Sweet or spicy?

I’m making cake. Birthday cake. For a five year old girl no less. It therefore has to be in the form of Ariel the Mermaid…stay with me here, this is still a post about romance writing. It got me thinking of Disney Princess types. The virgin heroine, the quivering at the sight of a super-alpha pageant-beauty. There are a lot of them about, and in the hands of a skilled writer, the virgin heroine is a thing of beauty: able to bring men to their knees with a glance, and hold out for what she wants till she’s 100% she’s going to get it.

But thinking this through reaffirmed my belief that I like sassy heroines who have seen a bit more of life – girls with gumption, chicks with chat. I especially like it when they have a quality vocabulary that has more than a few expletives in it and a smattering of good barbs. The WIP I’ve been working on at the moment though has a heroine who is much softer. Even a little, *gasp*, sweet.

For a while I struggled, trying to get her to talk the way I thought she would, but it all just sounded wrong. She’s a far cry from Disney Princess, but she isn’t the “girls can and should do anything” type I thought I would always write. In frustration I sent her to my CP and asked if she thought she needed a slap. My CP laughed at me and quietly and calmly reminded me that characters are who they are. She even liked her.

So I’ve had to re-evaluate my parameters. I’ve upped her vocabulary, downed her simpering and come to a happy place where she’s still on a mission, and is back in the girls can do anything camp, but she doesn’t need to fight quite so hard to prove it all the time.

With my Ariel Mermaid cake, I think I’ll take the same approach. There will be a doll in the middle, but she’s bound to have a sparkle in her eye, and a damn good retort to anyone who dares question the styling of her icing bikini (okay, maybe that last bit will be me). Some sass with her smile and maybe just a little extra flick to her tail.

So what about you? Do you like your heroines sweet, sassy or somewhere in between. And can you made to like someone you never though you would, just because she’s got a sparkly green tail and a sparkle in her eye? Thanks for stopping by!

X Michele

(image courtesy of sodahead.com)

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About Michele de Winton
I was born in the mid 1970’s amid a burgeoning sprawl of vineyards and new retirement homes. Despite training in law (or perhaps because of it) I've been a dancer, producer, writer, and all round arty type in various countries for most of my life but call New Zealand home. Maybe it's a reflection of the women around me, but I'm a believer that women can do anything and so my heroines are the same. It doesn't mean my men are wimps though! You can count on some fine looking heros who know just how to make a woman melt. Oh, and I'm a hopeless romantic, so I'm a fan of seriously happy endings. Entangled Publishing and The Wild Rose Press are where my romance novels call home. Come say hi at www.micheledewinton.com


  1. Talia Hunter says:

    I like girls with gumption too. Must admit I’m keen to read your sweet heroine though :)


  2. Kimberly Quinton says:

    I don’t think I care about whether the heroine is sweet or not sweet so much as if they have a good growth arc. If she starts off with no backbone, I want to see how she gains confidence and if she starts off hard and detached, I want to see how she softens to let love in. I like them both! And I want the same growth for a hero.

    Good luck with a mermaid cake! Yikes… I’m pretty sure if I tried one, it would end up on cake wrecks :)


  3. Sorry, I’m a day late but I made it! I can be convinced to like a heroine or hero who I didn’t think I would. I don’t mind her being sweet or being a bitch if there’s a good reason for her attitude. The question made me think of Thelma and Louise…I never can remember which was which, but the tall blonde started out dumber than a brick! Did stupid things until I wanted to smack her, but as the movie progressed she grew, got smarter, savvier, more self confident. Whew! Didn’t mean to write a book…the simple answer is, it doesn’t matter how she starts out in the story, it’s how she has changed at the end. :)


  4. Thanks for all the comments guys. Full of great thoughts as usual. And in case you wanted to see the final result of the cake. Her picture is gracing my facebook page at the moment…https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=536834073095789&set=a.161851287260738.32873.155966894515844&type=1&theater


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