Tips on writing scenes for an aromantic heroine?


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  1. #1

    Tips on writing scenes for an aromantic heroine?

    So the heroine I'm writing has no desire to hook up with men (or other women) simply because....well...she's very happily single. She loves doing things by herself. But she also loves spending time with her closest friends (both men and women) and having a good time. She doesn't need a romantic partner. Realistically, women like this exist in real life; there are several I follow on Instagram and I think they are the most inspiring people I've ever discovered on there. I know some people will harp on me and say a hero who doesn't have a romantic partner or romantic attachment to someone is boring. Who the heck says that? I actually think the most interesting people on this planet (and in fiction) are ones who are so complete by themselves that they don't need a man (or another woman). They are absolutely fine living by themselves. However, they need a great support network to rely upon.

    I've been thinking of writing a scene where my heroine pushes back against one of her male comrades, him seeking marriage or a romance with her because he finds her sexually attractive. She pushes back and says no, she doesn't love him. Good friends...maybe great friends...but not a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship. My heroine has several close male friends she loves spending time with, but she is very careful with her relationships with men because of...reasons. She is okay with sharing a hotel room or something with a close male friend but she will make sure sex never happens in such a scenario.

    I want my heroine to kind of push back against one of her male friends seeking a romance to her to show character growth. Or a change in her relationships...who she can trust and who she cannot. I think later, she might cut this male friend off once she discovers he was only trying to be her friend to gain something out of her (probably money...and sex). I think said male could attempt to rape her but she catches him before it happens and protects herself and attacks him. She won't stand for that at all.

    If any of you could spare some advice or suggest to me some good examples of an aromantic woman, that would be wonderful! Thanks fam!

  2. #2
    FoWF Terra's Avatar
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    I see your heroine as an independent woman, rather than aromantic, and if this is the case, why can't she have sex with men ... or women for that matter? It sounds like she's made a choice in her life and is entirely happy with that choice, so why doesn't she choose to have random sex? Maybe that would develop her character for you. Why does sex need to involve romance or love? Is sex 'too' intimate for her? What's her backstory? You say "she is very careful with her relationships with men because of ... reasons". Will she reveal those "reasons" as the story progresses? Do you know the denouement of your story? Not so much where does she end up, but do you know the final outcome of your story?

    I've read your posts on your story and really like the theme you're aiming for. As an independent woman, she must trust herself first and completely in order for her to embrace any kind of relationship, including the one with her Self. You could research independent women, alpha females, FLR, Femdom, and so on to find out more about the type of woman your MC appears to be from what you've posted.
    I write emotional algebra - Anais Nin

    The universe is made of stories, not of atoms - Muriel Rukeyser

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by MorganaPendragon25 View Post

    If any of you could spare some advice or suggest to me some good examples of an aromantic woman, that would be wonderful! Thanks fam!
    By 'aromantic' do you mean she never has romantic urges, or do you mean she's happily single and has chosen that path for life? I think it will be important for you to know that.

    Of the latter, I can think of numerous examples. I mean, the obvious one is nuns. A specific example I think of is Clare of Assisi, and interestingly enough, on further research, I found she had a situation somewhat similar to your protagonist, where she was resisting the social expectation of marriage. Found this on her Wikipedia page: "Although there is no mention of this in any historical record, it is assumed that Clare was to be married in line with the family tradition. However, as a teen she heard [St.] Francis preach [snip] and [snip] proceeded to the chapel of the Porziuncula to meet Francis. There, her hair was cut, and she exchanged her rich gown for a plain robe and veil. Francis placed Clare in the convent of the Benedictine nuns of San Paulo, near Bastia. Her father attempted to force her to return home. She clung to the altar of the church and threw aside her veil to show her cropped hair. She resisted any attempt, professing that she would have no other husband but Jesus Christ."

    Honestly, though, once I start thinking about it, many, many examples come to mind. I personally know many happily single-for-life women. Scholars, missionaries, and on and on. All awesome in different ways. One example: there's Dr. Amy, the authority worldwide on a certain ancient Greek manuscript (don't know the specific one), and a missionary to Germany, and has adopted children.

    Quote Originally Posted by MorganaPendragon25 View Post
    I think said male could attempt to rape her
    Is this absolutely necessary? Do you really need this to show that she is independent? If it isn't necessary, cut. This is the kind of thing that would be probably traumatic for your character, not just a way to demonstrate her strength. I mean, of course she won't stand for that; no woman would. Just because some lack the resources for escape at a given moment does not mean they lack strength or independence.
    In my mouth, if there be sweetness,
    It has come from my Creator;
    If my hands are filled with beauty,
    All the beauty comes from God.
    ~ from The Kalevala (paraphrased)

    Whom have I in heaven but You?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides You.

    ~ Psalm 73:25

    Christ is risen from the dead,
    trampling on Death by death,
    And on those in the tombs,
    lavishing light.






  4. #4
    Member Fiender's Avatar
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    So, I wrote a book where the main character turned out to be asexual and aromantic, though I hadn't planned to. When I was in the character's head space, writing for her, thoughts of sex and romance never crossed her mind, and she became very uncomfortable about the subject when it came up (specifically because it placed the expectation on her to want those things, when she simple did not). This does not make me an expert, but I think I have some insight?

    Anyway, as long as you make it clear in your writing if she's chosen to avoid these things, or patently does not desire them on any level, then it's likely fine. It could also provide an interesting dynamic to watch how she turns men down, though, if she tells a guy, "I'm not interested", and that guy still pursues her, it's going to make that guy look skeezy and drop plenty of reader's opinions of that guy. It doesn't matter if she tells him the reason or not, though others might feel differently on that one.

    As for the rape scene... you probably don't need it. It's a very difficult subject matter to deal with correctly and the simple fact is: most stories that feature them did not need them. The fact you're only contemplating it, and that your story doesn't revolve around it, or scream at you "I need this in me!" tells me you should probably avoid it.

  5. #5
    If your character just happens to be someone not interested in intimate relationships, and it's not central to the story, then just go ahead and write the story you want to write. No need to show how your MC would navigate this scenario if it never comes up. Might as well ask "how do I write a woman who doesn't like ponies and rainbows?"

    If, on the other hand, you specifically want to write about someone who is faced with a suitor they don't want, then I'm guessing this is already a theme that you are interested in and have a lot to say about. So again, say what you have to say. The rule either way is: what is it that you want your story to do?

    (also, not really relevant, but I first read this post as "tips on writing an aromatic heroine")
    Last edited by Backstroke_Italics; January 26th, 2021 at 07:18 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by ArrowInTheBowOfTheLord View Post
    By 'aromantic' do you mean she never has romantic urges, or do you mean she's happily single and has chosen that path for life? I think it will be important for you to know that.

    Of the latter, I can think of numerous examples. I mean, the obvious one is nuns. A specific example I think of is Clare of Assisi, and interestingly enough, on further research, I found she had a situation somewhat similar to your protagonist, where she was resisting the social expectation of marriage. Found this on her Wikipedia page: "Although there is no mention of this in any historical record, it is assumed that Clare was to be married in line with the family tradition. However, as a teen she heard [St.] Francis preach [snip] and [snip] proceeded to the chapel of the Porziuncula to meet Francis. There, her hair was cut, and she exchanged her rich gown for a plain robe and veil. Francis placed Clare in the convent of the Benedictine nuns of San Paulo, near Bastia. Her father attempted to force her to return home. She clung to the altar of the church and threw aside her veil to show her cropped hair. She resisted any attempt, professing that she would have no other husband but Jesus Christ."

    Honestly, though, once I start thinking about it, many, many examples come to mind. I personally know many happily single-for-life women. Scholars, missionaries, and on and on. All awesome in different ways. One example: there's Dr. Amy, the authority worldwide on a certain ancient Greek manuscript (don't know the specific one), and a missionary to Germany, and has adopted children.



    Is this absolutely necessary? Do you really need this to show that she is independent? If it isn't necessary, cut. This is the kind of thing that would be probably traumatic for your character, not just a way to demonstrate her strength. I mean, of course she won't stand for that; no woman would. Just because some lack the resources for escape at a given moment does not mean they lack strength or independence.
    Sorry my delay in response to this. First of all, I'm really against rape scenes in stories/movies. Yes, unfortunately that happens in the real world today. I feel writing rape scenes into books/movies/shows is generally disrespectful towards women. I feel it's disrespectful because most of those scenes don't show the women fighting back, she just lets it happen to her. I think women should be raised in good self-defense, know how to fight back. Of course, if someone were to do that to me, I would be traumatized but you have to fight back. The scene I was thinking about for my heroine would be a guy attempts to rape her but she fights back aggressively and probably kills him. She is very defensive/protective of her body and won't let shit like that slide. It would be an interesting scene to write.

  7. #7
    There are also women that enjoy sex but don't want a relationship - marriage and kids definitely NOT on the table. There are guys the same way, why shouldn't there be women with the same mindset?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by indianroads View Post
    There are also women that enjoy sex but don't want a relationship - marriage and kids definitely NOT on the table. There are guys the same way, why shouldn't there be women with the same mindset?
    Because it's an unhealthy mindset, for men and women. 'Sex' doesn't just mean sexual pleasure -- it's the whole bag. I mean, you can't have "sex without relationship" -- sex is relationship, at an extremely deep, physical level. It's also (gasp) inherently reproductive.
    In my mouth, if there be sweetness,
    It has come from my Creator;
    If my hands are filled with beauty,
    All the beauty comes from God.
    ~ from The Kalevala (paraphrased)

    Whom have I in heaven but You?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides You.

    ~ Psalm 73:25

    Christ is risen from the dead,
    trampling on Death by death,
    And on those in the tombs,
    lavishing light.






  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by MorganaPendragon25 View Post
    Sorry my delay in response to this. First of all, I'm really against rape scenes in stories/movies. Yes, unfortunately that happens in the real world today. I feel writing rape scenes into books/movies/shows is generally disrespectful towards women. I feel it's disrespectful because most of those scenes don't show the women fighting back, she just lets it happen to her. I think women should be raised in good self-defense, know how to fight back. Of course, if someone were to do that to me, I would be traumatized but you have to fight back. The scene I was thinking about for my heroine would be a guy attempts to rape her but she fights back aggressively and probably kills him. She is very defensive/protective of her body and won't let shit like that slide. It would be an interesting scene to write.
    Yes, I also think it's disrespectful. I am against most rape scenes in stories. That's why I ask if you really need it. What makes your scene different from those other rape scenes that you're against? What makes your scene not disrespectful? I'd be very very careful about having a scene like this because the vast majority of rape (or attempted rape) scenes are disrespectful. Ultimately, if you don't absolutely need it for the story, including it is disrespectful because it's putting your character through something awful for no reason.

    Also, no woman would "let that kind of thing slide", if they could help it. It doesn't demonstrate any special independence on your character's part if she resists -- it just shows she is combat-trained.
    In my mouth, if there be sweetness,
    It has come from my Creator;
    If my hands are filled with beauty,
    All the beauty comes from God.
    ~ from The Kalevala (paraphrased)

    Whom have I in heaven but You?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides You.

    ~ Psalm 73:25

    Christ is risen from the dead,
    trampling on Death by death,
    And on those in the tombs,
    lavishing light.






  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ArrowInTheBowOfTheLord View Post
    Yes, I also think it's disrespectful. I am against most rape scenes in stories. That's why I ask if you really need it. What makes your scene different from those other rape scenes that you're against? What makes your scene not disrespectful? I'd be very very careful about having a scene like this because the vast majority of rape (or attempted rape) scenes are disrespectful. Ultimately, if you don't absolutely need it for the story, including it is disrespectful because it's putting your character through something awful for no reason.

    Also, no woman would "let that kind of thing slide", if they could help it. It doesn't demonstrate any special independence on your character's part if she resists -- it just shows she is combat-trained.
    I agree with both of you that rape scenes in stories are a "if you don't have a strong reason for it, steer clear" situation. Too many authors use rape as an easy way to inject drama into their story when they're out of ideas. Exploiting people's trauma as a writing crutch is certainly disrespectful. On the other hand, I do think it can be done in a respectful way by someone who knows what they're doing (that person isn't me, so I never include sexual violence in my writing).

    But I don't think the reason these scenes are disrespectful is because they "don't show women fighting back." How a person responds to sexual violence will vary. Especially when the perpetrator is known to them, a victim may decide their best option is to go along with it. Lots of spousal rape takes this form, for example. Acknowledging that not all sexual violence involves a masked fiend ambushing a woman who tried to key him in the eyes is fine. But no matter what kind of assault it is, you shouldn't write about it if you're not certain that you have something meaningful and worthwhile to say about it, and you can do it properly.

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