10 Things I Demand All Novelists Stop Doing ImmediatelyPosted: September 5, 2012
So I got started on what I thought would be a halfway decent book and wound up, yet again, throwing it out the window before I was finished. Then I immediately went to get it because it was on my Kindle. I really need to stop throwing that thing out the window.
If I’m ever going to enjoy reading again, I need to make a plea to every author in the literary community. There are several things I am seeing over and over and over and over again and it is driving me insane. So the following in my list of ten demands to every author out there with an expectation that all aforementioned ( no idea what that word means) items will cease and desist immediately.
If your heroine is over 30 and did not grow up with those Russian tunnel kids living underground, she has had more than three sexual partners. That’s all there is to it. No more virgins or practically virgins. Being sexually experienced does not somehow decrease a woman’s value. This isn’t an Al-Qaeda training camp. Women have more to offer than their virginity and cooking abilities.
Your hero is not a billionaire. You know why? Because billionaires look like this.
There are currently 412 billionaires in the United States. There are only 1210 in the entire world. If I remove those who are over 90, dead, women, married or so hideous you can only screw with the lights off, there are like four left. Surprisingly, every book I read recently has a billionaire hero who looks like Julian McMahon. It just doesn’t jive. If you want to make your hero rich, just make him rich. Don’t suspend reality by making him a billionaire too.
Stop with the heroines who are clumsy and dress like bag ladies. Beautiful girls do not go traipsing around in sweatpants and sneakers. You know who does? The girls with six kids trailing after them at WalMart. They have an excuse; they have six kids. If your heroine is single and hot, she should dress like it and not like a color blind immigrant worker. Her dressing poorly isn’t telling me that she’s ‘above all those material trappings’. Instead, it’s making me think that she’s lazy and has questionable personal hygiene.
Stop with the mothers who are harassing their daughters (the heroine) to get married. Most girls from Gen X and up can’t relate. Why? Because all our mothers are divorced baby boomers who only got married because
they got knocked up felt obligated to. Now, they warn us off of marriage, unless that marriage is to one of the previously mentioned billionaires. When I told my mom I was going to marry my babies daddy, did she squeal with glee? No, she shook her head and responded ‘it’s your funeral.’ Mothers have gotten a lot smarter since the 1950’s. They know their daughters are more than marrying breed stock, so quit giving them a bad rap.
Speaking of parents, do they all have to be emotionally distant, flighty, abusive or otherwise fucked up? My parents are perfectly normal. Does that now make me uninteresting?
All the secondary male characters in your story do not have to be obsessed with the main female character. They also don’t have to be nefarious rapists and stalkers. There’s enough of those in the world without shoving them into your book too.
Stop making the heroine’s best friend chubby. Chubby girls have man troubles too. They don’t just sit around talking about dieting and bitching about their weight while stuffing their faces. The majority of women in this country are not size 6. You can make a story about them without making it about their weight.
If you choose to have a gay secondary character, please stop with the caricatures of gay men who give the heroines makeovers while calling them ‘girlfriend’. I’m not even a gay man and I find it insulting.
Stop giving your heroines money problems that only the hero can rescue them from. Women are all grown up now. We have checking accounts, college degrees and 401k’s. Not all of us are an inch away from financial ruin. Those of us who are would do better to get a second job, rather than taking money from a man in exchange for sex. There’s a word for that. What is it again? Oh yeah, prostitution.
Finally, a shout out to the best sellers out there who just finished a series. Congrats. Now listen. WE DO NOT want to read the same series again told from the POV of the hero. That’s just f’ing lazy. We already know the story, but now we get to read how he felt about it. Oh, yay, that sounds awesome (insert eyeroll). Just write something else already.
Finally, if you all still can’t get it, why don’t you head over to my Strangely Sober page and pick up a copy. Let the best writer who no one is reading show you how it’s done.