Best way to break the Female Hero's "Happily Ever After" stigma??? - Page 2


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Thread: Best way to break the Female Hero's "Happily Ever After" stigma???

  1. #11
    Member Sir-KP's Avatar
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    Make your female protagonist to do the opposite way at the end and why she refused it.

    Outside of that, I agree the 'happily ever after with children' is an eye-roller, though I've seen adults still with the 'get married quickly, then have kids' as ultimate life goal nowadays.

  2. #12
    Wait, why is "happily ever after with children" an eye-roller? I understand the OP has a different kind of story in mind, which is fine, but what's wrong with the trope? It's there because it's, like, the most natural desire, ever, for women AND men.
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  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by ArrowInTheBowOfTheLord View Post
    Wait, why is "happily ever after with children" an eye-roller? I understand the OP has a different kind of story in mind, which is fine, but what's wrong with the trope? It's there because it's, like, the most natural desire, ever, for women AND men.
    Any trope is fine, until it is done to death, at which point eyes will roll.

    Gotta say though, i can't remember anything i've read in the last year along these lines. Maybe it's just what i've been reading (sci-fi mostly). Actually, Excession by Iain Banks kind of had it, but my eyes didn't roll (they were dropping by the end though).

    Is this perhaps a genre, and audience, specific trope?

  4. #14
    "Happily-ever-after" is probably a thing because people want to read about things they wanted to have themselves, as opposed to what they actually got - a dysfunctional marriage growing ever closer to divorce every year, an overworked and unhappy spouse constantly complaining about a lack of attention and likely having an affair because of it, a couple bratty and misbehaving kids constantly causing trouble at school, a shit-ton of bills and debts to pay, the financial burden of a having family increasing with every passing year despite one already working overtime, and no end in sight for it all.

    So I think the easiest way to deny a female protagonist her happy ending is to just write the "ever-after" part that usually gets omitted in such stories. Depending on the character, she can then either figure out that family life is not for her, be consumed by it and become another miserable housewife stuck with a family and life that she hates, or merit from the experience and grow stronger and more mature, realizing that the "ever-after" is far from being all bunnies and roses and finding her "happy" part in doing so.

  5. #15
    I would like to write a female lead who can stand on her own, no love story involved.
    Then write that story. You have no control over what others write, and really don't know what their reasoning was for the ending they chose. It could be that's what they like, or that's the only ending they could think of, or in the case of a Romance genre book it was the ending expected of the genre.

  6. #16
    Patron Foxee's Avatar
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    There is a certain imperative to biology that each person (and each character) has as part of their physical (and mental) makeup. Consider hormones at the very least. Humanity is made with a certain amount of desire to reproduce, that's nature. To completely toss out any reference to this for a character who we're reading for the length of a novel would be to risk reducing their humanity.

    Similarly, relationships are necessary to some extent for each person. The entire opposite, isolation, is considered a terrible punishment or an ascetic discipline.

    Every human is a whole world of drives, beliefs, desires, mistakes. As writers we can focus on any part of these, any mixture.

    Ripley (Alien) is a strong, admirable female character. So is Sarah Connor (Terminator) who not only loses nothing by motherhood but gains a gigantic motivation.

    Male characters aren't all unattached loners. Think of Jack Ryan (not the Amazon thing, ugh) in Tom Clancy's books. Fatherhood is not where the plot typically focuses (though his family figured hugely in Patriot Games) but it is a part of who he is and part of his drive and passion for what he does.

    How does your character view marriage and family for others? This is another part of being a whole person. There are many people who don't desire to create a family themselves but put a high value on other people who do so. Frankly, if I see a character, male or female, who hate marriage and family in general it makes me wary of them. It skews more to what I think of as dangerous-villain than dangerous-hero. I think because I view heroes as valuing life. If you have a hero who doesn't value life you can still make it work but they'd be some kind of antihero (Riddick).

    So, sure, I don't think your female lead has to long for family and kids but what DOES she long for? If she's content as she is and doesn't want anything you've got not a female problem but a character problem because every character wants something (and often mis-wants or believes a lie). If they don't, you don't have a story.

    Who does your character put value on? Some relationships that matter to them. Someone who, if threatened, that is like touching the hero's eyeball. Without this you might create a 'strong' character but I think you get more out of one with some vulnerabilities.

    Consider Rizzoli & Isles (If you've never read/seen you might enjoy) whose friendship is unlikely at the beginning and unfolds through the series. Both are entirely focused on their jobs but also have personal relationships that add a push-pull to the story and who they are as people.

    What I'm saying is that if you're creating the character who doesn't want to create a family that negative shouldn't be their defining characteristic. Sure they can hold that view but what DO they want, what and who DO they value?
    Last edited by Foxee; May 21st, 2020 at 09:43 PM.

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by ReySkywalker1 View Post
    How should I do it?
    I generally start with a character, or even a line of dialogue or description pertaining to them. You clearly have a theme in mind so give some thought also to your first line and your plot / your novel's end-state; what, in essence, do you want to happen?

    If it helps I am writing such a book. If it helps more, I'm also looking for beta readers...


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  8. #18
    I'm guessing you don't even want to raise issues about what happens to a character, unless that relates to your story.

    In a book, there is usually a big hook, and when that gets resolved (climax), you don't quit the story. But that's because you probably have a lot of loose threads. So you have to resolve those. But beyond that is questionable. So if having children was an issue in your story, you might or probably will resolve that. But if not, it would be odd to bring that up.
    English is a good language for people who like to be creative and expressive, not for people who want words to fit into boxes and stay there.

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