Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Reverse Harem: Innocent Women ~ Belleza

After last week's post, I looked at the list of stories in which I've written reverse harem and laughed, because one of those stories is not like all the others. 

Out of the six times I've written reverse harem, I've only written the Innocent Heroine once: Belleza Rivera, heroine of Queen Beauty and the Beasts, my 2016 NaNo novel that I'm now beginning to revise for publishing.

I'm most in my comfort zone when writing powerful women types: the thinkers, manipulators, movers, and shakers.  Less so when writing the more emotional and/or innocent heroines.  But Queen Beauty and the Beasts, a contemporary fantasy retelling of both Beauty and the Beast and Phantom of the Opera, demanded the Innocent type, rather than the Powerful type.

Belleza wasn't just Belle/Beauty, she was also Christine.  Not only that, she was up against not one, but twelve 'Beasts', one of whom was also the Phantom, all of whose curses she's sworn to break.  It's her strong belief in love– a belief she firmly clings to even after seeing exactly what evil she's up against– that carries her through, as well as her hope that good will triumph over evil, that love can face down any obstacle and still win.

Because I set out to tell a story of love over lust, her being an Innocent type also gave me a large scope for symbolism.

Writing Belleza was a very interesting experience for me.  I don't normally write extrovert FMCs; they're simply not my comfort zone.  I also usually write logical, coolly rational, thinking FMCs, and Belleza was most assuredly not those.  Plus, she is Argentinian, which means she's even more outwardly emotionally demonstrative than say, an American heroine would have been.

But she's not stupid or inane.  She's got a brain and she uses it.  Also, I didn't realize it at the time, but much of her character was unconsciously influenced by irritation that many introverts dismiss how smart and level headed extroverts can be, just because they don't understand them well.

It was also somewhat of a personal challenge to myself.  COULD I, in fact, write a non-Powerful type heroine without completely failing?  Could I write an emotional, extroverted heroine?

I could, it turns out.  And it was fun.  (Stressful, because I pushed myself really hard on that book, but fun.)  And I still love the story, even after it sat for a year.  I'm excited to begin revising it.

My comfort zone is still Powerful-type heroines, but after writing this book, I have a new appreciation of not only the more innocent, hopeful heroines in stories, but those kinds of people in real life, too.

What about you?  Do you tend to write more innocent or powerful heroines in your stories, (with or without reverse harem elements)?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Reverse Harem HOW Many Times?

Greetings, one and all!  I return from the fog shrouding my absence in mystery to once again and with delight take up this blog's pen.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about how and why I write stories with many and complicated 'love lines': romantic attractions between a single heroine and multiple male leads, also known as 'reverse harem' stories.

Apropos of beginning a series yesterday on my creative writing blog that further elaborates how to write reverse harem without making people scream in rage, frustration, or disgust, I figured it would be fun to do a parallel series here exploring my own reverse harem stories.

So, without further ado, I introduce the times I've written reverse harem + WHY.

Story/Series: Queen Beauty and the Beasts
Why: Because I wanted to explore Beauty up against a whole 'castle' full of beasts.

Story/Series: Oath of Loyalty/Fidelitas
Why: This was 100% not planned and just happened.  More guys just kept poking their noses in and bingo.

Story/Series: A Certain Darkness/Stellumo
Why: Because a Julius Caesar retelling naturally involved a Cleopatra... and the rest is... history.  Ehehehe.

Story/Series: Wings of the Tiger
Why: Ha.  Because you do not drop this power-mad girl down in a power-mongering court and NOT have that happen.

Story/Series: Ebony and Aubergine/The Lion and the Rose
Why: She's a princess, trained to elicit information and profile people.

Story/Series: Venit Hora/Three Kyngdoms
Why: She's a Valkyrie and it's... complicated.

Essentially, my reasons for writing it so many times are:
#2 = Because it just kind of... happened that way in the story.
#3 = It was fun.
#4 = I do what I want in my writing, and the more complicated, the more fun I (usually) have.
#5 = Did I mention it's FUN?

Next week: a closer look into Queen Beauty and the Beasts and the 'innocent' reverse harem heroine.

Have YOU written any reverse harem stories?