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)?