As a reader of romance, and a woman in love, I am in defiance of miscontrived heroines who are either domineering super humans or weeping damsels in distress. The portmanteau word “miscontrived” is a combination of the prefix mis- (meaning: “badly”, “opposite”, or “not”) and the adjective contrived (meaning: obviously planned or calculated; not spontaneous or natural; labored).
Allow me to elaborate on these two heroine types. In the beginning of the story the would-be domineering heroine is simply the girl next door. But halfway way through the book she morphs into an iron pumping superhuman and the only individual capable of intelligent thought. She no longer works with supporting characters to develop the plot; she owns the plot. So, what does this blast of notorious femininity bring to a romance? A light so spectacular her counterpart is set in shadow. With unmatched intelligence and strength, what does the heroine need a hero for? Thus, the Girl Next Door, having conditioned Ronda Rousey capabilities overnight, has little to offer her Average Joe in way of a well-rounded relationship.
Angled on the opposite side of the miscontrived-heroine line, we have Miss Prima Donna. Women want to be her. Men want to be with her. She is beautiful, gentile, poised, and confident. Like the Girl Next Door, Miss Prima Donna undergoes some change in the story only she develops unreasonable insecurities. Tears well in her eyes over the slightest emotional instance, and any courage she may have possessed to begin with is gone. G. O. N. E. Gone! Unable to cope with everyday life, she despairs and is cast into some “unforeseeable” dilemma where her hero counterpart (who could be Napoleon Dynamite and still shine like a greased bodybuilder compared to the heroine) swoops in to the rescue. And, they live happily ever after. Oh, except for the counseling our heroine needs due to her issues of codependency, alternate personalities, and depression. Extreme? Yes. Humorous? I think so. Miscontrived—having been intentionally formulated yet turned in opposition to her established characteristics? Yes.
So what is the medium between the iron pumping super-heroine and the weeping damsel? A fully developed feminine character, as imperfect and flawed as you and me. These relatable characters possess a variety of personalities. They are blessed with different body-types and diverse nationalities. As for romance, the differences between women and men are complicated and wonderful. The entire romance genre celebrates them. Having a well contrived heroine opens the door for her equally well contrived hero. Whether the heroine is a drill sergeant, scuba diver, the Queen of England, a poor peasant girl, or the ultimate cowgirl, may she be real and feminine, holding true to her story and also every woman outside of fiction. So read and write well contrived heroines, because fiction is real life with the boring parts cut out and the fantastic moments amplified. Thus, we need aspects of reality amid that which is amplified concerning our characters.
KyLee is a Christian, mother, wife, aspiring author, and lover of books. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest–Oregon to be exact. When she became a mother in 2006 she chose to put away her dream of becoming an author, but that dream just wouldn’t die. In 2013 she began writing historical romance, just for fun, and then joined American Christian Fiction Writers in 2016. When not working on manuscripts, her blog, or critiquing for friends, KyLee works as a customer representative for a call center handling cellular phone claims.
You can find KyLee at her site: https://kyleeawoodley.wordpress.com/ and
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