Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Slap at Cinderella

I started a new WIP the other day.  Sometimes these things just hit and I have to go with them.  In telling Melissa about it, I realized I have a theme that runs through my writing.  My heroines are forced into a journey of self-discovery.  In order to gain an HEA, they must learn and understand their own power and be able to stand on their own two feet.  That means if the hero turns out to be a dud, she can walk away without relying on him for her happiness.  

My daughters got the “Cinderella” dvd and have been watching it ad nauseum.  They watch it in the car so I am subjected to the sound.  After the 300th viewing, I started to realize what a truly horrible story it is and what a terrible example it sets for my girls.  By being a pretty little doormat, Cinderella’s dreams came true. She learned nothing about herself, only that if she is wimpy enough, some old lady with a wand will make everything right.  

I suppose there is a certain attraction to the whole idea.  Wouldn’t it be great to be whisked away by Prince Charming without putting any effort into it?  But it isn’t a very satisfying story.  As a writer, I am attracted to change in my characters.  And not just the reformed rake man or the ugly duckling heroine.  I want to make them going through the gauntlet and come out a better, stronger person, particularly my women.  The same goes for the hero, but I must admit a need to see my females grow more.  

Perhaps it is a byproduct of being from the generation I was raised in.  I am woman, hear me roar.  Perhaps it was watching friends go through boyfriends, then husbands looking for self-esteem in the validation of another’s love.  I don’t know, but in everything I have written, the heroine must come to a realization about herself and be ready to accept the consequences.  Because I am a romance writer, she will always get her man, but he is not the embodiment of her happiness, rather a compliment.  If he falls off the face of the earth, she will be broken-hearted but not destroyed.

How about you?  Do you have a theme that you see in your writing?  Does if focus on the characters or is it a plot line?