm not that fussed about reviews unless they were all bad or it just didn't sell at all. From what I've seen, what romance readers consider acceptable is all over the place. Someone will say one thing, then someone else comes along and says that's just stereotyping romance readers and there are X examples of books that did X. FWIW, there is no cheating, which seems to be the line not to cross.

Online brkingsolver

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Re: Promiscuous Heroines
« Reply #155 on: September 21, 2017, 06:30:27 AM »
Thanks for answering! You got sales on these though, right? I'm not that fussed about reviews unless they were all bad or it just didn't sell at all. From what I've seen, what romance readers consider acceptable is all over the place. Someone will say one thing, then someone else comes along and says that's just stereotyping romance readers and there are X examples of books that did X. FWIW, there is no cheating, which seems to be the line not to cross.
It depends on what you consider good sales. I've grossed about $20K on five books and an omnibus edition in six years, the majority of it in the past two years as a result of heavy promotion and the success of my second series. In the first four years, the total gross revenue was about $6,000. Some people love them. The other problem with them is that a number of the big promo companies won't touch them. Even some erotica readers can't handle the lack of monogamy.

BR Kingsolver | Author website

Online paranormal_kitty

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Re: Promiscuous Heroines
« Reply #156 on: September 21, 2017, 06:40:19 AM »
It depends on what you consider good sales. I've grossed about $20K on five books and an omnibus edition in six years, the majority of it in the past two years as a result of heavy promotion and the success of my second series. In the first four years, the total gross revenue was about $6,000. Some people love them. The other problem with them is that a number of the big promo companies won't touch them. Even some erotica readers can't handle the lack of monogamy.

I wouldn't say there's a lack of monogamy in mine, especially as a series. She wouldn't cheat on him, and they have a whole conversation about how his ex cheated on him and he has trust and jealousy issues. Her promiscuity is her backstory that her friends tease her about and which sometimes comes back to haunt her. Her love interest is the only one she actually has sex scenes with. At the end of the prologue (takes place many years before the story), it's implied that she has her first time. Then in the beginning of the first chapter she's interacting (rather uncomfortably) with someone she just had sex with. After meeting her love interest, she doesn't have sex with anyone else. There is one scene that takes place before he professes his feelings for her where she's flirting with a guy at a bar. Her love interest threatens him and then surprise kisses her, leaving her shocked. Do you think this sounds like it's within the boundaries of general acceptability?

Online brkingsolver

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Re: Promiscuous Heroines
« Reply #157 on: September 21, 2017, 07:24:19 AM »
Her love interest is the only one she actually has sex scenes with... After meeting her love interest, she doesn't have sex with anyone else.
And at this point, you are talking a standard Romance trope. You don't have a promiscuous heroine, you have a woman with a past. Different thing.

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Offline HopelessFanatic

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Re: Promiscuous Heroines
« Reply #158 on: September 21, 2017, 08:05:26 AM »
How many male protagonists are sleeping around in Urban Fantasy though?  The "take multiple books to ask out the love interest from book one, then have them disappear immediately after sleeping with them so you can wangst about it" model from Dresden seems to be the default from what I've read. To the point where Vinnie de Soth's two mentioned girlfriends and an ex-fiancee in his lifetime seems almost shocking.

Otoh at least half of the female protagonists I've read in the genre have had several onscreen lovers, or at least active love interests, in less time than it takes most of the guys to get a second date. If anything the double standard about not sleeping around is the other way.

When was the last time you read Dresden Files? Dresden goes on a date with Susan in book 1. They have sex in book 2. He proposes marriage in book 3. Then goes on to have a relationship with Luccio, as well as thinks about the sexual appeal of pretty much every female he encounters in all the books, including his mentee (his best friends barely legal daughter...) He and Susan also are dating from the end of book 1 to the end of book 3, where she disappears.

As for female protag UF, it depends on what you are reading. First, there are more of it than male for the most part. The only two that come to mind that have multiple partners through the series are Kim Harrison's Hollows series and Laurell K. Hamilton, which goes from UF to erotic UF half-way through the series.

If there is a double standard when it comes to UF, it is that male POV UF is usually considered romance-free, and female POV UF is usually called PNR disguised as UF. Both are inaccurate. My husband, who reads UF, was complaing one day at the fact that female POV UF focused too much on describing the attractiveness of the guys the protagonist comes across and had too much of a focus on the love interest.

I went through Storm Front (Dresden Files book 1) and highlighted every instance of some sort of sexual tension or romance. There was a lot of highlighted passages. My unscientific hypothesis of this was that reading 1st person descriptions of sexy dudes was more noticeable than 1st person descriptions of sexy women for him because he normally doesn't have sexy thoughts about dudes so they stood out.