My last full manuscript was rejected and one of the reason cited in the rejection letter was that the heroine was a little unlikeable.
Here’s an extract from that letter:
When we first meet Libby she is rummaging around in Matt’s rubbish trying to find something, anything, about him for her article. This is rather desperate behaviour and not really something we would expect of a professional young woman.
Also, her desperation to secure her dream job leads her to terribly devious things; hiring Matt without his knowledge, attempting to record him without his knowledge or consent and then perhaps the worst of all, using Dan’s private investigation results. We were slightly alarmed that Libby even agreed to meet Dan and discover more about Matt and further that she would use the information in her article. It makes no difference that she decides to delete the finished file; she still goes behind Matt’s back in the most deceitful way.
After much huffing and puffing and screaming at the computer that she was fabulous not unlikeable, I finally came to accept their point. (Note accept, not necessarily like). But I did learn one major thing about heroines in category from this rejection.
They have to have enough flaws that we can relate to them but in many ways they have to have the moral high ground and not have certain characteristics that may be realistic in real life but not sympathetic in a fictional character.
Right now I’m distracting myself from the full sub by trying something different – my single title rural romance type thing. Anyway I’ve just discovered today – cos I’m flying by the seat of my pants here – that the heroine very likely had a one night stand (maybe she was drunk) a couple of month’s before she was due to marry the hero.
Of course my first thought was WHAT A COW, SHE CAN’T POSSIBLY HAVE LOVED THE HERO… but she was eighteen and we all make mistakes right? I’m thinking I can probably get away with her having this monumental mistake and secret in her past but would love to hear your opinions.
Can a hero and or heroine get away with more unsympathetic actions/past in ST than they can in category??